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​What is an MMRTG?MAINIMAGEPIA23305.jpg


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


The electricity needed to operate NASA's Mars 2020 rover is provided by a power system called a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, or MMRTG. The MMRTG will be inserted into the aft end of the rover between the panels with gold tubing visible at the rear, which are called heat exchangers.

Essentially a nuclear battery, an MMRTG uses the heat from the natural radioactive decay of plutonium-238 to generate about 110 watts of electricity at the start of a mission. Besides generating useful electrical power, the MMRTG produces heat. Some of this heat can be used to maintain the rover's systems at the proper operating temperatures in the frigid cold of space and on the surface of Mars. Some of it is rejected into space via the rover's Heat Rejection System.

The gold-colored tubing on the heat exchangers form part of the cooling loops of that system. The tubes carry a fluid coolant called Trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) that helps dissipate the excess heat. The same tubes are used to pipe some of the heat back into the belly of the rover.

 

​From Maryland to Mars

Take a look at how Teledyne Energy Systems successfully manufactured and supplied the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) for the Mars Curiosity rover​. It has been powering the Curiosity rover since it was launched on November 26, 2011! Our team is currently at Cape Canaveral readying the Perseverance​ rover with its MMRTG module prior to launch. ​

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 Countdown to Mars Landing

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199d 0h 53m 23s

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