|Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/IRAP/LPGNantes/CNRS/IAS|
This is not the first laser at Mars. The NASA Phoenix lander had a laser aboard, a different kind, contributed by Canada, to analyse the atmosphere. This laser, as part of meteorological station, was used to detect the first snowfall on Mars. You can get more info about the Phoenix mission here and you can see the CSA podcasts that I co-hosted here. There was also a laser orbiting Mars on the Mars Global Surveyor that mapped the topography, measuring the altitudes of the geological features of Mars.