Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Outfitting the Next Mars Rover

Outfitting the Next Mars Rover | Magazine:

"A rock-vaporizing laser. Miniaturized chemical analyzers. A flying crane. As NASA prepares to launch the Mars Science Laboratory, a rover that will “follow the water” and pursue potential signs of life on Mars, international teams are tricking it out with a new set of scientific instruments that can analyze data in real time as the rover moves across the surface. Since future NASA funding is up in the air and the rest of the planetary science community is arguing that other targets in the solar system are long overdue, MSL may be the agency’s last chance for several years to get wheels back on the rocky red ground. It’s a $2.5 billion gamble that aims to redefine our understanding of habitability in the universe. So engineers are making sure MSL has the right tools for the job."