My name is Jeremie Lasue and I live in Los Alamos, NM, USA. My role on ChemCam is to identify rock types and determine their composition, for example I determine if the rocks are volcanic or sedimentary in origin. Most important, I determine if the rocks have been altered by water. I spend most of my free time with my infant daughter and my wife. Every day is more wonderful thanks to them. We enjoy the amazing landscapes of New Mexico surrounding Los Alamos.
I have worked on a number of space projects. I first worked on the development of a European microgravity facility that will study the initial stages of planetary formation. I am also involved in the preparation of the Rosetta space mission that will land and study a cometary nucleus for one year beginning in 2014.
Thanks to my father I was already highly interested in space exploration when I was in my teens. At that time, the Moon landings had already happened. The exploration of Mars was the next logical step, and I was fascinated by this peculiar world. Mars is the only planet we know that presents the conditions closest to the ones we enjoy here on Earth. It has polar caps, seasons, mountains, canyons, and it is so close to us that we have found Martian meteorites on Earth. This is the best place to search for potential extra-terrestrial life.
I think ChemCam is one of the most elegant instruments that I have ever worked on. The fact that it can analyze targets at a distance and image them will prove extremely useful to characterize the environment of the rover with minimal action on its part. It will also give a first determination of the carbon and water content of the samples, which is essential to the success of the mission. If MSL finds convincing evidence that the building blocks of life (like amino acids) exist or existed on Mars, it would be a fundamental discovery.