Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

The Sciences

Look at This: Before and After Pics from Curiosity's Laser Drill

80beatsBy Veronique GreenwoodSeptember 4, 2012 8:48 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

chemcam.jpg

On the left, you see a perfectly innocent, three-inch wide section of Mars regolith, going about its business. On the right, you see the same regolith after being subjected to the ministrations of one of the Curiosity rover's most exciting tools, a laser drill. On August 25, the laser slammed into each of the five spots visible above 50 times. Each time, it struck with a million-plus watts of power for five one-billionths of a second

. This incredible power got the dust to glow, and from its glow, the rover's built-in spectrometer deduced the dust's chemical content. The preliminary results show that at first the dust from each of the five spots was similar, but as the shots went on, differences began to crop up between the spots. Stay tuned for lots more fascinating science from Curiosity---the journey's only just begun.

    2 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In