Sojourner's first analysis of a rock on Mars began on Sol 3 with the study of Barnacle Bill, a nearby rock named for its rough surface. The Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer APXS was used to determine the elements that make up the rocks and soil on Mars. A full study using the APXS takes approximately ten hours, and can measure all elements except hydrogen at any time of the Martian day or night. The APXS conducts its studies by bombarding rocks and soil samples with alpha particle radiation charged particles equivalent to the nucleus of a helium atom, consisting of two protons and two neutrons.
Source: NASA JPL