THE Hampshire-based technology firm that provides technology in Royal Navy submarines is playing a crucial role in the latest mission to Mars.
A key communications device designed by Qinetiq offered support to Nasa scientists by keeping a close eye on the performance of the Curiosity robot in its critical seven-minute approach to the Martian surface.
The transceiver, known as the Mars Express Lander Communications (Melacom), will support the mission by sending commands to the one-ton rover vehicle and relaying data and pictures back to Earth.
The device, first launched in 2003, was developed by a team of engineers at the company’s base in Farnborough and will be used in European Space Agency’s (ESA) ExoMars missions in 2016 and 2018.
Nuclear-powered Curiosity will explore a crater that billions of years ago may have been filled with water to discover if Mars has ever been able to support life.
Sanjay Razdan, of Qinetiq said it was a ‘landmark achievement’.