Twin Cities Metal Supermarkets Supply Steel for Mars Rover Instruments

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Small quantities metal supplier learns their materials are on Mars

We are constantly impressed with the variety of products that are made with our raw material. It’s cool to think that something that started here ended up on Mars.

Metal Supermarkets of the Twin Cities, a small quantities metal supplier, are over the moon after learning about their recent accomplishment. Stainless steel supplied by Metal Supermarkets and manufactured by long-time client LOFTech Prototype Manufacturing built a vital instrument, which looks straight out of a sci-fi movie, called the ChemCam for NASA’s Curiosity rover. Metal Supermarkets just learned of the exciting news about the destiny of their products because the origination of the ChemCam project was a secret until now.

The ChemCam is an advanced instrument mounted on the rover’s mast used to determine the composition of rocks. Using the most powerful laser in outer space, the ChemCam fires a laser pulse at rocks up to 60 yards away. From the light given off by the laser hitting the rock, scientists use the built-in spectrometers to determine what the rock is made of. The light resulting from these blasts is recorded and analyzed by the rover, which can determine the elemental composition of samples from the atomic emission lines produced.

"It just goes to show what a small world it really is," says Doug Knepper, Metal Supermarkets of the Twin Cities Owner. "We are constantly impressed with the variety of products that are made with our raw material. It’s cool to think that something that started here ended up on Mars."

The ChemCam project is special for a few reasons. First, it is a great example of small and growing businesses working hard to accomplish stellar (better yet, Martian) results. Also, the two companies were started around the same time and have grown together on a similar trajectory. Metal Supermarkets and LOFTech have been doing business together for almost 10 years.

"It is a great working relationship. We opened our first of three Twin Cities Metal Supermarkets locations around the same time LOFTech opened its doors," says Knepper. "Both businesses have grown together. LOFTech has their niche, we have ours and we’ve been doing it since 2001."

Last week, the Curiosity rover used the ChemCam laser to zap a patch of land called the Rocknest dune to determine if frost accumulates on Mars’ surface at night. For ongoing updates of Curiosity’s mission on Mars, follow it on Twitter at

Contact Metal Supermarkets of the Twin Cities at 651-634-0600 for Roseville, 952-890-9165 for Burnsville, and 763-315-4042 for Brooklyn Park.

About Metal Supermarkets Franchising Family of Companies
The Metal Supermarkets business concept was established in 1985 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Since then, the company has grown to more than 65 franchise locations across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Metal Supermarkets is the only international brand in the small quantity metals industry. More than 60,000 customers rely on Metal Supermarkets for “one stop shopping” for all their small metal requirements and the ability to purchase what they need, when they need it.

The Metal Supermarkets brand is known for superior customer care from start to finish, and the most high-quality metal products available. Customers include manufacturing facilities, maintenance departments, tool and die makers, fabricators, machine shops, military and other government departments, hobbyists and home owners.

Metal Supermarkets is a dependable business model, a trusted international brand name and a lucrative franchise opportunity.

For more information, visit or or call 1-800-807-8755.

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Brian Hugins
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