February 19, 2021


Mars 2020 is a NASA robotic exploration mission to set down a rover on the surface of the red planet to search for signs of ancient microbial life and prepare samples for retrieval and return to Earth by the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission. The mission was developed for NASA by Caltech/JPL and is carrying 7 instruments, among them SuperCam.

SuperCam is currently surveying the chemistry and mineralogy of Martian rocks and soil. The suite of instruments was developed jointly by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the IRAP astrophysics and planetology research institute in Toulouse, with a contribution from the University of Valladolid for the calibration targets. CNES is the contracting authority for the French contribution to SuperCam. CNES, the French scientific research centre CNRS and universities are providing human resources. A number of research laboratories have worked on building, qualifying and calibrating the instrument.

  • IRAP, Toulouse
  • LESIA, Meudon
  • LAB, Bordeaux
  • LATMOS, Guyancourt
  • ISAE-SUPAERO, Toulouse
  • OMP, Toulouse
  • IAS, Orsay

Other French laboratories have helped to develop the instruments’ design and, when the time comes, will be involved in surface operations on Mars:

  • IPAG and ISTerre, Grenoble
  • IMPMC, Paris
  • LPGN, Nantes
  • LGL-TPE, Lyon
  • LOMA, Bordeaux
  • GeoRessources, Nancy
  • PHASE, Toulouse


Caltech/JPLPasadena (USA)California institute of technology / Jet propulsion laboratory
CNESToulouse (Fr)Centre national d’études spatiales
GeoressourcesNancy (Fr)Geology research laboratory
IASOrsay (Fr)Space astrophysics institute
IMPMCParis (Fr)Mineralogy, materials physics and cosmochemistry institute
IPAGGrenoble (Fr)Planetology and astrophysics institute
IRAPToulouse (Fr)Astrophysics and planetology research institute
ISAE-SupaéroToulouse (Fr)Aeronautics and space institute
ISTerreGrenoble (Fr)Earth sciences institute
JPLUSAJet Propulsion Laboratory
LABBordeaux (fr)Bordeaux Astrophysics Laboratory
LANLLos Alamos (USA)Los Alamos National Laboratory
LATMOSGuyancourt (Fr)Atmospheres, environments and space observations laboratory
LESIAMeudon (Fr)Space and astrophysics instrumentation research laboratory
LGLTPELyon (Fr)Earth, planets and environment geology laboratory
LOMABordeaux (Fr)Waves and materials laboratory
LPGNNantes (FR)Planetology and geodynamics laboratory
NASAUSANational Aeronautics and Space Administration
OMPToulouse (Fr)Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées
PHASEToulouse (Fr)Applied environmental human physics laboratory