Teen Sends Out Massive Thanks While Rover Blasts Martian Rocks

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LENEXA, Kan. — The Mars Curiosity rover used its laser for the first time to blast a Martian rock, zapping a fist-sized rock named “Coronation” on Sunday in what the agency called target practice for future experiments.

Curiosity’s “ChemCam”, which is short for Chemistry and Camera, recorded the ionized, glowing gas from the blast. Scientists hope to identify the chemical elements in the rock. It’s the first time such a powerful laser has been used on another planet.

Meanwhile, from Mars to Lenexa, Kansas, school is underway at Shawnee Mission East High School and students are trying to settle in and focus after a busy summer. One of those students is Clara Ma, the young lady who named the Mars Rover that the world now calls “Curiosity.”

Before hitting the books and blending into the crowded high school’s hallways, Clara put together a YouTube video to thank everyone for the fun and education she received in the past four years since she won the essay to name the spacecraft.

Click here for a report from FOX in Los Angeles, where a reporter and fellow essay contest winner, was especially moved by Clara’s special You Tube video.

Ma was a special guest at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., for Curiosity’s landing on Mars in early August. The spacecraft launched back in November and took more than 250 days to reach Mars.

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