Currently, NASA's rover to blast Mars rocks with laser
NASA's next rover will blast Martian rocks with a rock-zapping laser tool. The Chemistry and Camera tool on the rover Curiosity can excite a pinhead-size mark into a glowing, ionized gas. It then watch the flash through a telescope and analyze the range of light to recognize the chemical elements in the target. The data about rocks or patches will help the team review the rover's surroundings and choose which target to drill into, or scoop up. With this data, they can decide if any environment in the land area have been favorable for microbial life and for preserving proof about whether life existed.

In late 2011, NASA will open Curiosity and the other part of the flight system, deliver the rover to the outside of Mars in August 2012, information the Science Daily. Roger Wiens, a geochemist with the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory, future the instrument during NASA's 2004 open competition for contribution in the Mars Science Laboratory project. The idea strike when he visit a chemistry laboratory building where a colleague, Dave Cremers, who had been trial with a dissimilar laser technique. "The room was sound used. Every flat surface was enclosed with instruments, lenses or visual mounts. The filing cabinet look like they had a bad case of acne. I found out afterward that they were used for laser aim practice," said Wiens.

From that point, after 10 years of international growth and testing, the project resulted in ChemCam being installed on Curiosity in September 2010. "The trick is very small bursts of the laser. You actually dump a lot of energy onto a small spot-megawatts per square millimeter-but just for a little nanoseconds," Wiens said. The flash comes back to ChemCam through the instrument telescope, mount beside the laser tall on the rover's camera mast. The telescope direct the light down an optical fiber to three spectrometers within the rover. The spectrometers evidence intensity at 6,144 different wavelengths of ultraviolet, noticeable and infrared light.

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