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ICT Spring - 2022

SuperCam sends first data from Mars to Toulouse

That’s how the wind sounds like on Mars. Illustration: nasa.gov

Luxembourg, 11 March 2021. – The “faint sounds of Martian wind”: the first data from the SuperCam instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover have arrived on Earth.

The instrument delivered data to the French Space Agency’s operations center in Toulouse that includes the first audio of laser zaps on another planet, NASA said.

SuperCam was developed jointly by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and a consortium of French research laboratories under the auspices of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES).

“It is amazing to see SuperCam working so well on Mars,” said Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for Perseverance’s SuperCam instrument from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. “When we first dreamed up this instrument eight years ago, we worried that we were being way too ambitious. Now it is up there working like a charm.”

SuperCam’s sensor head which weighs 5.6 Kg can perform five types of analyses to study Mars’ geology and help scientists choose which rocks the rover should sample in its search for signs of ancient microbial life, the U.S. space agency says.

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