NASA’s perseverance took more than a month to land on Mars, but during this time the rover was busy testing its instrument, starting to move, and taking incredible pictures. Now, it has also started its science mission and the first data has sent back to Earth. The first results come from its incredible SuperCam, its 5-in-1 instrument kit that will persevere to explore ancient microbial life. The first measurement of the 5.6—- kilogram (12 pound) camera included observation of infrared and visible light of rocks illuminated by the sun.
It also included observations with the Raman spectrometer. The rover shot the Graz laser (you can check how it sounds here) to a rock called Máaz, which was 3.1 meters (10 feet) away. It stimulates chemical bonds in minerals and can detect by SuperCam instruments. S
SOlivier Beyssac, CNRS research director at the Institut de Minéralogie, de Physique des Matériaux ET de Cosmochimie in Paris, said in a statement, “This is the first time a device has been used anywhere other than Raman Earth!
“Raman spectroscopy continues to play an important role in identifying minerals, under which geological conditions they can gain deeper insights and identify potential biological and mineral molecules that are formed by living organisms.” The Super Cam Camera is a joint product of a team of French research laboratories under the supervision of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Center National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in New Mexico and is now operating on different planets. “It’s amazing to see that the SuperCam works so well on Mars,” said Roger Wins, chief investigator of the SuperCam instrument at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
“When we first dreamed of this device eight years ago, we were worried that we were becoming too ambitious. It is working so hard now.” The SuperCam is not just a laser and a tool for studying rocks at a distance. The instrument also designed to identify what types of rocks and soils may detect signs of microbial life in the past, it can study the atmosphere and even predict that Mars dust could pose a threat to future human astronauts.