Feeds

Curiosity's laser turns Mars rocks to 'glowing plasma'

Watch out Martians, those million-watt jolts were just target practice

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Humanity has unleashed its most awesome high-energy assault on extra-terrestrial geology to date, after the Curiosity rover zapped a martian rock with its Chemistry and Camera instrument (ChemCam) over the weekend.

The unprovoked attack was the first time any off-Earth object has been subjected to investigation by laser and unleased awesome forces on a rock named “Coronation”.

Mission control has described the experiment as follows:

“ChemCam hit Coronation with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivered more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second. The energy from the laser excited atoms in the rock into an ionized, glowing plasma. ChemCam also caught the light from that spark with a telescope and analyzed it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the target.”

The rock zapped by Curiosity's ChemCam

"Coronation", the rock Curiosity zapped with its ChemCam laser

The experiment was not intended to reveal any information on Coronation's composition, with target practice and calibration the aim of the exercise. But NASA and JPL boffins haven't ruled out useful science resulting from the test, writing that “Researchers will check whether the composition changed as the pulses progressed. If it did change, that could indicate dust or other surface material being penetrated to reveal different composition beneath the surface.” ®

Image credit NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.