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Nicolas Mangold

Hello, my name is Nicolas Mangold from Nantes, France and I am a geologist/Martian scientist on the ChemCam team. As a member of the team, I will analyze ChemCam data to link the chemistry of the rocks to the geology of the landing site, as seen through the eyes of cameras, in order to better understand if Mars had a warmer climate in the past. I've done field geology in Iceland, where rocks are predominantly volcanic, as on Mars, to improve my knowledge in such a context. In my free time I like biking, gardening, reading (Sci-Fi books especially) and watching basketball games.

By the time I was a teenager I was already involved in amateur astronomy and wanted to do it as my job. For my 12th birthday, I received the book "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, in which the chapter "Blues for the Red Planet" still sings in my mind. A year later I met the French astronaut Patrick Baudry, who flew on the space shuttle Discovery in 1984. My interest in Mars was sparked by the huge variety of landforms Mars displays, sometimes so similar to Earth.

Mars is the one planet in our solar system that recorded the first stages of the solar system in its atmosphere and liquid water at the surface. This was a long time ago, more than 3.5 billion years ago, at a time when life on Earth was just emerging in a way we do not still understand. Mars can help us improve our knowledge of how life began. I think the discovery of carbon in Martian rocks would be fantastic. Carbon is the key element for life. Such a finding will stop the rover in its tracks to get detailed analysis of the rock to find out if the carbon is contained in organics.

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