Teledyne Energy Systems Providing Power on Mars

Teledyne Energy Systems Providing Power on Mars | Photo

Hunt Valley, Maryland February 18, 2021 - After spending the last seven months traveling 300 million miles from Earth, NASA Mars Perseverance Rover will land on the surface of Mars at the Jezero Crater on February 18th. Powering the Rover is a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) developed, designed, and built by Teledyne Energy Systems. Perseverance was launched on July 30, 2020 aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

The MMRTG converts heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium-238 to electrical energy using thermoelectric modules. The MMRTG weighs just under 100 pounds and produces a constant 110 watts of electricity that charge the Rover’s batteries. In addition to powering the vehicle, the excess heat produced by the system assists with maintaining the temperature of the Rover and the sensitive instruments in its science bay. This is an important MMRTG feature due to extreme temperatures on Mars averaging negative 80-195 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The MMRTG’s proven reliability and efficiency enable NASA to perform the most advanced research ever using Perseverance,” stated Mitch Icard, Vice President and General Manager of Teledyne Energy Systems.  “We are proud to be part of an amazing team dedicated to NASA’s mission to explore the Red Planet and advance our knowledge of the solar system.”    

Perseverance is designed to search for evidence of past microbial life on Mars to further our understanding of the habitability of the planet. The Mars 2020 mission is also geared to gather information and demonstrate technology to prepare for challenges faced during future human expeditions.

Teledyne Energy Systems provided power systems for the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecrafts in 1972 and 1973, along with the Viking 1 and 2 Mars landers in 1975. These vehicles successfully operated in space for decades. Teledyne Energy Systems also provided the MMRTG for the Mars Curiosity Rover which launched in 2011 and continues to successfully operate on Mars.   

In addition to the MMRTG, two Teledyne sister companies provide imaging instruments for the Rover. Teledyne e2v is providing a CCD42-10 image sensor to drive the SuperCam and SHERLOC instruments. Teledyne DALSA built the Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed CCD image sensor that powers the SkyCam, part of the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, the Rover’s set of Martian weather instruments. 

About Teledyne Energy Systems

Teledyne Energy Systems is a technology leader in the fields of electrolytic, thermoelectric, and fuel cell systems for solutions from subsea to space. Teledyne Energy Systems provides engineering, commercial systems, and advanced manufacturing solutions for harsh environments in space, defense, energy, and maritime industries. For over five decades, the company has successfully delivered innovative systems, integration, operations, and technology development worldwide. For more information about Teledyne Energy Systems visit www.teledynees.com. 

About Teledyne Technologies Incorporated

Teledyne Technologies is a leading provider of sophisticated instrumentation, digital imaging products and software, aerospace and defense electronics, and engineered systems. Teledyne’s  operations are primarily located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Western and Northern Europe. For more information, visit Teledyne Technologies' website at www.teledyne.com.