From Elkem Tana and Svelgen, Norway to Mars!

On July 30th the fifth NASA mission to Mars was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in the U.S. with Elkem’s unique specialty silicon powder product Silgrain® onboard.

Silgrain® is made in Norway with quartz from Tana and further processed at our Elkem Bremanger plant in Svelgen. The speciality product is used in the thermal battery pack of the rover’s landing system, through our partner EaglePicher, which is a leading provider of battery solutions for U.S. space missions. EaglePicher’s non-rechargeable thermal batteries were previously successfully used on the landing systems of the Mars Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers and the InSight lander. 

Elkem is proud of its long-term relationship with EaglePicher, which is taking Silgrain® far beyond our terrestrial boundaries in the pursuit of knowledge about one of Earth’s closest planetary neighbours. The "big day" for the Silgrain® performance on this voyage will be in February 2021, when the landing rockets will be ignited by full power release of the thermal battery, which contains Silgrain®.

We wish the expedition all the best!

(photo: thermal batteries used on the landing and descent. Credit and thanks to EaglePicher)