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Mars Science Laboratory 
Artist concept of CURIOSITY rover on Mars
Credits NASA/JPL
CHARACTERISTICS 
MSL is a mission of NASA's Mars Exploration Program
One of the main objectives of MSL is to determine if Mars planet has been, is or can be habitable.
Instruments:
APXS, CHEMCAM, CHEMIN, DAN, MAHLI, MARDI, MASTCAM, RAD, REMS, SAM
Lifetime: one martian year (687 Earth days)

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The project main steps

Timeline

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a mission of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, long term effort of the red planet exploration by robots. Curiosity is a rover (exploration vehicule) designed to assess if Mars has been, or is still, an habitable environment.
 

Its main objectives are thus to:

    determine whether life ever arose on Mars,
    characterize the climate of Mars,
    characterize the geology of Mars,
    prepare for human exploration.

To fulfil this mission, a rover, Curiosity, equiped of scientific instruments landed on Mars. The instruments chosen after an international call to tender are:

    2 instruments with European Principal Investigators (Germany and Spain),
    1 instrument with a Russian Principal Investigator,
    7 instruments with American Principal Investigators, of which 2 instruments have French Co-Principal Investigators.

The French contributions to MSL instruments concern:

    CHEMCAM (CHEMistry CAMera) instrument that will analyze by spectrometry a plasma light emitted after a laser shot (from a distance of 1 to 9 m) by martian rocks. IRAP (ex-CESR) will supply the sub-system set up on the rover mast (CHEMCAM-MU: Mast Unit) constituted of a laser, a telescope, a camera and the associated electronics.

    SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) instrumental suite that will perform mineral and atmospheric analyzes to detect a wide range of organic components coming from the atmosphere and the ground, from rocks constitutional gases, and search for carbon and other detected atoms isotopes, as well as noble gas isotopes. The LATMOS (ex-Service d'Aéronomie) will supply one of SAM suite three instruments: the Gas Chromatograph (SAM-GC).

CNES insures, for all national partners (laboratories), the prime contractorship for the French instrument contributions to MSL.


Latest update 20/02/2014
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NEWS
12/2013
Curious Results from Mars
 
14/11/2013
ChemCam topped 100,000 zaps on Mars
 
27/09/2013
Curiosity identifies the nature of the hydratation of the Martian soil
 
06/08/2013
Curiosity celebrates one year on Mars
 
08/04/2013
Remaining Martian Atmosphere Still Dynamic
 
01/2013
Gypsum identified on Mars by ChemCam
 
11/2012
MSL mission, good news from the instrument SAM
 
10/2012
The first rock analysed by ChemCam unusual on Mars
 
20/08/2012
ChemCam fired its laser on a Martian rock for the first time
 
Follow news about Curiosity on Nasa website
Schedule  
New version of the presentation about Mars exploration and MSL mission
(for PC and Mac)
Présentation exploration de Mars et mission MSL
downloadable here
(beware, file size 940 Mb)