ChemCam at a glance

The ChemCam instrument is an international collaboration led by Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States and the Institut de Recherche en Astrophysique et Planetologie in France.

 

ChemCam is on the Curiosity rover, exploring Gale Crater at Mars since 2012. It is used to perform rapid chemical and microscopic reconnaissance

 

Pulsed laser vaporizes targets up to 5 meters away. The spectrum of light from the laser-induced plasma reveals the chemical composition of the targets in seconds. ChemCam can detect most elements!

 

It also provides images of targets with high-resolution (can see a human hair 2 meters away).

ChemCam slide show

  • slide show

ChemCam mosaic

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • Sols 2645-2646: A Strange Trough on Western Butte
    on 13 January 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    While descending from Western Butte, Curiosity has stopped to investigate a strange trough along the way. In the images from orbit, it looks like someone drew a thick […]

JPL Mars news

  • NASA's Mars 2020 Rover Closer to Getting Its Name
    on 13 January 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    155 students from across the U.S. have been chosen as semifinalists in NASA's essay contest to name the Mars 2020 rover, and see it launch from Cape Canaveral this July.

  • Media Get a Close-Up of NASA's Mars 2020 Rover
    on 27 December 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    The clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory was open to the media to see NASA's next Mars explorer before it leaves for Florida in preparation for a summertime launch.

  • Space History Is Made in This NASA Robot Factory
    on 23 December 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    From rockets to rovers, JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility has been at the center of robotic spaceflight. Here's a closer look at what makes it so special.

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • Sols 2645-2646: A Strange Trough on Western Butte
    on 13 January 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    While descending from Western Butte, Curiosity has stopped to investigate a strange trough along the way. In the images from orbit, it looks like someone drew a thick straight line with a dark felt marker on the southeastern side of the butte. From the ground, it looks like a shallow ditch filled […]

  • Sols 2642-2644: Contact Science at Western Butte
    on 11 January 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Curiosity is still on the shoulder of Western Butte at a location that provides a good vantage point, exposes changes in stratigraphy, and reveals some interesting float blocks in our workspace. On Wednesday (planning Sols 2640-2641) we were able to conduct contact science on a bedrock target […]

  • Sols 2640-2641: Like a Dog Under the Table…
    on 9 January 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    The Curiosity rover is still at the highest point it will reach on "Western Butte," having done a short bump to allow it to do contact science. You can check out the map of Curiosity's location here. The team would like to understand the composition, morphology, and ultimately, the origin of the […]

  • Sol 2639: SAM Is Feeling Better
    on 8 January 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Sunrise was late this morning in Earth's mid-northern latitudes, so I made a point of looking for Mars before dawn when I woke up. It was easily visible above Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius, named 'not Mars' in Greek because it is about as red and bright as the planet. Seeing that point […]

  • Sol 2638: All Too Familiar
    on 7 January 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    We found out that over the weekend the planned "bump" to get the rover in position for contact science didn't execute. That meant that when we started planning today, we were greeted with the familiar view of the workspace from last week. Although it was disappointing that we weren't able to do […]

Last 5 peer-reviewed ChemCam-related publications

(1) Thomas, N. H.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Rapin, W.; Anderson, D. E.; Rivera‐Hernández, F.; Forni, O.; Schröder, S.; Cousin, A.; Mangold, N.; et al. Mars Science Laboratory Observations of Chloride Salts in Gale Crater, Mars. Geophysical Research Letters 2019, 46 (19), 10754–10763. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082764.
(2) Rapin, W.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Dromart, G.; Schieber, J.; Thomas, N. H.; Fischer, W. W.; Fox, V. K.; Stein, N. T.; Nachon, M.; Clark, B. C.; et al. An Interval of High Salinity in Ancient Gale Crater Lake on Mars. Nat. Geosci. 2019, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41561-019-0458-8.
(3) Savijärvi, H.; McConnochie, T. H.; Harri, A.-M.; Paton, M. Water Vapor Mixing Ratios and Air Temperatures for Three Martian Years from Curiosity. Icarus 2019, 326, 170–175. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.03.020.
(4) Schröder, S.; Rammelkamp, K.; Vogt, D. S.; Gasnault, O.; Hübers, H.-W. Contribution of a Martian Atmosphere to Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) Data and Testing Its Emission Characteristics for Normalization Applications. Icarus 2019, 325, 1–15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2019.02.017.
(5) Sun, V. Z.; Stack, K. M.; Kah, L. C.; Thompson, L.; Fischer, W.; Williams, A. J.; Johnson, S. S.; Wiens, R. C.; Kronyak, R. E.; Nachon, M.; et al. Late-Stage Diagenetic Concretions in the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars. Icarus 2019, 321, 866–890. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.icarus.2018.12.030.