NASA's next Mars rover will sport laser to vaporize rocks

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NASA's Mars 2020 rover will sport a rock-vaporizing laser gun. According to NASA, the mast-mounted laser has a range of 7 meters and will be used for studying minerals and help looking for microbe fossils.

The rover mast features the SuperCam, a next gen version of Curiosity's ChemCam. The Supercam is a cereal box-sized device that combines a camera, a laser and spectrometers into a single instrument.

The rover could use the SuperCam infrared laser to superheat out-of-reach rocks. The rover would then deploy a camera to analyze the plasma and determine its chemical makeup without taking a physical sample.

SuperCam also includes a green laser and a 100-nanosecond shutter optic that can identify chemical compounds on surfaces around the rover. Together, these features will help the rover to find sulfates and carbonates that would indicate the presence of liquid water on Mars.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. NASA's Mars 2020 rover will be equipped with a laser
2. Laser is a part of the miniaturized devices included in rover SuperCam
3. Rover's laser vaporizes rocks into plasma for chemical analysis
4. SuperCam's lasers and sensors will help find evidence of water on Mars

VOICEOVER (in English):
"NASA's Mars 2020 rover will sport a rock-vaporizing laser gun. According to NASA, the mast-mounted laser has a range of 7 meters and will be used for studying minerals and help looking for microbe fossils."

"The rover mast features the SuperCam, a next gen version of Curiosity's ChemCam. The Supercam is a cereal box-sized device that combines a camera, a laser and spectrometers into a single instrument."

"The rover could use the SuperCam infrared laser to superheat out-of-reach rocks. The rover would then deploy a camera to analyze the plasma and determine its chemical makeup without taking a physical sample."

"SuperCam also includes a green laser and a 100-nanosecond shutter optic that can identify chemical compounds on surfaces around the rover. Together, these features will help the rover to find sulfates and carbonates that would indicate the presence of liquid water on Mars."

SOURCES: NASA
https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=7591