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8 August 2012

Introducing ChemRex!

I neglected to mention one important development from yesterday. On landing night, after I had finished freaking out about our successful safe landing, I noticed that fellow ChemCam post-doc Nina Lanza was wearing a very special ChemCam shirt with this on the front: As a big fan of lasers and dinosaurs (my favorite toys as a kid were DinoRiders), I had to ask about it. Apparently Nina had made an …


31 October 2011

Lasers, Lunar Landings, and LRO

The young man was very interested in my work. I described how the tunable laser worked, how we were able to measure carbon dioxide and why it mattered. He was genuinely interested lasers and asked about other uses. I explained that laser can be used for cutting steel, measuring how fast cars are traveling, and as guide stars for observatories. I mentioned that scientists are able to accurately measure the distance to the moon by bouncing the lasers off or reflector arrays placed there by the Apollo astronauts. As I talked about the astronauts on the moon, I watched this guy’s face change. He thought for a minute and asked something like: You think we landed on the moon?