Axis 3: In-situ space exploration by tele-observation

The laboratory LISA, often within a consortium of the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace (IPSL) but also with other partners, has long contributed to the development and operation of instruments for the exploration of different bodies in the solar system, with the purpose of finding in these environments molecular structures. These programs are funded by the French Space Agency (CNES).

As an illustration we present the contribution of LISA to the SAM experiment of the MSL 2011 NASA mission. This experience is onboard a real analytical laboratory of 40 kilograms, inside a rover who is travelling across the surface of Mars for a duration of at least 2 years. The French contribution consists on the delivery of a autonomous gas chromatograph, able to identify the organic molecules present in Mars’s soil. This development began in 2004, for a departure to Mars in 2011 (arrival in august 2012).

View of rover "Curiosity" of the MSL mission (left) and view of the SAM experiment in an integration room.

Other current space explorations :

- Cassini-Huygens mission (in progress, Saturn’s system)

- Mission Rosetta (en route to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko)

- Mission Phobos-Grunt (probe lost early 2012)

- Mission Pasteur/ExoMars (in preparation, Mars)