NASA Rover Curiosity Blasts Its First Rock on Mars
August 20, 2012 11:46 AM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Jean-Luc Lacour)
"The area shown in the circular inset is 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) in diameter. It was taken before the rock was hit with the laser. The area covered in the further-magnified square inset is 8 millimeters (about one-third of an inch) across"
The zap was used as a test for Curiosity's laser before the real traveling begins
NASA Mars rover Curiosity has zapped its first rock since
landing on the Red Planet
, marking the beginning of its two-year expedition to find signs of life.
Curiosity used its laser just yesterday to explore its first rock since its arrival on Mars. The rock, called "Coronation," was fist-sized and used as a test for
before the true journey begins.
Curiosity was able to do this using the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam. The ChemCam combines a few different instruments, including the laser and
Curiosity's ChemCam hit Coronation with its laser for 10 seconds using 30 pulses. Each pulse offers over a million watts of power for five one-billionths of a second, causing the atoms in the rock to become glowing plasma. Curiosity was able to catch this glow as well, and analyzed it with three spectrometers to see what elements are contained.
Curiosity also used a Navigation Camera for additional shots of the zapping. Between the Navigation Camera and ChemCam's camera, the Mars rover was able to obtain a few before-and-after photos of Coronation.
Curiosity is a $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) that has six wheels and is about the size of a Mini Cooper. It landed safely on Mars earlier this month after launching from Cape Canaveral, Florida on November 26, 2011. Now, Curiosity and its tool bag (a weather station, a large robot arm, a percussive drill, a laser and 4.8kg of plutonium-238) will spend two years exploring the Red Planet in an effort to find any signs of life.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: The Rebel Rock Is Within Range
8/24/2012 2:17:40 PM
Why do you think they go down into craters? At the bottom of a crater, you only have to drill sideways a little to get at the layers millions of years old. A nice space rock did most of the digging for them.
How would you find microbes with a shovel? Even on Earth we have to have instruments to find the microbes in soil samples. I understand the need for the laser-induced flouescence instrument to examine composition of materials, but why not a plain old light microscope that can send images back to Earth for examination by microbiologists, etc? The LIF instrument can see that there are organic molecules, but can't see the forest for the trees.
"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
NASA's Curiosity Rover to Receive Four-Day Software Update for Mars Exploration
August 12, 2012, 2:42 PM
Curiosity's Camera Project Manager Explains Why MSL Used "Archaic" 2 MP Cameras
August 9, 2012, 1:33 PM
NASA Rover Curiosity Lands Successfully on Mars, To Explore Surface for 2 Years
August 6, 2012, 1:04 PM
Swarm of GMO Mosquitoes Set to Fly in South Florida
January 27, 2015, 6:40 PM
Crowdfunded Sex Toy Lets You Control the Action From Your Wii Nunchuk
January 15, 2015, 3:42 PM
Elon Musk Plays Warcraft; But Still Finds Time to Sleep, Build a Mars Colony Ship
January 6, 2015, 9:54 PM
SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9 Launch to ISS, Barge Landing Test, Friday Redo Targeted
January 6, 2015, 4:02 PM
Quick Note; Wreckage of Malaysian-Owned Passenger Jet Found
December 30, 2014, 12:42 PM
Quick Note: Drone Loses Fight to the Death With Kangaroo
December 23, 2014, 3:28 PM
Most Popular Articles
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
Microsoft Shows Off Latest Windows 10 Build, Preps it for Next Week Release
January 21, 2015, 2:57 PM
BlackBerry CEO Claims Devs are Violating Net Neutrality by Not Supporting BB10
January 22, 2015, 4:37 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
Will Google Become America's Fifth Major Carrier?
January 22, 2015, 12:42 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information