Browse Publications Technical Papers 2009-01-2397

The CHEMCAM Instrument on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL 11): First Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Instrument in Space! 2009-01-2397

ChemCam is one of the 10 instrument suites on the Mars Science Laboratory, a martian rover being built by Jet Propulsion Laboratory, for the next NASA mission to Mars (MSL 2009).
ChemCam is an instrument package consisting of two remote sensing instruments: a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) and a Remote Micro-Imager (RMI). LIBS provides elemental compositions of rocks and soils, while the RMI places the LIBS analyses in their geomorphologic context.
Both instruments rely on an autofocus capability to precisely focus on the chosen target, located at distances from the rover comprised between 1 and 9 m for LIBS, and 2 m and infinity for RMI.
ChemCam will help determine which samples, within the vicinity of the MSL rover, are of sufficient interest to use the contact and in-situ instruments for further characterization.
It will provide valuable analyses of samples that are inaccessible to contact and in-situ instruments, and of a much larger number of samples than can be done with this kind of instruments. ChemCam also has a capability to provide passive spectroscopy data of rocks and soils on Mars.
ChemCam hardware consists of a Mast Unit (MU), provided by France, and a Body Unit (BU) built and tested in the USA. The Flight Model is currently being assembled and tested at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It will be delivered to JPL by end 2009 to be integrated on the MSL Rover. Launch is scheduled by end of 2011.
After describing the concept of ChemCam, this presentation focuses on its french part, Mast Unit. The results presented show that Mast Unit is able to generate a plasma and collect its light, over the full applicable ranges of distances and temperatures on Mars.


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