NASA Awards Grants to Ozark IC to Create Circuits for Proposed Venus Rover

NASA Awards Grants to Ozark IC to Create Circuits for Proposed Venus Rover image
July 31, 2015 | Source: Paul Scott Anderson, AmericaSpace

Perfecting the design procedures, tools, characterization, and modeling approaches necessary to create the high-temperature, high-voltage electronics capable of operating at temperatures beyond 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

In what may be a significant step toward the seemingly far-off goal of sending a rover to the surface of Venus, NASA has awarded two grants totalling $245,000 to a semiconductor technology firm to design complex integrated circuits which could withstand the extremely harsh environment on this neighboring world.

The firm, Ozark Integrated Circuits Inc., is a start-up technology company affiliated with the University of Arkansas. The company designs semiconductors at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park and will use the grants to design complex integrated circuits which can survive and operate on Venus’ surface, where the temperature can reach a hellish 932 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius)—or, as the old saying goes, hot enough to melt lead.

The circuits are being designed as components for a proposed Venus rover called the Venus Landsailing Rover. The silicon carbide-based circuits will be used in an ultraviolet imager and microcontroller for the rover.