Curiosity Fires Laser on Mars

No sign of anything shooting back.


PASADENA, Calif., Aug. 20 (UPI) — The U.S. Mars rover Curiosity fired its laser for the first time on Mars to investigate a fist-size rock dubbed "Coronation," NASA officials said Monday.

The mission's chemistry and camera instrument, ChemCam, hit the fist-sized rock with 30 laser pulses during a 10-second period, NASA said in a release.

Each pulse sends more than a million watts of power, exciting atoms in the rock into an ionized, glowing plasma, NASA said. ChemCam then traps the light with a telescope and analyzes it for information about elements in the target.