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The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), also known as the Curiosity rover, is a NASA mission with the goal of discovering details about past and present-day Mars. The primary purpose of the mission is to determine if Mars once had a suitable environment for microbial life. The area of Mars chosen to be studied is an ancient impact crater called the Gale Crater. It has many unique geologic features that piqued the interest of astronomers and geologists and could be indicative of past water flows and possibly habitable environments. Since landing on the crater in 2012, the rover has been very successful and has given a lot of information about the past and present of the plant.
The Gale Crater The Gale Crater is a large, ancient impact crater found …show more content…
It has six wheels for travel, and a robotic arm used to collect samples and bore into rocks with an attached drill. The rover generates power through radioactive decay from plutonium-283. According to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratoryin Pasadena, CA, the rover is equipped with the most advanced technology in order to study the present geology and environment of Gale Crater. Ten different instruments are being by the rover. One important instrument is called Sample Analysis at Mars(SAM) which is used to analyze materials collected by the rover and take samples of the atmosphere in order to determine abundance of elements of different isotopes and compounds present. The Mast Camera is used for high resolution imagining in order to view the rover’s surroundings. The CheMin instrument analyzes materials collected by the rover using X-ray diffraction and fluorescence. The ChemCam instrument is used to vaporize rocks by using a laser, and a telescope is then used to image plasma light from the rocks, and identify elements present. Located on the robotic arm, the Mars Hand Lens Imager is used to take very detailed images of small features. The Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer is also located on the robotic are and is used to determine amounts of elements present. The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) is used to determine amounts of radiation in the crater. Another instrument is the Mars Descent Imager was used to film video during landing in order to map geology of the landing site. The Rover Environmental Monitoring System is used to measure environmental factors such as pressure, humidity, temperature, and winds. Lastly, the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons instrument is for detecting the presence of hydrogen beneath the surface (Jet Propulsion Laboratory,

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