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War of the Worlds! The Earth invading spacecraft on Mars has fired its laser for the first time!
Forgive me the hyperbole. I have this childhood vision from that moment when I first read H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, when the Martian tripod first rose up and fired its death ray at a crowd of curious humans. And here we are, a century after Wells penned that classic science fiction novel, and humans have put a spacecraft on Mars, Curiosity, capable of firing lasers! The laser isn’t a death ray but a scientific tool, but nonetheless the ironies remain delicious.