NASA’s latest Mars Rover enabled by radiation-hardened technology

11-08-2020 | Renesas | Semiconductors

Renesas Electronics Corporation has announced that more than 20 of its rad-hard ICs were onboard the July 30 lift off of NASA's Mars 2020 Perseverance rover. A ULA Atlas V rocket, with the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity Mars Helicopter onboard, launched from Florida.

While on the Red Planet, the rover will flight test the helicopter, searching for signs of ancient life, and collect rock and sediment specimens to send back to Earth.

The company’s Intersil rad-hard ICs are deployed throughout the rover and its seven instruments. The ICs support subsystems for mission-critical applications in power management and distribution, precision data handling and processing, inertial measurement unit, and navigation and flight entry, descent, and landing control. A broad range of its rad-hard solutions is employed including voltage regulators and references, synchronous buck and LDO regulators, MOSFET drivers, 16-channel multiplexer, PWM controllers, 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 energised a new generation of engineers, scientists and astronauts,” said Philip Chesley, vice president, Industrial and Communications Business Division at Renesas. “Renesas is proud and honoured to be a part of the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission that will pave the way for future human missions to the Moon and Mars.”

By Natasha Shek