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With Curiosity’s Recent Landing on Mars, Marlow Technology Provides Detector Temperature Control on Curiosity’s ChemCam; Maintaining Precision Performance in Rugged Conditions During Planetary Explorations


Dallas, TX, October 16, 2012 – With the successful landing of NASA’s Curiosity Rover, Marlow Industries celebrates the successful performance of its Thermoelectric Assembly (TEA) on Mars. Marlow Industries, a subsidiary of II-VI Incorporated, is a global leader in thermoelectric solutions and has a long history of successfully providing hardware for Defense and Aerospace industries since 1973. This new TEA adds to the list of Marlow’s other historic installations in space on the Hubble Space Telescope, the International and MIR Space Stations, CHANDRA X-Ray Observatory, commercial star trackers, NASA Space Shuttle, the European Space Agency, and numerous other applications.

Marlow’s custom design contains 3 Thermoelectric Modules (TEMs) to cool each of the three spectrometer detectors on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity’s ChemCam. The ChemCam, produced by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in collaboration with the French Space Agency CNES, analyzes large numbers of rock and soil samples as the rover investigates various locations during its two-year mission on Mars. It analyzes the elemental composition of vaporized materials and provides detail about minerals and microstructures. Marlow’s TEMs precisely control the temperature of the spectrometer Charged Couple Devices to maintain the desired thermal performance during day time operations in the Martian atmosphere.

Marlow’s custom TEA design met the Rover’s power and performance requirements and fit into the tight working area of the ChemCam’s body unit. Its solid state design with no moving parts allows it to sustain high vacuum conditions during the cruise to Mars and offers high resistance to the vibration, shock, and accelerations of launch, landing, and travel on the planet. Marlow is known in the defense industry for producing thermoelectric modules and assemblies with high reliability when used in rugged, remote, and space environments. Marlow also distinguishes itself through its TEA/TEM Space Qualification Process, so defense, space, and photonics customers have confidence in its devices and ability to deliver successful products.

Stan Thomas, Marlow’s Senior Engineering Product Manager says, “At Marlow, we take pride in our dedication to design and build products of the highest performance and reliability. Our company policy is that for every product or service we provide, we will meet or exceed our customer’ expectations, without exception.”  

Marlow worked with long-term partner JPL on the ChemCam TEA development, for inclusion in the LANL-provided spectrometers. Thomas says “We are thrilled that our commitment to these standards enables us to be a part of such exciting projects like Curiosity. We appreciate the opportunity to play a part in a project with such enormous impact, and look forward to years of successful roving on Mars.”

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