The ICs were developed by IR HiRel, a subsidiary of Infineon Technologies. This is already the fifth time that power electronics from IR HiRel have been used on board a NASA Mars rover. IR HiRel components have already been used in the Sojourner of 1997, Opportunity and Spirit (2004) and Curiosity (2012).
On Thursday of this week, NASA is sending the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Rover Perseverance on its journey to Mars. The launch is scheduled for 13:50 CEST (7:50 Eastern Daylight Time), and the landing on the Red Planet is scheduled for February 2021.
Several subsystems of the Mars rover use space-qualified MOSFETs, ICs and other power semiconductors from IR HiRel, which are used in the flight computer, engine control, radar and instrument set for the mission. This ensures reliable operation in the demanding space environment.
The Rover Perseverance is equipped with a package of scientific instruments that has never before existed in this form. Thus, new technologies are tested in the harsh Martian environment and demanding research projects are carried out. The aim is to search for a habitable environment and for traces of microbacterial life that may have once existed on Mars. Among the rover instruments with semiconductors from IR-HiRel
- Mastcam-Z, a mast-mounted HD imaging camera system with panoramic, stereoscopic and zoom capabilities
- SuperCam with camera, laser and spectrometer, which detects organic compounds with possible reference to past life on Mars
- Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), the X-ray fluorescence spectroscope searches for signs of past microbial life on Mars
- -Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC), the UV spectrometer detects smallest units of minerals, organic molecules and possible biosignatures
- -Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE), which is designed to produce oxygen from the planet's atmospheric carbon dioxide.