A Happy Anniversary on Mars

Newark, Delaware, August 15, 2013 – The Mars rover "Curiosity" has been working hard on Mars analyzing rocks, soil and atmosphere for signs of life for over a year. Rath, the leader in high temperature ceramic insulation for thermal processing and analytical equipment, has been there for every mile. Rath provides insulation for the suite of instruments including a Mass Spectrometer and a Gas Chromatograph.

Curiosity's mission is to search for evidence that life could have existed on Mars. The rover is a six-wheeled robot packed with instruments for thermal processing and evaluation of Martian samples for elements and the elemental building blocks of life. It has been exploring the Gale Crater on Mars that was thought to have once hosted flowing water, as well as gathering data to determine if the environment was once habitable. Gale is a large 95.7 mile diameter impact crater with a 3.1 mile tall mountain of sediment in its center. The crater stack is almost three times taller than Earth's Grand Canyon is deep! Data from orbiting spacecraft indicates that the crater stack is comprised of a diverse mix of rocks and minerals, with clay minerals near the bottom. The target area for Curiosity has been part of an alluvial fan, a formation of debris left by a river that once flowed into the crater. Since clay minerals form in the presence of water, the area is a good place for Curiosity to look for remnants of organics. After one year of exploration, Curiosity with its analytical equipment has proven that Mars had favorable conditions for microbial life billions of years ago.

Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of laboratory instruments includes a mass spectrometer, tunable laser spectrometer and Gas Chromatograph. Rath provides precision machined high temperature ceramic insulation components used in thermal processing analytical equipment. This equipment is also detailing the past Martian atmosphere. A pair of new papers recently released by NASA detail that Mars lost its original atmosphere and exposed clues as to why and how it dissipated.

Curiosity is now on a five mile, yearlong journey toward a layered mound, Mount Sharp. Mount Sharp is a three mile tall mound of exposed layers that may hold more clues to Mars' history. Curiosity's predecessor, Opportunity, has been roaming the opposite side of Mars for over ten years. Hopefully Curiosity will be roaming for as long or longer. Rath will be part of every mile Curiosity journeys across the harsh Martian planet, providing an insulated environment to perform precise analysis for years to come.

Rath Inc. - Designed to Take the Heat

Rath's world headquarters is in Vienna, Austria with the US operation based in Newark, Delaware provides insulating materials for a wide range of thermal processing including advanced ceramics, steel aluminum, petro-chemical, non-ferrous, glass and analytical equipment. Rath specializes in high temperature heat containment, thermal processing, and thermal measurement needs of a demanding technological customer base providing ceramic fiber, ceramic insulation and refractories for temperature up to 1850°C.

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