Earth Invades Mars 2: Laser Assault

Congratulations to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the successful landing of Curiosity last night! The huge (2000 pounds!)  explorer, equipped with a huge science deck, used a combination of parachutes, rockets and belaying tethers to touch down right on target, right on schedule.

Photo courtesy of NASA

Curiosity has plenty of instruments on board, but the laser breakdown spectroscopy system is among the newer ones for a Mars mission.

Photo courtesy of NASA

It works like this: zap a spot with a high intensity laser, ionize the material to a plasma, use a spectrometer to read the elemental composition from the emission spectra. Unlike the carbide teeth on a grinder wheel, lasers never get dull, so as long as Curiosity has power from its nuclear cell, the science can continue.
Good luck, Curiosity!

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment. The staff at Landless will treat it with the same care that we would bestow on a newly hatched chick. By the way, no pressure or anything, but have you ever considered subscribing to Landless via RSS?