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 2887-2889: OK CheMin, Now It's Your Turn!
    on 18 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    We've been talking a lot about SAM analyses of the "Mary Anning 3" sample, but in today's 3-sol weekend plan, it's CheMin's turn to shine. The weekend plan is focused […]

JPL Mars news

  • My Culture, My Voice
    on 16 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, Christina Hernandez, an instrument engineer on the Mars 2020 mission, talks about her childhood and journey to NASA.

  • NASA Readies Perseverance Mars Rover's Earthly Twin
    on 4 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Did you know NASA's next Mars rover has a nearly identical sibling on Earth for testing? Even better, it's about to roll for the first time through a replica Martian landscape.

  • NASA Engineers Checking InSight's Weather Sensors
    on 24 August 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    An electronics issue is suspected to be preventing the sensors from sharing their data about Mars weather with the spacecraft.

Curiosity Mission Updates

  • Sols 2887-2889: OK CheMin, Now It's Your Turn!
    on 18 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    We've been talking a lot about SAM analyses of the "Mary Anning 3" sample, but in today's 3-sol weekend plan, it's CheMin's turn to shine. The weekend plan is focused on dropping off part of the "Mary Anning 3" sample to CheMin and analyzing what minerals are present. The plan also includes […]

  • Sols 2885-2886: Once More With MTBSTFA
    on 16 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Based on the initial results from the SAM wet chemistry experiment from last week, the SAM team elected to complement it with a second wet chemistry experiment on the "Mary Anning 3" drill sample in today's plan. The first experiment was run with the reagent tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH), […]

  • Sol 2884: Waiting... but Not Idling!
    on 15 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    We are busy beginning our analysis of data from the SAM TMAH experiment (see blog post 2880-2882) - the first of its kind on Mars! However, we are also keeping Curiosity busy. Although contact science using MAHLI and APXS is precluded at this stage in the drill campaign (while samples are in the […]

  • Sol 2883: Still Taking in the Surroundings
    on 14 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    As the SAM team pores over their data from last week's wet chemistry experiment on the 'Mary Anning 3" sample, the rest of the team continued the comprehensive survey of the chemistry and mineralogy of our home since Sol 2829. We will revisit the mellifluously-named "Le Ceasnachadh," pictured […]

  • Sols 2880-2882: MSL's SAM TMAH A-Okay!
    on 11 September 2020 at 0 h 00 min

    Our SAM TMAH experiment was successful! For those who don't speak fluent rover team alphabet soup, as we described the other day, the SAM TMAH experiment is a long-awaited measurement by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which uses a special chemical called tetramethylammonium hydroxide […]

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.