June 5, 2016

NASA's Huge Nuclear Powered Mars Rover and its bag of tricks

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) mission with the aim to land and operate a rover named Curiosity on the surface of Mars. The MSL is scheduled to launch between November 25 and December 18, 2011 and to land on Mars at Gale Crater between August 6 and August 20, 2012.

MastCam: HD video (This is going to be a real treat!)
Hand Lens Imager: Color pictures of features as tiny as 12.5 microns
SAM: A mass spectrometer, a gas chromatograph and a laser spectrometer.
MARDI: Camera located on Curiosity's main body, will record video of the rover's descent.
CheMin: Identifies different types of minerals.
ChemCam: Fires a laser at Martian rocks and analyze the composition of the vaporized bits.
APX: Shoots out X-rays and helium nuclei to identify elements.
DAN: Fires beams of neutrons at the ground in search of ice and water-logged minerals.
RAD: Helps prepare for future human exploration of Mars. The instrument will measure and identify high-energy radiation of all types on the Red Planet, from fast-moving protons to gamma rays.
REMS: Measures atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, air temperature, ground temperature and ultraviolet radiation.
MEDLI: Measures the temperatures and pressures the heat shield experiences as the MSL spacecraft streaks through the Martian sky. (installed on the shield and not on the rover)



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