A Dundee firm will play a vital role in the success of a NASA mission to look for life on Mars.
The Mars 2020 programme, costing more than $2 billion, will land a rover on the Martian surface where it will seek signs of ancient life.
Wire and cables assembled by WL Gore & Associates at Dundee’s Technology Park are being used on the mission, which launched from Florida last month.
The Gore cables will play a vital role in data communication when the rover undertakes a highly complex landing operation when it reaches the Red Planet in February.
They can also be found on the rover itself, which is about the size of the car and packed with scientific instruments.
Jeff Fyfe, Gore’s space global business leader based in Dundee, said: “This is a really proud moment for staff in Dundee. We’re honoured to be part of this momentous mission to explore Mars.
“Gore has a long history of working alongside NASA and the European Space Agency to meet the most demanding mission specifications.
“We have a fantastic legacy that spans back for over 50 years of space missions and a 100% failure-free flight record.
“Gore’s continuous innovation has earned our space division a global reputation and it is an exciting time for Associates to be part of history in the making.”
Gore space cables have been used in more than 100 space missions, including the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
The Mars 2020 mission has a very precise landing sequence, with several stages taking place over around seven minutes.
After entering the Martian atmosphere at a speed of around 12,100 miles an hour, a capsule will leave the spacecraft and use a parachute to dramatically slow its speed.
The rover, connected to more rockets, drops from the capsule about a mile from the ground.
After the rockets slow the speed further, a sky crane manoeuvre takes place where the rover is lowered using cables that ensure a smooth landing.
The company opened the Gore Space Centre of Excellence in Dundee last year which saw work transferred from other facilities around the world to the city.
The Mars rover has the capability to travel on the surface of Mars over three to 12 miles during its duration, which is expected to be at least one Mars year, which is 687 Earth days.
It will collect rock and soil samples that will hopefully be returned to Earth in later Mars missions.
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