June 25, 2020


Supercam instrument on Mars 2020 Rover


SUPERCAM is a suite of 5 instruments



Raman/Fluorescence spectrometer: Provides Raman and fluorescence spectra after illumination by a laser beam from up to 12 metres for most minerals. It will clearly detect organic particles detection and precisely identify minerals.

Laser-induced breakdown spectrometer (LIBS): By analysing the flash of light from the plasma produced by a laser beam, the ultraviolet spectrometer gives the elemental composition of rocks from a distance of up to 7 metres. LIBS also clears dust from the surface of rocks for the other investigations.

Visible and infrared spectrometer: Combines reflectance spectroscopy in the visible and infrared (VISIR, 400-900 nm) and in the near-infrared (NIR, 1.3-2.6 µm). It has several modes and can identify rocks from a distance of up to 10 kilometres.

Colour remote micro-imager (RMI): Offers fine-scale remote imaging to infinity, providing texture and morphological context for the chemical, biological and mineral measurements.

Microphone: Records the ‘popping’ sound of impacts of the LIBS laser on rocks up to 4 metres away, which changes subtly according to their material properties, for example their hardness and porosity.

The planned operating sequence is:

  • First laser shot to clear the dust for other investigations
  • LIBS (recording with microphone)
  • Raman spectrometry
  • Passive infrared spectrometry
  • Colour imaging for context

SuperCam’s remote detection capability varies for each instrument: