Did I mention Curiosity has a laser?

And not just any old wimpy office presentation pointer laser, either. No, Cursiotiy’s ChemCam system includes ba serious, rock vaporaizing weapons grade zap gun intended to examine samples at the molevular level. Or fend off tentacled monsters with a thirst for human blood:

PC World — ChemCam can look at rocks and soils from a distance, fire a laser to vaporize the materials and analyze them with an on-board spectrograph that measures the composition of the resulting plasma. NASA says ChemCam can also use the laser to do less destructive things, such as clear away dust from Martian rocks as well as use a remote camera to acquire extremely detailed images. …

Tonight the rover will zap its first rock — one which scientists have dubbed “Rock N165,” a three-inch wide Mars rock that sits about 10 feet away from Curiosity.


  1. says

    It would be ironic if there were bloodthirsty monsters after Curiousity. Unless NASA included some blood with it, there’s gonna be slim pickin’s!

  2. lordshipmayhem says

    So let me get this straight: we’ve given blood-sucking tentacled aliens our key defence technology? Did the DOD approve of this? Homeland Security – did they sign off?

  3. machintelligence says

    So the rumors are true! We have sent a laser armed robot to Mars!
    Isn’t this a violation of the treaty restricting the militarization of space? */sarcasm*

  4. brucegee1962 says

    Somewhere out there, there is a group of men and women who can say “My job is to drive a dune buggy around Mars and fire a laser at rocks.”

    We now have a winner in the “coolest job ever” category. Also, quite possibly, in the “best pickup line ever” category. It clearly beats “I am Tom Cruise” and any number of other pickup lines I can imagine. Who could stand against it?

  5. scrutationaryarchivist says

    It could also come in handy for entertaining any Martian cats that wander by.

    I don’t think Curiosity would use a laser to entertain the cat.

  6. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    I don’t think Curiosity would use a laser to entertain the cat.

    Now the conversation is approaching Pharyngula-ness.

  7. Crudely Wrott says

    brucegee1962, it’s funny you should mention Tom Cruise. Right now I’m watching him in a horrible remake of War of the Worlds. Really, the script sucks big time.

    On topic: this mission is just too cool. Nailed the landing, systems coming on line as planned, pictures of the damned landing itself and a frikkin lazer!

    I’ve been following space exploration since just before Gagarin did the first loop de loop and I am more impressed and excited then ever. What really gets me going is that we are about to ride along with Curiosity as it climbs a mountain three miles high! Boys and girls, it just doesn’t get any better*.

    * Until our children launch their missions, that is. ;~)

  8. Die Anyway says

    > “Also, quite possibly, in the “best pickup line ever” category.”

    This was actually a plot line for Howard Walowitz on Big Bang Theory… With predictable disastrous outcome.

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