An automotive blog claims that

There actually seems to be another Martian meteorite being sent to Mars, as part of the SuperCam calibration target. Shouldn’t we be keeping all the Mars rocks we have on Earth? Send some Earth gravel there if you really want a rock, but I’d think Mars bits are worth keeping here?

The system description of SuperCam mentions no material of Martian origin. Does SuperCam nevertheless have some? If so, what's so special about that compared to the rest of Mars?


The meteorite is part of the SuperCam Calibration Target (SCCT) on Perseverance.

From the paper "SuperCam Calibration Targets: Design and Development":

As a nod to the notion of return samples that this mission prefigures, and for outreach purposes, we have installed a ∼11×9×1.25 mm slab from a Martian meteorite (ref. North West Africa, NWA 10170) in the mounting bracket of the RMI geometric target (Fig. 3m detail A). This Martian meteorite is mounted in a no-laser region of the holder (per SuperCam flight rules) and is not intended for LIBS or Raman analyses, but could be interrogated by the IR spectrometer.

This meteorite was found near the Moroccan-Algerian border and was purchased by L. Labenne at the Tucson salon from an anonymous dealer (Fig. 4) for the Toulouse Science Museum. The meteorite was then carried by the French astronaut T. Pesquet to the International Space Station, during his stay from November 2016 to June 2017 (Fig. 4, right). After his return, the meteorite was cut to be implemented in the SCCT. Once it lands on Mars, the meteorite will have passed through the Martian atmosphere twice and Earth’s four times.

Another paper also mentions its purpose as a practice target:

An additional element (MM), consists on a martian meteorite that serves as practice target, and in fact as an “inverse sample return”.

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Image from this open access paper: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11214-020-00777-5#Aff1

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    $\begingroup$ About the meteorite's owner: "And though it is technically a loan, [he] does not think the museum is expecting to get the meteorite back." :-) $\endgroup$ – Camille Goudeseune Jan 13 at 20:53

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