The MESSENGER mission to Mercury uses infrared light to study properties of the planet. However, too much infrared radiation is detrimental to the spacecraft and its instruments.
In the lesson Sensing the Invisible, students find out that radiation other than visible light is arriving from the sun. Students reproduce a version of William Herschel’s experiment of 1800, in which he discovered the existence of infrared radiation.
For more information, review the Sensing the Invisible article in NEON.
Link to the NES Virtual Campus home page.