Los Alamos National LaboratoryCenter for Space and Earth Science
Part of the National Security Education Center

Planetary Science

High quality, cutting-edge science in the areas of astrophysics, space physics, solid planetary geoscience and Earth systems
September 9, 2019
Image of ChemCam on Mars Curiosity Rover

ChemCam is mounted on the rover's mast and uses extremely powerful pulses of laser light to vaporize pinhead-sized areas of the Martian surface from as far away as 23 feet. The tiny flashes created by these pulses are analyzed by a spectrometer to provide scientists with crucial information about the composition of Mars surface materials.

  • CSES Director
  • Reiner Friedel
  • (505) 665-1936
  • Email
  • Professional Staff Assistant
  • Sarah Balkey
  • (505) 667-8777
  • Email

Advancing planetary knowledge and remote instrumentation

Our goal is to advance knowledge of planetary bodies beyond Earth, including surface properties and processes, internal structures, atmospheres and evolution over time. We seek to advance our abilities to design, build and operate remote instruments in extreme environments.

Planetary Science utilizes data from a broad swath of platforms, including satellite, airborne, in situ and laboratory measurements. One of LANL's most visible projects is the ChemCam on the Mars Rover.