NASA’s Curiosity Reaches Milestone

NASA's Curiosity spacecraft has showed us things about Mars we only guessed at
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is leading the human exploration of Mars

100,000 zaps and counting

Astronomy News (December 05, 2013) –

NASA astronomers believe Curiosity has found an ancient lake that once existed on Mars
The blue area represents the extent of ancient lake inside Gale Crater, according to NASA astronomers

Astronomy News – The human journey to the beginning of space and time reached another milestone today as NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft fired its infrared laser for the 100,000th time. Curiosity has been conducting an experiment to determine the basic chemical elements contained within martian rocks and soils using the Chemistry and Camera Instrument (ChemCam). ChemCam has fired more than 102,000 times as of December 01, 2013, at 420 martian rocks and soils, and taken over 1,600 HD pictures using its onboard camera.

It appears the surface of Mars inside Gale Crater has been exposed to wind blown sand and other forces
Curiosity’s Mastcam instrument took this image of the Glenelg area of Gale Crater showing sedimentary deposits which data indicates have only been exposed for 80 million years

At the moment, an international team of astronomers and scientists are going over the data provided by Curiosity and ChemCam in order to list the chemical elements contained within the 420 samples they fired the laser at. This will give them a good idea of the chemical elements on the surface of Mars’ Gale Crater and the geophysical processes that formed them. ChemCam fires an infrared laser at rocks and soil targets to create plasma gas, which it analysis using a scientific technique called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy.

NASA scientists recently dated a Martian rock at between 3.86 and 4.56 billion years old
A rock in the Sheepbed Mudstone deposit of Gale Crater was the first Martian rock scientists measured the age of

Curiosity is the first NASA mission to use this scientific technique to analysis rocks and soils on a different planet, but certainly not the last. You can learn more about ChemCam at http://www.msl-chemcam.com.

You can find more on NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft and its mission to Mars at http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/. You can follow the Curiosity spacecraft mission on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity.

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Watch videos about Curiosity on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIvbvV7RXp8.

Can NASA astronomers detect extraterrestrial moons orbiting distant suns? Read this article to find out https://spaceshipearth1.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/searching-for-extraterrestrial-moons/.

Read about the latest discovery in the search for life beyond Earth https://spaceshipearth1.wordpress.com/2013/12/25/the-search-for-life-beyond-earth-takes-a-turn-at-jupiter/.

Read about the latest images of the solar system sent back by the Cassini spacecraft https://spaceshipearth1.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/cassini-spacecraft-show-views-of-the-solar-system-in-natural-color/.

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