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Curiosity Rover Laser Successfully Zaps First Martian Rock In ‘Target Practice’ Test

The Mars rover Curiosity zapped its first rock on Sunday with a high-powered laser gun designed to analyze Martian mineral content, and scientists declared their target practice a success.

The robotic science lab aimed its laser beam at the fist-sized stone nearby and shot the rock with 30 pulses over a 10-second period, NASA said in a statement issued from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Los Angeles.

Each pulse delivers more than 1 million watts of energy for about five one-billionths of a second, vaporizing a pinhead-sized bit of the rock to create a tiny spark, which is analyzed by a small telescope mounted on the instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/LANL/Reuters)

Source: National Post


 

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