Qualification and verification of advanced electronic packaging and interconnect technologies, and various other types of hardware elements for the Mars Exploration Rover’s Spirit and Opportunity (MER)/Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) flight projects, has been performed to enhance the mission assurance. The qualification of hardware (engineering camera) under extreme cold temperatures has been performed with reference to various Mars-related project requirements. The flight-like packages, sensors, and subassemblies have been selected for the study to survive three times the total number of expected diurnal temperature cycles resulting from all environmental and operational exposures occurring over the life of the flight hardware, including all relevant manufacturing, ground operations, and mission phases.

Qualification has been performed by subjecting above flight-like hardware to the environmental temperature extremes, and assessing any structural failures or degradation in electrical performance due to either overstress or thermal cycle fatigue.

Engineering camera packaging designs, charge-coupled devices (CCDs), and temp erature sensors were successfully qualified for MER and MSL per JPL design principles. Package failures were observed during qualification processes and the package redesigns were then made to enhance the reliability and subsequent mission assurance. These results show the technology certainly is promising for MSL, and especially for longterm extreme temperature missions to the extreme temperature conditions.

The engineering camera has been completely qualified for the MSL project, with the proven ability to survive on Mars for 2010 sols, or 670 sols times three. Finally, the camera continued to be functional, even after 2010 thermal cycles.

This work was done by Rajeshuni Ramesham, Justin N. Maki, Ali M. Pourangi, and Steven W. Lee of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-47666

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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