NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has fired its laser for the first time. Its target wasn’t attacking Martians, but a 7 cm (2.75 inch) wide rock called “Coronation” (AKA N165) about 10 feet (3 m) from the rover. Curiosity’s laser fired 30 pulses over a ten-second interval, hitting Coronation with one million watts for five-one billionths of a second. As tiny bits of Coronation vaporized into a glowing plasma, Curiosity’s ChemCam analyzed the stone’s makeup by means of a telescope and three spectrometers. The laser shot was part of Curiosity’s three-week shakedown before starting its two-year mission to explore the Red Planet. The firing on Sunday August 19 was “target practice,” but the spectral analysis will also help scientists to determine if the laser is blasting just rock or any dust covering the stone as well. This is the first time that such a laser experiment has been conducted on another planet.
Shit it has a laser?!