Curiosity rover laser zaps Martian rock
August 20, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica
NASA has launched the first interplanetary war by attacking Mars with a high-power laser beam for “target practice.” Some are blaming the “mohawk guy” at JPL, shown in disguise in this NASA photo. No word if Mars plans to return fire….
OK, we admit, it’s a remote spectroscopy experiment to determine the composition of a rock curiously called “Coronation.” The energy from the laser excites atoms in the rock into an ionized, glowing plasma, NASA said. ChemCam catches the light from that spark with a telescope and analyzes it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the target.