NASA recently launched its latest mission to put another rover on the surface of Mars: Perseverance. And much like many of NASA’s Mars rovers, Perseverance has strong ties to Missouri.
The new rover is powered by batteries manufactured by EaglePicher Technologies in Joplin, Missouri.
There are 14 EaglePicher silver-zinc batteries on the Atlas V launch rocket. Two of the company’s thermal batteries will power the spacecraft during entry, descent and landing stages, including igniting the pyrotechnics that will open parachutes. The rover’s main power system consists of two EaglePicher batteries that will function independently from the other, in case of failure.
Perseverance is the largest rover to date sent by NASA to the surface of Mars. It has a 7-foot robotic arm that can drill and grip to collect rock samples. It has nearly two dozen cameras as well as two microphones that will allow us to hear the red planet for the first time. On board are 43 sample tubes that will be used to store rock and soil samples as NASA readies a follow-up mission to collect those samples, with the goal of bringing them back to Earth.
Perseverance also has a 4-pound helicopter stored aboard to help scout out distant Martian territory for future missions and hopefully, one day, for astronauts.
Missouri has a long history of powering NASA’s space program including the InSight Lander, which is currently on the surface of Mars, and NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft.