© NASA / JPL-CALTECH Components | July 07, 2017
Smartronix on board NASA's Mars 2020 Rover
Smartronix is to deliver a SuperSpeed ruggedized universal serial bus (USB) 3.0 hub to the California Institute of Technology managed Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA.
It will be used in the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) camera system of the Mars 2020 rover, which is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program. "We realize that with this new endeavor our focus now changes from global to galactic," said Smartronix Director of Products, Mr. Rich Newberry. "Needless to say, we are excited to be a part of this historic mission." Smartronix' rugged USB3.0 Hub is a small mountable device with four downstream USB ports that will physically connect the rover's multiple cameras, providing high-definition video feeds to its central computer. The hub will be designed to be protected physically and electronically for improved survivability in harsh conditions yet operate at a SuperSpeed bit rate up to 5 Gb/sec. Smartronix plans to deliver the rugged USB3.0 Hub units to JPL by early 2018, some of which will be used for preliminary testing purposes. The Mars 2020 rover EDL camera system will provide video feed of the rover's entry into the Martian atmosphere and a first-person view of the descent and landing on the surface of Mars. The video feed will assist in a new landing technique that compares what is being shown to a known orbital map of Mars' terrain, thus improving navigation to the intended location and avoiding dangerous terrain. The Mars 2020 rover is expected to be launched in July or August of 2020 when the two planets are in the most favourable positions to each other for landing on Mars. The purpose of the mission is to investigate habitable conditions for future human expeditions and to uncover evidence of past microbial life.
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