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Aerospace and Defense Channel / Industry News

Linear Technology devices power Mars Curiosity rover

August 17, 2012
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Linear Technology Corp., a leading supplier of high performance analog integrated circuits, announced that its products are playing a key role in the Mars rover launched by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).  Linear Technology’s high performance analog semiconductors are used in the Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity) rover to enable collection of vast amounts of data, including detailed visual images of the Martian landscape and precise readings to assist scientists in assessing the geology and history of Mars. NASA stated that the goal of the mission is to help determine whether Mars ever had conditions favorable for supporting life and whether life could have existed on the red planet.

The Linear Technology devices were selected for the Mars program based on their performance, precision and reliability, as well as their ability to survive the harsh environment in flight and on the Martian surface.  Linear Technology products are used in the Mars Curiosity rover and in the spacecraft that delivered it to Mars. These include power switching regulators to deliver power to the rover instruments, analog to digital converters for camera motion control to allow the rovers to “see” the Martian landscape and digitize the images for their long journey back to earth, and operational amplifiers to amplify signals to precise levels for accurate delivery of data on the composition of the red planet.

“We are proud to continue our 20-year partnership with the NASA Space program with the current Mars mission,” stated Lothar Maier, CEO of Linear Technology. “With over 200 Linear Technology devices in the current Mars expedition, we continue to provide analog products with the highest performance and reliability, whatever the operating conditions or application. As the breathtaking images and valuable data come back from Mars, we are honored to contribute to this historic effort.”

In addition to the numerous Linear Technology devices in the current Mars Curiosity rover, Linear products were part of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which landed on Mars in 2004, as well as Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Pathfinder, Cassini, Deep Space 1, and Mars Odyssey. Linear Technology provides NASA/JPL with analog integrated circuits that demonstrate the highest performance, precision, and reliability in extremely small packages.  Linear products were delivered in radiation hardened versions.

Linear Technology’s expertise in high precision analog circuits provides enabling technology for the sophisticated scientific instruments and communications systems in the Mars rover and spacecraft. In addition to use in scientific instrumentation and space-level programs, Linear’s products have applications in communications, networking, industrial, automotive, computer and medical products.

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