The Science of Mars Rover – Curiosity

 

Mars Rover Curiosity  “Curiosity” is the name assigned to a wheeled, self-propelled vehicle which was successfully deployed to the planet Mars in August 2012.   After an interplanetary journey aboard an exceptionally powerful and capable NASA space rocket, this having covered an estimated 350,000,000 miles through outer space, Curiosity was then lowered into the Martian atmosphere within a parachute-assisted and rocket-steered capsule.   Once this extraterrestrial vehicle, weighing slightly less than one ton, had been safely positioned on the Martian surface, it could then set out on its mission.   It is powered by a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, which contains a mass of plutonium-238 acting as a fuel cell.   The radioactive decay of this contained isotope releases extremely high levels of energy, which is then converted into electric current, this being stored and eventually released by special lithium ion batteries.   The sacred scientific mission of this “Mars Rover” vehicle is to study geological, meteorological (weather), and quite possibly biological patterns, on the surface of Mars, near that planet’s equator.   This is to be achieved through the use of extremely advanced electronic equipment contained within this vehicle, and is to involve the chemical analysis of any substances encountered there.   As of this writing, Curiosity has already fired a pulsed laser beam directly at a Martian rock.   Focusing the projected energy equivalent to that of 1,000,000 standard light bulbs on an area of rock surface the size of a pin prick, this laser effectively achieved significant penetration of this geological specimen.   This resulted in the conversion of solid matter into ionized gas, which could then be optically analyzed to determine chemical composition (of the targeted rock).   Considering the potentially destructive power of this laser system, which possesses a maximum effective range of 23 feet, it’s use as a direct fire weapon could conceivably cause serious injury or even death to quite possibly any alien life form, should the need arise and should any be encountered by Curiosity.   (Article by Freelance Writer B.E. Shibley)

 

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