“It’s important and it’s really great to have this going on here,” said Elly Breves of the research team.
Breves said the high-powered laser burns into rock samples creating that spark and taking data.
The research team has been testing actual rock samples from the Bay State in a Mars simulated chamber.
When an identical laser on the Curiosity sends data from the rock samples on Mars, they’ll compare that to the tangible materials they studied on earth.
“We’re going to have a large data set here to compare actual rover set data to…it’s going to be finding rocks, earth rocks similar to what we’re finding on Mars.”
Understanding this can tell us who or what is on the foreign planet.
“Carbon would indicate the presence of life or rocks of life, so in that case it’s carbon, hydrogen, oxygen.”
The fact that NASA research is being done in a mars simulating chamber in a small room in this building at Mount Holyoke College has the whole campus and community really excited.
“The campus is very supportive,” she said. “We’ve been getting emails from co-workers who are away for the summer still following the news and following us. It’s been exciting on campus with the landing.”
The Curiosity will be sending samples back by the end of the month. Breves said she doesn’t know what they will find on mars but can’t wait to get the first data set.
If you would like to follow Curiosity’s progress, click HERE