How the University of Delaware is connected to upcoming missions to Mars - Technical.ly Delaware

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Jul. 22, 2020 2:53 pm

How the University of Delaware is connected to upcoming missions to Mars

Three women scientists from UD have contributed research to the interplanetary exploration missions.
NASA’s Perseverance rover.

NASA's Perseverance rover.

(Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech, courtesy of the NASA Image Library)

The summer of 2020 presents an important window for space agencies around the world, as Mars is optimally positioned for an exploration mission.

Accordingly, three robotic exploration missions to Mars are planned to have launches during July and August, including NASA’s Perseverance Rover mission; the United Arab Emirates’ Al Amal (Hope) probe mission, which successfully launched on July 21 from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan; and China’s Tianwen 1 mission. It takes five to six months to travel from Earth to Mars, so these missions are each expected to land in late February or early March.

Three researchers at the University of Delaware — all women — are working on projects related to these upcoming missions, according to UDaily:

  • Tingyi Gu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is “developing electronic circuitry that can withstand the high radiation levels encountered in deep space.”
  • Yuping Zeng, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, is “testing gallium nitride transistors as promising and efficient semiconductor devices.”
  • Maria Katzarova, associate scientist in the lab of Norm Wagner, UD’s Robert L. Pigford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, is “looking for ways to use materials that already are on Earth’s moon or Mars in construction projects,” such as building launch and landing pads.

The Perseverance mission is set for launch on July 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, though it may launch as late as mid-August, depending on conditions. The rover will land on the Jezero Crater in February, accompanied by the Ingenuity Mars helicopter.

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Read the full story on UDaily.

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