December 9, 2013

Laser-Zapping Milestone For A ‘Curious’ Rover

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has officially fired the laser it uses to check chemical elements in rock over 100,000 times. The laser is used by the ChemCam instrument to excite plasma from rock, which the ChemCam can then use to observe the spark that flies off the rock and the spectrum of light to identify the elements in the target. The rover fired its 100,000th shot back in November and by now has fired more than 102,000 shots while assessing more than 420 rock or soil targets. The information achieved is being used by scientists and students to identify what makes up the Mars surface inside Gale Crater. NASA said passing the 100,000 laser shot mark is “terribly exciting and is providing a remarkable set of chemical data for Mars.”

[ Read the Article: Curiosity Rover: Zapping Mars, One Laser Shot At A Time ]

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