Jérémie Lasue (IRAP)
Thursday March 30th - 11am
IPAG Seminar Room - IPAG
Since its landing in August 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover has just completed two full martian years (approximately 4 terrestrial years) of exploring Gale Crater on the surface of Mars. As of October 2014, the rover started its goal to study layered sediments in the central mound of the crater. Before that, the mission drove and studied several areas on its way to the central Mound. Along the way, the rover observed evidence for past liquid water at the surface in the form of aqueously-altered minerals and sedimentary rock types indicative of transport in flowing water. In making these discoveries, the mission has already accomplished its overarching goal of finding evidence for past habitable environments on Mars.
This talk will present highlights from the exploration, with particular emphasis on a tactical instrument on the rover called the ChemCam (Chemistry Camera) instrument. The result of collaboration between France and the United States, ChemCam includes an integrated remote Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) and Remote Micro-Imager (RMI). The LIBS technique determines the elemental composition of a sample from the spectra emitted by a plasma of materials ablated by a high energy laser focused beam. The RMI is integrated into the telescope from which high resolution geological context images are recorded.
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