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NASA rover Curiosity blasts first Martian rock with laser

Sharon Gaudin | Aug. 21, 2012
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity successfully tested its laser on Sunday, blasting a fist-size Martian rock and analyzing its makeup.

Toward the end of the year, NASA engineers expect to begin to move Curiosity toward Mount Sharp, a three-mile high mountain in the middle of Gale Crater, where the rover landed. Mount Sharp is a primary area of interest for the scientists who are hoping to discover if Mars has ever been able to support microbial life.

Curiosity, NASA's most advanced robotic rover, has been on the surface of Mars for two weeks.

The car-sized, nuclear-powered machine is on what NASA hopes will be at least a two-year mission. It is equipped with 10 scientific instruments and offers the most advanced payload of scientific gear ever used on the surface of Mars, including chemistry instruments, environmental sensors and radiation monitors.



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