Sunday, August 12, 2012

IV - The Ten Instruments Mars Rover Curiosity Carries: ChemCam



Maybe the most futuristic of Curiosity's tools, the ChemCam is an analyzing laser. By pointing it at areas as small as 1 millimeter, Curiosity will be able to determine the elemental composition of vaporized materials. A spectrograph will monitor the plasma created from zapping rocks and soil, then analyze its geological structure.
It can be used in another handy way, too: the laser can clear away dust, allowing for much more detailed photographs, and if Curiosity can't get close enough to take a closer look at a piece of Mars, ChemCham can do it from 23 feet away. From that distance, it's still able to learn the type of rock in a sample, the composition of soil, if a sample contains chemicals harmful to humans, and if it contains water or ice.

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