August 22, 2012

This short video clip shows final testing of the mast unit of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument for NASA's Curiosity before it was installed on the rover. An iron pyrite crystal was used as a target, located about 2.5 meters (8 feet) from the instrument. The laser was fired, first at 3 Hertz (pulses per second) and then at 10 Hertz. The last spark was captured as a still image to better display the size and shape of the plasma, or ionized gas. The test, performed at Earth's atmospheric pressure, took place at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, which assembled and tested the instrument.

Image credit: LANL

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