PIA16234: Laser Hit on Martian Sand Target, Before and After
 Target Name:  Mars
 Is a satellite of:  Sol (our sun)
 Mission:  Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
 Spacecraft:  Curiosity
 Instrument:  ChemCam
 Product Size:  720 x 720 pixels (w x h)
 Produced By:  JPL
 Full-Res TIFF:  PIA16234.tif (519.1 kB)
 Full-Res JPEG:  PIA16234.jpg (102.3 kB)

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The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity used its laser and spectrometers to examine what chemical elements are in a drift of Martian sand during the mission's 74th Martian day, or sol (Oct. 20, 2012).

This pair of images from ChemCam's remote micro-imager shows the target, called "Crestaurum," before and after it was zapped 30 times by the instrument's laser. The dark pit created by the repeated laser hits is about one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) across. Crestaurum is within the "Rocknest" patch of windblown dust and sand. It was selected as a target surfaced with fine-grain sand. The distance to the target from the ChemCam instrument at the top of Curiosity's mast was 8 feet and 10 inches (2.7 meters).

JPL manages the Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed, developed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

For more about NASA's Curiosity mission, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/msl, http://www.nasa.gov/mars, and http://marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

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