FTO Fiber Optic Cables Will Fly to Mars
When the Mars rover Perseverance lands on the Jezero Crater during February 2021 to search for evidence of past life, FiberTech Optica’s (FTO) fiber optic cables will play a crucial role in the robot’s mission.
An instrument called SuperCam will use a laser to help study the composition of rocks. Cables designed by FTO will carry information along wires thinner than a human hair to various instruments and subsystems on board the rover for further analysis.
Each strand of wire is about half the diameter of a human hair. A bundle of nineteen of these form 15-centimeter-long cables.
Los Alamos National Laboratory contacted FiberTech Optica about four years ago to supply the cables. After arriving at the lab in New Mexico, the cables underwent rigorous testing to ensure that they would not only survive the six-month trip to Mars, but could also endure the inhospitable Martian landscape for the duration of the 687-day mission.
“To build it in a way that it would survive was quite challenging,” said chief technology officer Rafal Pawluczyk. FTO typically supplies cables for industrial applications in the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries, in addition to customized applications. In recent years, its cables have also seen increased use in telescopes on earth.
“This is the first time we’ve actually gone to space,” said Pawluczyk. “It’s quite exciting.”
The rover is slated to launch between July 30 and Aug. 15, depending on conditions, from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
To request more information or a quotation for this and other FiberTech Optica products, contact IL Photonics.