Sunday, February 14, 2016

Getting lost in NASA - The Curiosity Rover has a Chemcam Blog

The NASA website is an amazingly deep rabbit hole. It is it's own internet. Really, between Wikipedia and NASA, I can and often do go days without seeing the rest of the interwebs. Here's just one tiny corner of just one of many sections of the site: The Curiosity Rover Chemcam Blog 

Never heard of the Chemcam? Basically it is a camera/laser combo that takes high resolution images and vaporizes rocks with a laser and analyzes the resulting light to determine the chemical make-up of the rock. More via the Wikipedia page for Chemcam:
Chemistry and Camera complex (ChemCam) is a suite of remote sensing instruments on Mars for the Curiosity rover. As the name implies, ChemCam is actually two different instruments combined as one: a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and a Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope. The purpose of the LIBS instrument is to provide elemental compositions of rock and soil, while the RMI will give ChemCam scientists high-resolution images of the sampling areas of the rocks and soil that LIBS targets. The LIBS instrument can target a rock or soil sample from up to 7 m (23 ft) away, vaporizing a small amount of it with about 50 to 75 5-nanosecond pulses from a 1067 nm infrared laser and then observing the spectrum of the light emitted by the vaporized rock.
The Chemcam is just one of many instruments carried by the Curiosity Rover.

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