Javier Laserna delivered the Plenary Lecture “Chemical analysis in planetary exploration. The instrument suite of the NASA´s MARS 2020 mission Perseverance rover” in the 24th ISRANALYTICA Conference – Tel Aviv (Israel) January 2023

Chemical analysis in planetary exploration. The instrument suite of the NASA’s MARS 2020 mission Perseverance rover

Javier Laserna
Departartment of Analytical Chemistry, University of Málaga, Málaga, Spain


Spacecrafts equipped with pioneering spectroscopic techniques have been used since the beginning of planetary exploration. Due to the broad number of possible scenarios, a large number of sensing principles, initially developed for laboratory use, had to be adapted not only to the extreme conditions of space, also to the autonomous operation by robotic systems in rovers or landers of largely differing operating characteristics.

Determination of composition of rocks and soils in Mars is central to one of the prime objectives of the NASA MARS 2020 mission  –  identify past environments capable of supporting microbial life. Context and fine-scale mineralogy, detailed imaging and characterization and detection of elements and organic constituents are the main focus of the ongoing campaign in Mars.

This talk will present an overview of the instrumental techniques on board the Perseverance rover, with emphasis on the SuperCam instrument. Measurement principles and characteristics of the instruments will be presented with a discussion of their capabilities.



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