sábado, 30 de julio de 2016

Curiosity autorizado a disparar con su láser

Mars rover Curiosity gets license to shoot its laser at will
NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars
Feel the wrath of my laser!
By Jacob Aron - New Scientist

Watch out Mars, Curiosity is coming for you. NASA’s rover, which has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012, is now able to autonomously target rocks with its ChemCam laser without waiting for human approval.

ChemCam is an instrument designed to study the chemical makeup of rocks and soil on Mars by zapping them with a laser and studying the gas released on impact. Up until now, researchers on Earth have told Curiosity where to shoot, but it has just been upgraded to fire at targets of its own choosing.

Rocks on Mars, as seen by Curiosity
Curiosity hunts for new targets

The rover has been equipped with new software that analyses images from its navigation camera to look for potential targets. If the software picks out a particularly interesting rock, Curiosity can drive over and target it with ChemCam without having to wait for the images to be transmitted back to Earth.

Curiosity’s new trigger-happy freedom will mostly come in handy when Mars is out of communication with Earth, or when Mars orbiters are otherwise occupied and unable to relay messages to the rover. Thankfully, no humans are on the planet, so we don’t have to worry about unleashing a killer robot.

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