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Mars rover Curiosity shoots rock with laser

An artist's rendering of the Curiosity rover is seen in this image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech.
August 21, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
For the first time, NASA'S Curiosity rover used its high-power laser beams to zap a Martian rock.

On Sunday, Curiosity fired 30 pulses during a 10-second window. It's the first time such a powerful laser has been used on another planet.

Scientists hope to identify the chemical elements in the rock. The goal is to determine if life could have survived on Mars.

Since landing in Gale Crater two weeks ago, the six-wheel rover has been checking out its instruments, including the laser.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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