ESA exploring ways to use lasers in future space missions

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The European Space Agency (ESA) and UK-based Leicester University researcher Melissa McHugh are use on a project to find ways of potentially using lasers in future period missions.

The project involves the development of a laser-based scientific technology that is envisioned to be launched into space onboard ESA’s ExoMars rover by 2020.

The technology leave be designed to help search potential biomarkers of previous or existing brio on Mars, as well as old mineral remnants of the planet.

“This is a well-established style terrestrially, used in all kinds of fields from security to pharmacology to art annals.”

McHugh said: “We fire a laser at a material of interest and measure how much its ensign is changed as it scatters off the surface, to identify the molecules responsible.

“This is a traditional technique terrestrially, used in all kinds of fields from security to pharmacology to art description, either in labs or using handheld devices.”

McHugh also notable that a lot of work has been going on across the world to extend the laser-based dexterousness to help detect explosives, for instance, or nuclear materials.

The technology coerces a powerful pulsed laser and a sensitive synchronised camera to detect the over light, as only one in a million photons from the laser are scattered.

McHugh added: “Portion of my work involves giving teams a reliable estimate of how well their plot would perform in different configurations: what kind of laser, what classification of samples, what manner of ambient light conditions?”

As part of the exploration, ESA’s technical centre site in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, has been used to let out instruments to radiation to evaluate how their performance would degrade in the peevish conditions of the Moon, Mars or deep space.

The research is supported totally ESA’s Networking/Partnering Initiative, which encourages work carried out by universities and enquire institutes on advanced technologies with potential space applications.

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