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Testing of the Mars Exploration Rovers to Survive the Extreme Thermal Environments
Keywords: Thermal, Electromagnetic , Dynamics
NASAs Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project involved delivering two mobile science laboratories (Rovers) on the surface of Mars to remotely conduct geologic investigations, including characterization of a diversity of rocks and soils. The Rovers were launched separately in 2003 and have been in operation since January of 2004. The Rovers underwent a comprehensive prelaunch environmental assurance program that included assembly/subsystem and system-level testing in the areas of dynamics, thermal, and electromagnetic (EMC), as well as venting/pressure, dust, radiation, and solid particle (meteoroid, orbital debris) analyses. Due to the Martian diurnal cycles of extreme temperature swings, the susceptible hardware that are mounted outside of the thermal controlled zones also underwent thermal cycling qualification of their packaging designs and manufacturing processes. This presentation summarizes the environmental assurance program for the MER project, with emphasis on the prelaunch thermal testing program for ensuring that the Rover hardware would operate and survive the Mars surface temperature extremes. These test temperatures are compared with some of the Mars surface operational temperature measurements. Anomalies resulting from operating the Rover hardware in the Mars extreme thermal environment are also presented.
Mr. Kin Fung Man , Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA
USA


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