In the 2015 film The Martian, based on the novel of the same title by Andy Weir, astronaut Mark Watney struggles for survival after his team is forced to evacuate Mars due to a violent dust storm—leaving him behind after mistakenly presuming he is dead. The story highlights how a manned mission to Mars will critically depend on a reliable oxygen supply.
TAM Ceramics was founded in 1906 to create new titanium ferroalloys. Now celebrating its 110-year anniversary, the company can look back on decades of invention, investment and the development of various technologies. These innovations span from white titanium dioxide pigments to new alloys and ceramics, fused zirconia, welding fluxes, and the first building blocks of modern electronics and computers. In fact, nearly 100 patents were awarded to TAM for dielectric titanate materials over a 50-year period.
Some of the cutting-edge technological developments that are made possible by advanced ceramics are truly breathtaking. Take aerospace applications, for example. NASA is planning a mission to Mars in 2020, which will include a device designed to determine if oxygen can be produced in-situ to facilitate a future manned mission to the Red Planet. Advanced ceramics could prove to be a key component to the success of the program.