March 27th, 2014

Keeping Curiosity Cool (or Warm): Thermal Control of the Newest Mars Rover


When:              Tuesday, April 8, 2014

6:30 PM – Socialize / Dinner

7:00 PM – Presentation

Where:            NuSil Technology LLC, 1050 Cindy Lane, Carpinteria, CA

Cost:                 $15 (includes a sandwiches, salad and drinks)

(No later than Monday, April 7th at noon)

Speaker:       Michael Brown

Topic:             Keeping Curiosity Cool (or Warm): Thermal Control of the Newest Mars Rover

To generate electrical power, the Curiosity rover currently in operation on Mars uses a radioisotope thermal power generator instead of the solar panels used on prior missions.  This type of power generator establishes both challenges and opportunities for the rover’s thermal design.  A Goleta firm provided critical components that allow the rover to control the temperature of its sensitive science instruments utilizing the waste heat recovered from the power generator during cold Martian nights.


Biography:   Michael Brown is the Director of Engineering and Program Management for Pacific Design Technologies, which designs and builds thermal control equipment for aircraft, ground and space vehicles.  Mr. Brown has been employed in the aerospace field for twenty-eight years and has served in a variety of roles at Fairchild Control Systems Company, Honeywell Aerospace, SkyWest Airlines, and Pacific Design Technologies. He has also consulted for Parker Hannifin, Boeing and other firms.  He was the systems engineer for the MD-11, B-777 and B-717 environmental control systems while employed at Honeywell, and has performed engineering and program management functions on a variety of space and airborne liquid cooling systems during his tenure at Pacific Design Technologies.  He was a captain and line check airman while employed at SkyWest Airlines.  Mr. Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cal Poly Pomona and an Airline Transport Pilot rating from the FAA.