Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Getting to Know Our Neighbors

Humankind’s exploration of nearby planets is increasingly thorough, as our capabilities improve with technology. Los Alamos’s SuperCam instrument, a next-generation geology lab will arrive on Mars in 2020 aboard the newest rover.
October 25, 2015
Getting to Know Our Neighbors

Still in the design and prototype stages, the Mars 2020 rover will carry state-of-the-art instrumentation designed in part at Los Alamos.

Searching our planetary neighbor’s yard for signs of ancient life is part of the Mars 2020 rover’s mission.

In five years, an as-yet unnamed rover bearing top-notch remote sensors will join active rovers Opportunity and Curiosity on Mars’s dusty surface. The rovers’ key task is to look for the presence or history of water on Mars and thereby help determine the suitability of the surface for eventual human explorers. Included in the new rover’s instrument suite will be Los Alamos’s SuperCam, an upgrade to the highly successful ChemCam carried by present-day rover Curiosity. SuperCam will subject Martian surface samples to several types of spectroscopy in order to gather geological, mineralogical, and chemical information. And it’s high-resolution imager now takes pictures in color.

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