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 3083-3084: 'Mont Mercou,' in the Rear View
    on 8 April 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Sol 3081 will be a busy one for Curiosity. The rover is still near the transition between the 'Glasgow' member and the sulfate-bearing unit; as this is a major geologic […]

JPL Mars news

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • Sols 3083-3084: 'Mont Mercou,' in the Rear View
    on 8 April 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Sol 3081 will be a busy one for Curiosity. The rover is still near the transition between the 'Glasgow' member and the sulfate-bearing unit; as this is a major geologic transition, the science team is trying to get as much data as possible before moving away. First up, the rover is planning to do […]

  • Sols 3081-3082: Easter Drill Hunt
    on 5 April 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    The Easter holiday, which was observed yesterday in the United States, is often celebrated with traditional Easter egg hunts. On Mars, the Curiosity rover is on a hunt of her own, but instead of hunting for candy-filled eggs she's hunting for our next drill target. Recently, the rover has been […]

  • Sols 3078-3080: A Sandy Stop Near ‘Mont Mercou'
    on 2 April 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Curiosity is continuing to make her way around 'Mont Mercou' to capture as many angles as possible of the 7-meter tall sedimentary outcrop. Today the rover stopped at a patch of sand (shown in the image above), so the science team divided our focus between the sand at our feet and the outcrop […]

  • Sols 3076-3077: Dancing Around 'Mont Mercou'
    on 31 March 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    Curiosity is continuing her investigation of 'Mont Mercou,' the tall outcrop of bedded sedimentary rock seen in the attached image. The science team has been navigating around the base of the cliff after having successfully drilled into the 'Nontron' bedrock target last week. By imaging the cliff […]

  • Sols 3074-3075: Forecasting High Chance of Clouds at 'Mont Mercou!'
    on 29 March 2021 at 0 h 00 min

    We are finishing up at the 'Nontron' drill locale and moving onto the next stage of investigating the beautiful 'Mont Mercou' outcrop. We continue our usual cadence of looking at compositions and textures today, using both MAHLI and APXS to investigate the bedrock target "Bara Bahau." Before moving […]

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.