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

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ChemCam mosaic

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • To Dip a Toe or Not To Dip a Toe…
    on 25 January 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Today's title image shows how diverse the area is that Curiosity is currently travelling through, with a part of a wheel for scale. A close look such as this one reveals […]

JPL Mars news

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • To Dip a Toe or Not To Dip a Toe…
    on 25 January 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Today's title image shows how diverse the area is that Curiosity is currently travelling through, with a part of a wheel for scale. A close look such as this one reveals all the different textures of rock surfaces, sets of ripples, some big rocks and small pieces of rock accumulated in patches. […]

  • Sols 3010-3012: Bonjour, Nontron (Mars)
    on 25 January 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Curiosity is continuing to make her way through the fractured intermediate unit toward the sulfate unit. After an 80-meter drive in our last plan, Curiosity has officially crossed into the new quadrant "Nontron" and parked with this amazing view (see image). And after more than 1000 sols visiting […]

  • Sols 3003-3006: On the Road Again
    on 19 January 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    We began planning today with the good news that we received some of the previously expected data and could plan "targeted" observations on specific targets identified in the new images. One catch was that higher-resolution workspace images, a pre-requisite to using the rover arm's Dust Removal Tool […]

  • Sols 3001-3002: Hold Up!
    on 13 January 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    After each time Curiosity finishes a drive, the science team eagerly awaits the downlink of what is termed "post-drive imaging," or PDI, to visualize our surroundings and to target areas of the surface for investigation. Sometimes, the expected PDI downlink is delayed, which can happen for a […]

  • Sols 2999-3000: 3000 Sols of Exploration!
    on 12 January 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Three thousand sols and never a dull moment! Today we planned Sols 2999-3000 and it was a real reminder of how complex and rewarding this mission can be. Curiosity has recently completed an investigation of the "Sands of Forvie" ripple field and we are working our way back to the path that we plan […]

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.