Target for 100,000th laser shot
Target for 100,000th Laser Shot by Curiosity on Mars

Since landing on Mars in August 2012, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has fired the laser on its Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument more than 100,000 times at rock and soil targets up to about 23 feet (7 meters) away.  This mosaic of images from ChemCam's remote micro-imager camera show the rock, called "Ithaca," that received the 100,000th zapping, and 299 others.  The scale bar at upper right is 1 centimeter (0.4 inch).  The target was 13 feet, 3 inches (4.04 meters) from the top of Curiosity's mast, where the laser and remote micro-imager are mounted, when the rock was inspected during the 439th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars (Oct. 30, 2013).

The image shows scars from the 10 laser-targeted points labeled from point 1 to point 10. Each observation point received 30 laser shots.  One of the 30 shots at point 1 was the 100,000th firing of the ChemCam laser.  The vertical line of 10 points examined by ChemCam on Ithaca starts in a pitted lower coarser grained layer and crosses into a finer grained, smoother, upper layer.  The chemical composition of the two layers appears to be very similar. 

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/UNM

Page Last Updated: December 5th, 2013
Page Editor: Tony Greicius