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An Overview of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission to Mars and the On-Board ChemCam Investigation

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Bruce
Barraclough (Applicant)

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) project is NASA’s current flagship-class mission to Mars, with the MSL Curiosity rover scheduled to land in a precisely targeted location in Gale Crater on August 5th of this year. An overview of the mission architecture, science goals and instrumentation will be presented. The ChemCam instrument, one of ten MSL science investigations, consists of a LIBS spectrometer and an imaging camera, and is the first use of the LIBS technique in space.  This remote-sensing instrument will be able to interrogate geologic samples for elemental composition at distances up to 7 meters with 0.4 mm resolution, provide high-resolution context images of the target, remotely clean dust and/or weathering rinds from sample surfaces and provide passive spectra of selected features. The ChemCam science goals will be discussed and the instrument and some landed operational scenarios will be described.

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