Old 12-23-2010, 01:31 AM #1
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Default NASA's Next Mars Rover to Zap Rocks With Laser

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NASA's Next Mars Rover to Zap Rocks With Laser - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

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Old 12-23-2010, 11:32 PM #2
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Default Re: NASA's Next Mars Rover to Zap Rocks With Laser

I'd love to know what kind of laser they use, would it be a simple Q-switched flashlamp pumped YAG or something more fancy?
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Old 12-24-2010, 07:01 PM #3
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Default Re: NASA's Next Mars Rover to Zap Rocks With Laser

I would too. To vaporize rock, it would have to be pretty powerful.
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:58 AM #4
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Default Re: NASA's Next Mars Rover to Zap Rocks With Laser

Its probably an IR laser

In chemistry we use IR spectroscopy to learn more about unknown substances. UV-Visable Spectroscopy does exist but it does not give as much info as IR specs.

EDIT:
"An invisible beam from the laser set off a flash on a rock across the room. The flash was ionized gas, or plasma, generated by the energy from the laser exciting atoms in the rock. A spectrometer pointed at the glowing plasma recorded the intensity of light at different wavelengths for determining the rock's atomic ingredients."

Yeah this sounds almost exactly like IR spectroscopy
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Old 01-23-2011, 09:18 PM #5
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Default Re: NASA's Next Mars Rover to Zap Rocks With Laser

Except that the rock is ionised, and ions give different spectra. In this can it doesn't matter if it's IR or UV, as long as it ionises the rock, which then emits light by itself.
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