Small businesses provide addition to NASA's Curiosity rover
Metal Supermarkets, a small-quantities metal supplier in Minneapolis, and its client LOFTech Prototype Mfg. have announced their part in manufacturing the ChemCam, a part of NASA’s Curiosity rover. Metal Supermarkets supplied the stainless steel, and LOFTech manufactured the instrument.
The ChemCam, mounted on the rover's mast, is used to determine the composition of rocks. It fires a laser pulse at rocks up to 60 yds. away. From the light given off by the laser hitting the rock, scientists use the built-in spectrometers to determine what the rock is made of. The light resulting from these blasts is recorded and analyzed by the rover, which can determine the elemental composition of samples from the atomic emission lines produced.
The two companies have been doing business together for almost 10 years.