Power tech in the Perseverance Mars rover

July 29, 2020 //By Nick Flaherty
Power design is critical in the Perseverance Mars rover
Power design is critical in the latest Mars rover which is expected to last at least one Mars year, about 687 days on Earth.

The Perseverance Mars rover has launched with a range of innovative power technologies.

IR HiRel, an Infineon Technologies company, is supplying rad hard power devices for various instruments on Perseverance. It also supplied the Opportunity and Spirit rovers in 2004, and Curiosity in 2012.

“IR HiRel has been privileged to supply high-reliability power conversion solutions in space programs over the decades,” said Eric Toulouse, Vice-President and General Manager of IR HiRel. “The Mars Perseverance launch marks another important milestone in space exploration, and we are honored to have our semiconductor technologies used to power up this spacecraft.”

The flight computer, motor control, radar and mission instrument suite all integrate rad hard MOSFETs, ICs and other power control products.

Specific rover instruments that contain IR HiRel semiconductors include the Mastcam-Z, a mast-mounted HD imaging camera system with panoramic, stereoscopic and zoom capabilities as well as SuperCam, which combines a camera, laser and spectrometers searching for organic compounds potentially related to past life on Mars.

All the energy needed to operate the sensors and instruments the Perseverance MARS rover is provided by a power system called a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) developed by Teledyne Energy Systems in Maryland, US.

Renesas’ Intersil rad-hard ICs are also used throughout the rover and its seven instruments. They support subsystems for mission critical applications in power management and distribution, inertial measurement unit, precision data handling and processing, and navigation and flight entry, descent, and landing control. A wide range of Intersil rad-hard solutions are used including voltage regulators and references, synchronous buck and LDO regulators, PWM controllers, MOSFET drivers, 16-channel multiplexer, SPST switch, RS-422 line transmitters and receivers, and microprocessor supervisory circuits.

“Our innovative Intersil brand rad-hard-ICs continue to play a key role in NASA JPL’s ongoing Mars exploration missions, which has energized a new generation of engineers, scientists and astronauts,”  said Philip Chesley, Vice President, Industrial and Communications Business Division at Renesas

Thermal management material developer Kulr Technology is also

Picture: 
The Perseverance Mars rover

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