Hello. My name is Franck Poitrasson. I spent part of the year living in Brazil and part of the year living in Toulouse, France. My role on the ChemCam team is both a geochemist and mineralogist. I participated 10 years ago in the initial definition of the instrument on the French side and will participate in the mineralogical and geochemical interpretation of the data returned by the rover when on Mars. When not working on ChemCam, I am working on the geochemistry of terrestrial large rivers, like the Amazon in South America (see my picture).
When I was younger, I was interested in natural sciences (planets included) and archeology. My interest in Mars was sparked by my readings of the Red Planet and then by subsequent discussions with Sylvestre Maurice! My previous research on meteorites that are thought to come from Mars have helped prepare me for work on ChemCam. Studying Mars is important because it can give us an alternative view of solar system evolution and therefore tell us more about the Earth’s early history.