The Curiosity rover, key to NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, bears three systems that Los Alamos National Laboratory helped develop.

ChemCam is a laser spectrometer and telecope device, the brainchild of Wiens, who works at Los Alamos.  He created the devicewWith a team of 40 people at LANL and the collaboration of the French space institute IRAP.  It will blast rocks from as far as 7 meters (23 feet), vaporize bits of their surfaces, and spectroscopically  determine their chemical composition.

The Chemistry and Mineralogy "ChemMin" analyzer, whose deputy principal investigator is LANL's David Vaniman, will use X-ray diffraction and fluuorescence to identify and quantify minerals in sediment and soil samples.

The third LANL-related component is the heat-producing Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator unit.  It powers the rover and keeps the instruments from freezing solid . The generator's plutonium 238 heat sources were produced at Los Alamos several years before the mission launch, developed by a team of more than 40 staff members.

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