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How Teflon™ Fluoroplastics Enabled Martian Exploration

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When NASA scientists set out to build the Mars Exploration Rovers, they needed to find high-quality, durable materials capable of withstanding the unique Martian environment. Since the birth of manned space flight, more than five decades ago, Chemours has been providing these high-quality materials essential to successful space travel. The Mars Exploration Rovers —Spirit and Opportunity —were no different; both contained critical materials developed by the business now part of Chemours, namely Teflon™ fluoroplastic resins.”

From the robotic arms to electronic modules, Teflon™ fluoroplastics appeared throughout the Rovers. Unlike other fluoroplastics, Teflon™ resins provided superior thermal control up to 300°C, lasting bend/twist flexibility and unparalleled dielectric properties. These unique characteristics helped reduce the risk of component failures and extend mission life.

"Chemours materials have enabled manned and unmanned missions into space for more than a half century," said Maria Samija, Global Business Development Manager, Chemours Fluoroplastic Solutions "The same technology that enables lighter, thinner and faster smartphones, powers these more advanced electronics for long-term performance in the harshest of conditions."

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Without Teflon™ resins, the iconic images from the surface of Mars, captured by the Rovers, may never have been seen. The cables that powered the Rover cameras and transmitted the images back to Earth were coated with Teflon™ fluoroplastic resins. In fact, the communications satellites that currently orbit the Earth contain Teflon™ resins. This high performance polymer played a critical role in the success of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, along with many others over the past sixty years.

The Chemours Company (NYSE: CC) helps create a colorful, capable and cleaner world through the power of chemistry. Chemours is a global leader in titanium technologies, fluoroproducts and chemical solutions, providing its customers with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. Chemours ingredients are found in plastics and coatings, refrigeration and air conditioning, mining and oil refining operations and general industrial manufacturing. Our flagship products include prominent brands such as Teflon™, Ti-Pure™, Krytox™, Viton™, Opteon™, Freon™, and Nafion™. Chemours has approximately 8,000 employees across 35 manufacturing sites serving more than 5,000 customers in North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Europe. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed on the NYSE under the symbol CC. For more information please visit chemours.com or follow Chemours on Twitter at @chemours.

 

Mars Surface Photograph: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.