Axon’ is back on the Red Planet!

19 Feb 2021

7 months after its take-off, Perseverance has completed its journey and landed on Mars last Thursday, February 18th. Axon’ Cable, specialist in custom-designed interconnect, equips the SuperCam camera of the rover sent by NASA, partly developed by French companies.

Axon’ links in the SuperCam

Axon’ designed the links between the electronic system and the telescope. This cable assembly, which transmits information to the rover, is terminated at each end by a specific pair of miniature Micro-D connectors. Axon’ also carried out the cabling of the microphone installed on board the SuperCam: this is a first! This microphone aims to listen to the red planet. It will allow to learn more about the mechanical properties of Martian rocks by analysing the sounds associated with laser impacts on the rocks. All the cabling of the SuperCam and the microphone has been made in clean room under controlled atmosphere in the Axon’ site located in Montmirail in France.

The American Mars 2020 space mission

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission aims to find traces of past life on the Red Planet, but that’s not all! The rover’s mission is to collect and store Martian rock samples, but also to prepare for human exploration in the future. Initially planned for March 2020, and postponed because of the Covid, the take-off of the perseverance rover finally took place in July 30th 2020. After a journey of 7 months and 470 million kilometres, the rover landed this Thursday on Jezero Crater, a perilous landing site never attempted before. Perseverance is the most complex and imposing vehicle ever sent on Mars.

In the footsteps of Curiosity

NASA’s Perseverance rover succeeds the previous Curiosity rover. It carries this time several cameras, 2 microphones and 7 advanced instruments including SuperCam. SuperCam is in fact the improved version of ChemCam, the instrument that equips Curiosity, and for which Axon’ had already delivered electrical connections. Designed in collaboration with NASA and IRAP Toulouse, with the help of CNRS and CNES, SuperCam is a concentrate of technologies that will remotely analyse Martian rocks. For this new space conquest, France is once again contributing to the success of the mission.

 

Sources: NASA, CNES, CNRS