The wheeled vehicles that help study Mars’ geology each contain almost 70 yards of thin DuPont™ Pyralux® flexible circuits. The circuits connect the “brains” of Mars rovers to their parts, such as robotic arms, cameras, wheels and sensors.
The Pyralux® circuits are thin enough to provide a volume savings of 60 to 70 percent. Stacked, the amount used in each rover would total less than 1.5 inches.
Those circuits are secured with Kapton® tape and offer durable, lightweight environmental resistance for temperatures on Mars, which range from minus 184 F (minus 120 C) to 72 F (22 C). Pressure-sensitive tape made of Kapton® polyimide film has been used throughout NASA vehicles to control vibration.
Kapton® strip heaters are used throughout Mars rovers for thermal control, ensuring critical warmth needed to maintain operations in the bitterly cold Martian atmosphere. They significantly reduce the risk of heat escaping from electronics modules, which could cause a shortened mission life, and allow the rovers to use smaller solar panels and batteries.
On Earth, Kapton® plays a critical role as a flexible circuit in electronic applications, such as laptop computers. Strips of Kapton® are also used as the film that protects print cartridges.
Check out some other DuPont products used in space.