LANL's ChemCam conducts first laser test over the weekend
Monday, August 20, 2012 - 5:06pm
NASA's Mars rover Curiosity fired its laser for the first time this weekend on Mars, using the beam from a science instrument to interrogate a fist-size rock.
The mission's ChemCam, designed and built at Los Alamos National Laboratory, hit the fist-sized rock with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.
About the photo: This composite image, with magnified insets, depicts the first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, instrument aboard NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP