Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Laser Hit on Martian Sand Target, Before and After

The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used its laser and spectrometers to examine what chemical elements are in a drift of Martian sand during the mission's 74th Martian day, or sol (Oct. 20, 2012). 

This pair of images from ChemCam's remote micro-imager shows the target, called "Crestaurum," before and after it was zapped 30 times by the instrument's laser. The dark pit created by the repeated laser hits is about one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) across. Crestaurum is within the "Rocknest" patch of windblown dust and sand. It was selected as a target surfaced with fine-grain sand. The distance to the target from the ChemCam instrument at the top of Curiosity's mast was 8 feet and 10 inches (2.7 meters). 


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