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Here’s a Strange Rock That Perseverance Shot With its Laser

7 Apr 2021, 15:33 UTC
Here’s a Strange Rock That Perseverance Shot With its Laser
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Perseverance has been busy lately. After testing its systems out, taking the first sound recording ever on the Red Planet, and dropping off its helicopter sidekick, now it has the opportunity to work on its primary mission: stare at some rocks. And occasionally zap them with a laser.

That laser is part of the Supercam system we reported on previously. It sublimates part of a rock with its laser. The gas given off by the sublimation is then analyzed by spectroscopic cameras onboard the rover. That spectroscopy of the smoke emitted by the rock helps determine what the rock is actually made out of.

Image of the SuperCam laser and spectroscopy system that Perseverance uses to analyze rocks.Credit: CNES

Recently, the rover came across a unique rock that piqued its scientific team’s interest. They duly zapped the rock with a laser, and Perseverance posted a picture of the now slightly more pockmarked rock on its Twitter feed.

The rover even challenged its followers to try to find the additional pockmarks created by the laser, which Twitter user @justpaladone and a number of others managed to do in replies to the main tweet.

I found them! ? pic.twitter.com/gvQ9alLGRF— magnus ...

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