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

  • Sol 2918: A Short but Sweet Day of Planning
    on 20 October 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    The science team decided to stay at the Groken drill location (as seen in the above Hazcam image) a little bit longer to let SAM have a taste of this interesting sample. […]

JPL Mars news

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • Sol 2918: A Short but Sweet Day of Planning
    on 20 October 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    The science team decided to stay at the Groken drill location (as seen in the above Hazcam image) a little bit longer to let SAM have a taste of this interesting sample. Today's one-sol plan is focused on dropping off 4 portions of the Groken sample to SAM and then conducting an evolved gas […]

  • Sol 2917: Something Old, Something New, Something Groken, Something Not-So-Blue
    on 19 October 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Over the weekend, the rover analyzed our latest drill sample, "Groken," with the CheMin instrument to look at what minerals it contained. Planning what the rover does next based on new results is often a marriage between what additional science we want to do now in trade for what new discoveries we […]

  • Sols 2914-2916: Curiosity Breaking Open the Mystery of the 'Groken' Nodules
    on 16 October 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Curiosity is mostly chilling out this weekend while we continue to investigate the latest drill hole, "Groken," and the sample we collected in this nodule-rich corner of the rock (the nodules are the dark areas in the image). In the process of drilling, Curiosity broke the rock, which can sometimes […]

  • Sols 2912-2913: Star Light, Star Bright?
    on 14 October 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Nope, that's not a red star hanging low in the sky. Right now, Mars is one of the brightest objects in the sky, outshining even Jupiter (the waning Moon and late rising Venus will make it even easier to see Mars in all her glory), due to the close timing of both the Martian opposition and […]

  • Sol 2911: Sitting on Pins and Needles, aka 'F5 – F5 – F5' in the Modern World
    on 13 October 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Yesterday, the engineers uplinked the commands that instruct Curiosity to drill the 'Groken' target. But, to borrow my fellow blogger's image of this drilling: WHO WON? Curiosity or the rock? Not that we have any reason to believe that it was the rock… However, we did learn on 'Vera Rubin Ridge' […]

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.