NASA's Laser Pulse ChemCam Examines What Stuff Is Made Of By Zapping Lasers At Them
Feb 18, 2010 12:00
NASA's high energy laser is going to be mounted on the next Mars rover. Its Pew Pew Ness is going to vaporize things with a laser to find out what they are made of.
The laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy system (LIBS), called ChemCam, will launch next year. It sends an average of three 10-watt, five-nanosecond laser pulses per second and is perfect for collecting and analyzing rock samples:
The laser shots vaporize a crater less than a millimeter across, turning its molecules into a 14,000-degree plasma. The atoms are shorn of their electrons, but as the plasma ball cools down, they return to a more normal state. The electrons drop into their orbits around the nucleus and as they do so, the little plasma ball emits light...
The specific color of the light tells scientists exactly what element they are looking at if they pass it through a spectrometer, which can precisely measure the wavelength of light.
Microsoft is releasing a preview of its new browser, dubbed 'Project Spartan.' There's no name for it yet, but key initial features include the company's digital assistant, Cortana, and a whole bunch of other features that may prove to be useful. Read more
The USB port is so ubiquitous, we need it for just about anything these days. Charging our devices would be its most useful function. So how do you add a USB outlet on your wall without requiring any wiring? Read more
Here's checking out some work from artist Ajit Johnson, who perfectly nailed this generation's addiction to technology in these simple and brutally honest posters. Check it out below and let us know what you think. Read more