Bruce Murray Space Image Library

Sparks from the SuperCam flight laser

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Sparks are being created 4.85 meters from the SuperCam flight laser at room temperature, which means at low energy. Developed jointly by Los Alamos with the French space agency for NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission, SuperCam combines remote chemistry capabilities and imaging with two mineralogy techniques. With these enhancements over its predecessor ChemCam (now operating on Mars Curiosity rover), SuperCam will be even more capable to study the mineralogy and to detect compounds related to the possibility of life on Mars. SuperCam is also equipped with a microphone to capture the first audio recordings from the red planet. NASA has called SuperCam a “Swiss army knife of instruments” because of its versatility. The laser is manufactured by Thales.