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SHERLOC Laser Power Supply Electronics Module Design for Reliability for Mars 2020 Rover.
Keywords: Mars, Power Electronics, Reliability
The Laser Power Supply (LPS) is an essential part of the SHERLOC instrument (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals), slated for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover. SHERLOC’s LPS provides the power to the laser that will shine a tiny dot of ultraviolet laser light at a target producing a distinctive fluorescence, or glow, from molecules that contain rings of carbon atom that offer clues to whether evidence of past life has been preserved. The laser will also induce Raman scattering, which can identify certain minerals, including ones formed from evaporation of salty water, and organic compounds. This dual use enables powerful analysis of many different compounds on the identical spot. Operation of the LPS module provides the dual challenge high power dissipation, and the need for strict dielectric isolation, while needing to survive in an environment on Mars that will see a chilly nighttime temperature of -120°C, to a daytime instrument environment in excess of+50°C. Additionally, power restrictions prevent the use of survival heating during the night. The harsh mechanical vibration environment of launch and landing provides an additional challenge to reliability. A multi-physics simulation was created that took into account temperature property variations, as well as solving the transient analysis that also included rapid variation in power-pulsing during the operation of the laser. The steady state analysis employed a more traditional finite element based analysis, but with provisions for Mars gas convection and thermal radiation.
Juan Cepeda-Rizo, Mechanical Engineer
Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech/NASA
Pasadena, CA

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