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Backgrounder: Mars rover Curiosity's 10 science instruments

(Xinhua)

15:17, August 06, 2012

This artist's scoreboard displays a fictional game between Mars and Earth, with Mars in the lead. (Photo/NASA)

WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is set to touch down in the Gale Crater area of Mars early Monday. The mission will study whether the Red Planet has evidence of past and present habitable environments.

The following is basic information about 10 science instruments onboard Curiosity, the most sophisticated mobile science laboratory ever sent to another world.

MAST CAMERA

Mast Camera, mounted at about human-eye height, will image the rover's surroundings in high-resolution stereo and color, with the capability to take and store high-definition video sequences. It will also be used for viewing materials collected or treated by the arm.

CHEMISTRY AND CAMERA

Chemistry and Camera is a combination of a rock-vaporizing laser and a telescope which both sit on the rover's mast. This instrument can target a rock up to seven meters away, and will share with the Mast Camera the role of informing researchers' choices about which objects in the area make the best targets for approaching to examine with other instruments.
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