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Originally posted by SystemiK
One question though, near the end of the clip it looks as if a laser is deployed. What is the purpose of that?
The device includes a pressure sensor, three temperature sensors and a "lidar" -- also written as LIDAR, an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging.
"It points up into the sky with pulses of laser light and looks at the reflected light coming off of the pulses that go up into the sky," said Berenstain.
"That reflected light has a lot of information in it. Basically, whatever that laser beam hits along the way will reflect back down."
The laser could hit dust particles or water crystals, including clouds, which could be in the atmosphere.
The data will be important to help understand both the atmosphere and water on Mars.