Mars rover Curiosity
Back on Earth, NASA is working on the next generation of Mars rover, named Curiosity, a bigger model that the space agency this week said it hopes to launch between November 25 and December 18, 2011, with a landing on Mars to occur between August 6 and August 20, 2012.
As this artist's depiction suggests, the new rover will be packing heat.
"Curiosity will have a laser on its mast that can take aim at a rock and vaporize a small spot on it," Joy Crisp of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a NASA Science post in October. "This produces a plasma cloud that tells us about that rock's chemistry. We'll look at the light reflected off the cloud to characterize rocks and soils from up to 9 meters away. We'll be able to classify minerals, ices, and organic molecules without having to drive as much."
May 21, 2010 12:16 PM PDT
Photo by: NASA
| Caption by: Jonathan Skillings
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