Geology on Mars: Overview of the LIBS Results

Apr 19, 2023
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About This Webinar
Humans cannot easily access Mars to explore its history. Due to this, several rover missions have been sent to Mars to study the geology and climate of the planet today and in its past as well as to determine whether life ever existed there. Instruments that characterize the composition and mineralogy of rocks were implemented onboard rovers. Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) was selected twice for the mission and is currently onboard the Curiosity rover that landed in 2012 in Gale crater and the Perseverance Rover that landed in 2020 in Jezero crater. Its rapidity, the absence of any sample preparation, and its capacity to analyze outcrops at distance make LIBS a powerful tool to analyze the composition of major, minor, and trace elements of rocks and soils at distance at a spatial resolution of several hundred of microns.

From identifying unexpected magmatic and sedimentary rocks to constraining magmatic processes within Gale and Jezero craters and enlightening the evolution of Mars’ environment from wet to dry with pulses of water circulation, the synergy of LIBS with onboard instruments have led to major geological discoveries.

*** This presentation premiered during the 2023 Photonics Spectra Spectroscopy Conference. For more information on Photonics Media conferences, visit

About the presenter

Valerie Payr√©Valerie Payré, Ph.D., received her bachelor’s degree in geosciences and her master’s degree in geochemistry from the Ecole Normale Supérieure and University of Paris, France in 2012 and 2014 respectively. She pursued a doctoral degree at the University of Lorraine, France where she graduated in 2017. She was a postdoctoral research scholar at Rice University, Houston, TX from 2018 to 2020 and at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ between 2020 and 2022.

Payré started as an assistant professor at the University of Iowa in August 2022. Her research focuses on constraining the evolution of planetary crust and interiors with an emphasis on Mars. The objective is to understand how diverse magmatic processes were through space and time using a multidisciplinary approach, including rover measurements such as LIBS, orbital observations such as near- and mid-infrared spectroscopy, thermodynamical modeling, and experimental petrology.
spectroscopyLIBSlaser induced breakdown spectroscopyMarsgeology
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