Instrumentation and Lab Equipment / Refractories

On the Cutting Edge: Ceramic Insulation Helps Provide A Happy Anniversary on Mars

Rath provides an insulated environment for the Mars rover Curiosity to perform analytical and processing evaluations.

December 2, 2013
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+

The Mars rover “Curiosity” has been working hard on the Red Planet, analyzing rocks, soil and atmosphere for signs of life for over a year. Rath, a manufacturer of high-temperature ceramic insulation for thermal processing and analytical equipment, has been there for every mile. The company provides insulation for the instruments, including a mass spectrometer and a gas chromatograph.

Rath, Mars rover Curiosity

Curiosity’s mission is to search for evidence that life could have existed on Mars. The rover is a six-wheeled robot packed with instruments for thermal processing and evaluation of Martian samples for elements and the elemental building blocks of life. It has been exploring the Gale Crater on Mars, which was thought to have once hosted flowing water, as well as gathering data to determine if the environment was once habitable. Gale is a 95.7-mile-diameter impact crater with a 3.1-mile-tall mountain of sediment in its center. The crater stack is almost three times taller than the Grand Canyon is deep.

Data from orbiting spacecraft indicates that the crater stack is comprised of a diverse mix of rocks and minerals, with clay minerals near the bottom. The target area for Curiosity has been part of an alluvial fan, a formation of debris left by a river that once flowed into the crater. Since clay minerals form in the presence of water, the area is a good place for Curiosity to look for remnants of organics. After one year of exploration, Curiosity has proven that Mars had favorable conditions for microbial life billions of years ago.

Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars group of laboratory instruments includes a mass spectrometer, tunable laser spectrometer and gas chromatograph. Rath provides precision machined high-temperature ceramic insulation components used in thermal processing analytical equipment. This equipment is also detailing the past Martian atmosphere. Two papers recently released by NASA detail that Mars lost its original atmosphere and exposed clues as to why and how it dissipated.

Curiosity is now on a five-mile, year-long journey toward a layered mound, Mount Sharp. Mount Sharp is a three-mile-tall mound of exposed layers that may hold more clues to Mars’ history. Curiosity’s predecessor, Opportunity, has been roaming the opposite side of Mars for over 10 years. It is hoped that Curiosity will be roaming for as long or longer, and Rath’s insulation will provide  an insulated environment to perform precise analysis across the harsh Martian planet for years to come.


 For additional information, phone (302) 294-4446, fax (302) 294-4451, email info@rath-usa.com, or visit www.rath-usa.com.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Ceramic Industry Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

September 2014 Issue Highlights

Our September 2014 issue is now available!

Posted: December 15, 2014

Podcasts

Manufacturing Day 2014

Manufacturing Day organizers share their insights with Managing Editor Kelsey Seidler.

More Podcasts

Ceramic Industry Magazine

CI December 2014 cover

2014 December

Be sure to check out our annual Services Directory and Business Guide, with additional articles on advanced glass components, ceramic grinding media, and more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Personal Smartphones

Do you use your personal smartphone or other device to complete tasks for your job?
View Results Poll Archive

THE CERAMIC INDUSTRY STORE

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Ceramics Industry\handbook of advanced ceramics.gif
Handbook of Advanced Ceramics Machining

Ceramics, with their unique properties and diverse applications, hold the potential to revolutionize many industries, including automotive and semiconductors.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40google+ icon 40px

Directories

CI Data Book July 2012

Ceramic Industry's Directories including Components, Equipment Digest, Services, Data Book & Buyers Guide, Materials Handbook and much more!