BAE Systems Inc., Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. and Dell have announced their roles in helping NASA deliver and land the Curiosity Rover on Mars late Sunday night.
BAE’s U.S. subsidiary built the rover’s X-ray spectrometer, a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy system, organic sample analysis systems and systems for detecting radiation and neutrino.
Ball Aerospace built the camera above the orbiter to record the rover as it was still connected to its parachute, descending toward the landing site.
The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera recorded an image while the orbiter was 211 miles away from the parachuting rover.
“If HiRISE took the image one second before or one second after, we probably would be looking at an empty Martian landscape,” said Sarah Milkovich, an investigation scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
“When you consider that we have been working on this sequence since March and had to upload commands to the spacecraft about 72 hours prior to the image being taken, you begin to realize how challenging this picture was to obtain,” she added.
Dell provided NASA with data analysis for the landing, using two high performance computing clusters that have Dell servers.
Galaxy and Nebula, Dell’s clusters, analyzed the data to prepare Curiosity for entering the Martian atmosphere and landing.