Portland firm’s tech helps Perseverance rover roam Mars

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The company provided test and measurement equipment for the Mars Perseverance rover landing.

This photo made available by NASA was taken during the first drive of the Perseverance rover on Mars on Thursday, March 4, 2021. Perseverance landed on Feb. 18, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech via AP)

PORTLAND, Ore. (Portland Tribune) — A Beaverton company is celebrating a project that is out of this world.

Test and measurement equipment built by Tektronix played a key role in the buildout of the Mars Perseverance rover. The rover landed on Mars on Thursday, Feb. 18 — Earth time — and is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life, according to NASA, the agency in charge of the mission.

The mission is to collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that could be returned to Earth in the future. NASA’s key objectives for the mission include exploring a geologically diverse landing site and demonstrating technology for future robotic and human exploration.

“It’s super-exciting because … we are all about enabling innovation with these engineers,” said Tektronix spokesperson Chris Loberg. “When we see that we’re enabling innovation in the realm of Mars landing, it just blows my mind.”

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The scope NASA is using for its mission is Tektronix’s MSO500, which is designed for engineers debugging and verifying complex systems. The scope also provides an accurate signal and advanced analysis and math capabilities.

Tektronix’s website lists the product’s price range from $19,500 to $38,000.

Loberg remembers seeing a screen grab of a video showing the scope in NASA’s control room, he said. The spokesperson added that it was a big motivator for all of the employees in Beaverton.

“Thank you all at Tektronix for what you do,” said NASA in a message. “Today is just a moment in time, but it shows what is possible and the amazing amount of effort and teamwork everyone put in to make landing on another planet such a success.”

The Perseverance rover will spend at least two years exploring Mars.

Tektronix says it looks forward to working with NASA for more awe-inspiring projects in the future.

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