Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

First health checks of SuperCam on Mars

MEDIA ADVISORY: News conference
March 9, 2021
SuperCam sits on the top of the mast of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on the surface of Mars on Feb. 18, 2021

SuperCam sits on the top of the mast of NASA’s Perseverance rover, which landed on the surface of Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. At a news conference on March 10, scientists and engineers will report on the first data from the instrument. CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech


MEDIA ADVISORY: News conference

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., March 9, 2021—Los Alamos National Laboratory and France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) will hold an online press conference on Wednesday, March 10, to assess the health of SuperCam, the rock-zapping laser that was developed under the auspices of the two institutions and is now on board the NASA Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 9 a.m. Pacific/10 a.m. Mountain/12 noon Eastern (briefing in English)


WHO: Jean-Yves Le Gall, CNES President; Roger Wiens, Los Alamos National Laboratory SuperCam Principal Investigator; Ann Ollila, Los Alamos National Laboratory Scientist; Naomi Murdoch, ISAE-SUPAERO Professor; Scott Robinson, Los Alamos National Laboratory SuperCam Instrument Manager; and Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate

Located at the top of the mast of the Perseverance rover, SuperCam is currently undergoing a series of tests designed to verify the operating status of all of its systems. SuperCam’s tests are part of an overall rover check-out phase which will last about three months.

Hailed by NASA as a “Swiss Army Knife” of instruments, SuperCam brings together five ambitious remote techniques intended to study the geology of Mars and help in the selection of samples to be collected by the mission.

About CNES

CNES is the French Space Agency, a governmental organization founded in 1961. As program-focused agency and center of technical expertise, CNES is responsible for shaping and implementing France’s space policy within the framework of international cooperation, particularly within Europe. CNES is a major source of proposals which aims at maintaining and developing France and Europe’s competitiveness and ensuring that they remain key players in the space domain.


About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is managed by Triad, a public service oriented, national security science organization equally owned by its three founding members: Battelle Memorial Institute (Battelle), the Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), and the Regents of the University of California (UC) for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.