Friday, March 22, 2013

Curiosity Rover Laser: Mystery of Mars Rock Coatings

Los Alamos Science Sleuth On the Trail of a Martian Mystery

Mar. 19, 2013 — When it comes to examining the surface of rocks on Mars with a high-powered laser, five is a magic number for Los Alamos National Laboratory postdoctoral researcher Nina Lanza.

This dual image of a Martian rock taken by the ChemCam instrument aboard the Curiosity rover shows a rock at the "Rocknest" area on Mars before it was interrogated with ChemCam's high-powered laser (left) and after interrogation by 600 laser blasts (right). The crosshairs in the darkened portion of the image at right shows where the laser beam penetrated to a depth of at least 1 mm as a result of the repeated shots. The ChemCam laser vaporizes a small amount of material that can be read by a spectrometer to determine the target's composition. Los Alamos National Laboratory postdoctoral researcher Nina Lanza is studying whether Martian rocks are coated with dust or some other substance, and she presented her research at the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference at The Woodlands, Texas. (Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory)
During a poster session today at the 44th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference at The Woodlands, Texas, Lanza described how the laser-shooting ChemCam instrument aboard the Curiosity rover currently searching the surface of Mars for signs of habitability has shown what appears to be a common feature on the surface of some very different Martian rocks during Curiosity's first 90 days on the Red Planet.

But exactly what that common feature is remains an intriguing mystery -- and one that Lanza intends to solve.

More  - Link >>>!+Mail

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy/Los Alamos National Laboratory, .

Related Blog Posts ---

Mars Rover Laser Spectroscopy to be Improved at Pitt (2012 Sept. 28):

Link >>>

Curiosity Laser Zaps 1st Martian Rock (2012 Aug. 20):

Link >>>


Curiosity Laser to Zap 1st Martian Rock (2012 Aug. 18):

Link >>> 


Curiosity Rover Laser to Aid Search for Martian Life (2012 Aug. 9):

Link >>>   


Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < >
Electronic Mail - < >
About the Author: < >
< >
Twitter: < >
Facebook: < >
Blog: < >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetariu p.m. >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < >
* Public Transit:
  < >

No comments:

Post a Comment