By Wang Chin

Nasa's Space place

This page tells you all about the wavelengths lasers and how lasers are used in space. There are also interactive diagrams to show you the difference between normal light and lasers

What is a Laser?

Lasers are a monochromatic form of light, which means that they only have one colour, like most laser use red. Lasers also travel in a wave unlike light, which is scattered, scientists say that lasers are ‘coherent’.


Did You Know?

When a laser beam is fired at the moon, the laser can measure the distance between earth and the moon and only be off by only 2 or less cm!

Uses of a Laser

Lasers can be used in different types of equipment like:

  • CD Players

  • Bar code readers

  • Surgery

  • Space technology

And lots more! Laser is used in these equipments because a laser has a small point which allows people to do delicate things.

10 Facts about Lasers in 30 Seconds

Lasers in Space

Lasers to identify matter or chemicals

These kinds of lasers are fitted onto space vehicles. For example, as the laser pass through the gas the gas absorbs and deflects light and the remaining light is the ‘fingerprint’ of the chemical or matter.


There are lots of different ways of searching for life on Mars, on of the ways are to find signs of methane, if there is methane there is a chance of bacteria on Mars.

The Spectrometer

If we say the scientists would like to know if there are any signs of methane on a planet, they could find the wavelength of light methane absorbs. After they find out the wavelength of light methane absorbs, they can put the Spectrometer on a planet to find methane. Now all the Spectrometer has to do is to shoot a beam of laser to a laser, the laser will travel through the gas and reflect of the rock, which, if the returning laser if weaker, then the scientists know how much energy the methane has absorbed, the amount of energy absorbed tells us how much gas (in this case, methane) there is in the planet.

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Light and Sound (By: Chris Oxlade)