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

ChemCam mosaic

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • Sols 2587-2589: Curiosity De-Butte
    on 15 November 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    After the "butte-iful" location and view of sols 2585-2586, Curiosity descended back down from its perch on "Central butte" and skirted its steep side. The rover now has […]

JPL Mars news

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • Sols 2587-2589: Curiosity De-Butte
    on 15 November 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    After the "butte-iful" location and view of sols 2585-2586, Curiosity descended back down from its perch on "Central butte" and skirted its steep side. The rover now has another butte in view—"Western butte"—in the accompanying image. Little by little, Curiosity is climbing higher, […]

  • Sols 2585-2586: What a Butte!
    on 14 November 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    Curiosity is again at the "Hunda" facies, high up on Central Butte (note that this is pronounced "beaut" not "butt," unless one wishes to cause much hilarity). At this location, we're finding a lot of decimeter-scale laminations - sequences of fine layers - near to and underneath the rover. In […]

  • Sols 2583-2584: Trying Not to Slip
    on 11 November 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    Over the weekend, Curiosity drove further uphill on Central Butte to examine the complex layering that seems to be present. Today we saw this compelling workspace image from Navcam and quickly decided this location was worth a few days of investigation. However, Curiosity is on a rather steep […]

  • Sols 2581-2582: It's Soliday Time Again!
    on 9 November 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    Happy soliday weekend! Those who are regular readers of the blog will recall that every few weeks the rover planners here on Earth celebrate a soliday. The term soliday is a play on the words sol and holiday, and describes the times when our Earth-based rover operations team plans only one Mars day […]

  • Sols 2579 - 2580: Touch and Go? No!
    on 7 November 2019 at 0 h 00 min

    Our nominal plan was for a Touch and Go, which normally results in us first using the arm to place APXS and MAHLI on a target to assess the chemistry and texture, followed by typical remote science (imaging and ChemCam chemistry) before driving away. The previous drive brought us to an interesting […]

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.