Earth spacecraft on Mars fires its laser for the first time.

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.