Mars Curiosity rover’s powerful lab kit
3 August 2012 Last updated at 16:38 BST
Nasa's new Curiosity Mars rover carries the most sophisticated suite of instruments ever sent to the surface of another world.
The vehicle's mission is to search its landing site in Gale Crater for signs that the Red Planet was once habitable.
Team scientist Dawn Sumner, from the University of California, Davis, speaks to Andrew Luck-Baker, from the BBC World Service's Discovery programme, about the capabilities of some of these instruments.