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Mars rover Curiosity becoming more curious

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Mars rover Curiosity becoming more curious

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NASA scientists have been giving more details of the immediate tasks ahead for its Mars rover Curiosity.

The robot has now been on the Red Planet for two weeks on a two-year quest to try to determine whether or not Mars could have ever sustained microbial life.

It is now ready to start taking a closer look at Martian rocks and will shortly begin a journey that will take it to the base of Mount Sharp. Made up of sedimentary rock that rises up 5km from the floor of Gale Crater, it is higher than the tallest mountain in the US.

But first a small stone just to the right of the vehicle has been selected as a test for its ChemCam laser. A brief burst of light will vapourize the rock, revealing details of its basic chemical composition.