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NASA Announces Curiosity Rover Media Events Schedule

August 19, 2012 Leave a comment

NASA will host several media teleconferences and/or news conferences to provide Curiosity rover mission updates in the coming weeks.

The next scheduled media telecons are: Tuesday, Aug. 21 and Thursday, Aug. 23, both at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT).

PLEASE NOTE: All events are subject to change. The Mars Curiosity team is operating on Mars time (the Martian day is 40 minutes longer than an Earth day), so all events are scheduled based on team availability. Details and updates of event times will be posted as they become available.

Full Story and Links: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-247

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Rover’s Laser Instrument Zaps First Martian Rock

August 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Today, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity fired its laser for the first time on Mars, using the beam from a science instrument to interrogate a fist-size rock called “Coronation.”

The mission’s Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, hit the fist-sized rock with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

ChemCam recorded spectra from the laser-induced spark at each of the 30 pulses. The goal of this initial use of the laser on Mars was to serve as target practice for characterizing the instrument, but the activity may provide additional value. 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. The spectrometers record intensity at 6,144 different wavelengths of ultraviolet, visible and infrared light.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-248