MAIN JOB:To determine the elements that make up rocks and soils, providing information about crustal formation, weathering processes and water activity on Mars.
LOCATION:Attached to the turret at the end of the rover arm
SIZE:Small enough to hold in your hand (3.3 inches x ~2 inches, or 84 millimeters x 52 millimeters)
SIZE OF SAMPLED AREA QUALITY:~1.5 inches (38 millimeters)
DATA ACQUISITION:Most APXS measurements are taken at night and require at least 10 hours of accumulation time.
Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS)
As with the other instruments on the arm of the rover, the APXS sensor head is small enough to hold in your hand. Its electronics are housed in the warm electronics box (WEB) located in the body of the rover. Most APXS measurements are taken at night and require at least 10 hours of accumulation time, although just X-ray alone will only require a few hours.