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August 20, 2012 8:46 am

Israeli Refrigerator Part of Equipment on Mars Curiosity Rover

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Mars. Photo: NASA.

The Curiosity rover, currently on Mars after recently landing in a tricky operation controlled by National Space and Aeronautics Administration (NASA) technicians, includes a refrigerator manufactured in Israel. The refrigerator was developed in the northern Israeli kibbutz Ein Harod (Ihud), Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

There are two companies in that area specializing in cryogenic coolers, small refrigerators that can reach very low temperatures and are used for military, space and commercial applications. An American buyer approached one of the companies, Ricor Cryogenic, in 2005, asking to purchase a few such cryocoolers for a NASA research project on Mars.

“When it was announced that the Curiosity had landed on Mars, we contacted the buyer, who confirmed that the Israeli cooler was indeed on Mars. Everyone in the factory was excited. Our 170 employees were all very proud,” Ricor’s marketing manager Yoav Zur said.

Zur said a detector on board the Curiosity “identifies Mars materials” and must be kept at 173 degrees below 0 Celsius. “Our cooler keeps it at that temperature,” Zur said. “Without our cooler, it would be impossible to determine the type of materials examined on Mars.”

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