Thermal Analysis of MAHLI & Mast Cam

Analysis, Thermal, Optics, Electronics, Commercial Aerospace


Mars atmosphere represents a very harsh thermal environment, with temperature fluctuations in excess of 200C over a 24h period. High precision electronics, such as MAHLI and Mastcam designed by Malin Space Science Systems, are particularly sensitive to thermal gradients. These thermal effects must be very carefully studied and predicted in order to attenuate or negate them.


Predict Thermal Behavior

Quartus was contracted by Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS) to perform thermal analysis of two imaging instrument for the MSL mission: MAHLI and MastCam. High fidelity thermal models were built to analyze the multiple load cases involving a mission on Mars: extreme temperature gradients, complex external and internal radiation and Albedo effects.

Mature Thermal Model for Integration

Using I-DEAS TMG thermal modeling and analysis code, many thermal environments were studied to verify the designs and guaranty functional suitability of the instruments during the MSL mission. Optics thermal isolation, electronics overheating or cold-start ability as well as survival modes were studied. Sizing and distribution of heater strips were also studied to ensure the instruments would properly warm-up while subjected to extreme cold.

Quartus Engineering acted as thermal specialists for MSSS and supported the successful Critical Design Review of MAHLI and MastCam. Both instruments were demonstrated to survive harsh cold and hot environments, heaters were sized to allow for electronics warm-up for cold starts.

Engineering Disciplines

  • Optical Systems
  • Commercial Aerospace

Software & Tools

  • NX I-DEAS™

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Quartus Engineering specializes in system design & development, simulation & analysis, testing, prototyping and manufacturing of mechanical systems for a wide-range of industries and are experts in simulation-driven engineering. We are a complete engineering solution provider from concept, prototype through low volume or complex production. We design for manufacturability and transition to high volumes with ease with Quartus as your guide. Quartus has depth and broad range of industry and product experience that includes: Civil/Space, Defense, Aircraft/Transportation, Consumer Products, Optics & Photonics and Medical/Life Science. Quartus is focused on game changing applications like remote sensing, metrology, thermal, LiDAR, use of novel materials and other innovative technologies and measurement approaches that span multiple industries and are faced with extreme environments and other complex engineering challenges.

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