NASA rover aims laser ray at Mars rocks

Curiosity will burn hole in small stone as part of study to determine if Mars environment ever held microbial life.

    NASA's Curiosity rover is about to begin its laser target practice [AFP]
    NASA's Curiosity rover is about to begin its laser target practice [AFP]

    The NASA Mars rover Curiosity is preparing for its first laser target practice by zapping a Martian rock from three metres away.

    Since landing in an ancient crater on August 5, the car-size Curiosity has been getting a full health checkup.

    Scientists said on Friday they had chosen a generic-looking rock near the landing site to aim the laser at and burn a small hole.

    The laser is one of 10 tools Curiosity will use to study whether the environment was favorable for microbial life.

    Engineers next week planned to command Curiosity to turn its wheels side-to-side and then take its first short drive that will involve rolling forward three metres, turning 90 degrees and then going in reverse.

    After the checkups are done, the rover will head east to a spot where three different types of terrain converge in a drive that will take about a month. By year's end, it will start its trek toward a mountain rising from the crater floor.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The Victorian Muslims of Britain

    The Victorian Muslims of Britain

    The stories of the British aristocrats who converted to Islam.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    India's shocking farmer suicide epidemic

    India's shocking farmer suicide epidemic

    Falling into a debt-trap and besieged by bad weather, thousands of farmers are taking their own lives each year.