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NASA Mars Space Science

Mars Curiosity Rover's First Road Trip Planned 65

Posted by Soulskill
from the off-to-kill-cats dept.
littlesparkvt writes "NASA has announced the first destination for the Curiosity Rover. They're sending it to 'Glenelg,' a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain. 'The trek to Glenelg will send the rover 1,300 feet (400 meters) east-southeast of its landing site. One of the three types of terrain intersecting at Glenelg is layered bedrock, which is attractive as the first drilling target. "We're about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road," Grotzinger said. "Our challenge is there is no GPS on Mars, so we have a roomful of rover-driver engineers providing our turn-by-turn navigation for us." Prior to the rover's trip to Glenelg, the team in charge of Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, is planning to give their mast-mounted, rock-zapping laser and telescope combination a thorough checkout. On Saturday night, Aug. 18, ChemCam is expected to "zap" its first rock in the name of planetary science. It will be the first time such a powerful laser has been used on the surface of another world.'"
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Mars Curiosity Rover's First Road Trip Planned

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  • Zap ! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mbone (558574) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @09:36AM (#41035641)

    People have been talking about doing Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy in space for decades, so I hope it works well with Chemcam. It has a lot of promise, both to speed up exploration, and in places like asteroids and comets, where it may not be feasible or safe to actually touch the target.

    They have picked a boring nearby rock for the first target. There has been a discussion of whether or not Mars rocks have a "desert patina" (or varnish), and, if so, what is its nature, and even if it has a biological component. The Chemcam samples the top layer of the target, so may help to answer that.

  • Road? (Score:5, Funny)

    by houghi (78078) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:02AM (#41035805)

    Road: You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Road: You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means?

      Mars Curiosity - "Roads. Where I'm going, I don't need 'roads'."
      (best read in Stephen Hawking's computer voice.)

    • Where Curiosity's going, it doesn't *need* roads.

    • Not sure about NASA, but for Russians, a "road" is whatever place you plan to drive through.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:10AM (#41035863) Journal
    They were only zapping our architecture to see what it was made of?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oVUwG0qC9c [youtube.com]

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @10:22AM (#41035937) Journal

    > ChemCam is expected to "zap" its first rock in the name of planetary science.

    Take the quotes off that zap and smile when you say it, pal.

    If a freakin' robot on Mars shooting a murderous, rock-vaporizing laser doesn't deserve the unquoted use of the verb "zap", nothing does.

    • by cusco (717999)
      Some of the same people who drove Spirit and Opportunity are on the Curiosity driving team. Here's Scott Maxwell's (of the 'Mars and Me' blog) Google+ page. "https://plus.google.com/112648317373638762082/posts#11264831737363876 2082/posts"
    • >> It will be the first time such a powerful laser has been used on the surface of another world.

      And so it begins.

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      What it deserves is one of the girls screaming, "Fire Da Laser!".

      If I heard that in the control room I think I would die laughing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    the original Glenelg:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenelg,_Highland

    You've never seen so many schoolchildren throw up on one bus journey as when going over the pass to reach it.

  • Laser (Score:4, Funny)

    by ByteSlicer (735276) on Saturday August 18, 2012 @11:11AM (#41036341)
    Did they remember to attach a shark to it? It can't possibly function without one!
  • Clearly what is needed are more Martian satellites -- some for imaging and mapping, and a constellation for GPS -- so we can get some real roadtrips going.
  • Best thing to do when your frat is on double secret probation.

  • attached to this laser?

  • Here is the rock they plan to zap:
    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/?ImageID=4485 [nasa.gov]

    And quite a few more images here since I last looked:
    http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/images/ [nasa.gov]

  • Yeah, send it to Glenelg!

  • They are going to a palindrome.
    Doc, note: i dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
  • by Fuzzums (250400) on Sunday August 19, 2012 @05:17PM (#41048481) Homepage

    "We're about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road."

    It seems Mars has GPS aswell. Time to start Geocaching on Mars...

    • by MrHops (712514)

      "We're about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road."

      It seems Mars has GPS aswell. Time to start Geocaching on Mars...

      I know it's obvious, but wouldn't that be "areo-caching"?

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