SHERLOC

The Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals has a nickname: SHERLOC. Mounted on the rover's robotic arm, SHERLOC uses spectrometers, a laser and a camera to search for organics and minerals that have been altered by watery environments and may be signs of past microbial life.

Tech Specs

Main Job Fine-scale detection of minerals, organic molecules and potential biosignatures
Location Mounted on the turret at the end of the robotic arm
Mass

Turret:
6.86 pounds
(3.11 kilograms)

Body:
3.55 pounds
(1.61 kilograms) body

Power

Turret:
32.2 watts

Body:
16.6 watts

Volume

10.2 by 7.8 by 2.6 inches
(26.0 by 20.0 by 6.7 centimeters)

Data Return 79.7 Mbits (raw)
Spatial Resolution

Context imager:
30 micrometers

Laser:
50 micrometers

Field of View

Imaging:
0.9 to 0.5 inches
(2.3 by 1.5 centimeters)

Spectroscopy:
7 by 7 millimeters
(0.275 inch)

"Key, driving questions are whether Mars is or was ever inhabited, and if not, why not? The SHERLOC investigation will advance the understanding of Martian geologic history and identify its past biologic potential."
- Luther Beegle, Principal Investigator

5 Things to Know

1

SHERLOC Works All Shifts
SHERLOC operates day or night.

1

SHERLOC: No Touch Required
The Mars 2020 Rover places SHERLOC about two inches above its target to gather data. That way, it is close, but doesn't contaminate the scene of the investigation.

1

SHERLOC Has an Eye for Detail
SHERLOC has a magnifying glass just like the fictional detective to see fine detail.

1

SHERLOC Collects Clues
SHERLOC uses ultraviolet laser light to spot organic chemicals in much the same way modern crime scene investigators look for forensic clues.

1

SHERLOC Tests Spacesuits
SHERLOC carries small pieces of spacesuit material. It targets them to test its accuracy and to see how they hold up in the harsh Martian environment.

The Story Behind the Name

Sherlock Holmes was a fictional detective who solved crimes. He used forensic methods. These include scientific observation and powers of logical reasoning. SHERLOC observes and measures too. It will look for possible evidence of past life on Mars - if any microbes ever existed.

Dr. John H. Watson was Holmes' partner in solving mysteries. WATSON the camera assists SHERLOC as it helps solve mysteries about life on Mars.

With its camera sidekick WATSON, SHERLOC even has a modern version of the hand-lens magnifying glass used by the classic British detective!