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Page last updated at 06:47 GMT, Tuesday, 21 August 2012 07:47 UK

Curiosity uses laser on Mars rock

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Nasa's Curiosity rover has zapped its first Martian rock.

Dr John Bridges, of Leicester University, who is in Pasadena working on the mission, explained that the laser was used to to fire some pulses at the rock surface which then generated little sparks of plasma.

Nasa then look at the spectre of that to determine what elements are in the rock.

"These are preliminary stages but we've definitely got some data," he told the Today programme.

The first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover
The first laser test by the Chemistry and Camera, or ChemCam, on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover


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