Spectra Systems Corporation Products on Their Way to Mars
February 13, 2012 - Spectra Systems Corporation, a Providence, Rhode Island, technology company that provides banknote security features to many of the world's central banks, has one of its products on the way to Mars as part of the NASA Curiosity rover mission. Spectra Systems' materials are playing a key role in calibrating one of the high performance camera systems on the Curiosity rover called MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager). The mission that launched on Nov. 26, 2011 is part of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory program that will deliver the Curiosity rover to a landing site inside Mars' Gale Crater in August of this year to begin a two-year investigation to determine if the area has ever offered an environment favorable for microbial life.
"We're not certain that any of the minerals Curiosity will encounter on Mars will luminesce, but we wanted to be able to check that our UV LEDs are fully operational when we're working in the cold, dry Martian environment. We were thrilled when we made contact with Spectra Systems since their product specification seemed ideal for a mission to Mars" said Dr. Ken Edgett, Malin Space Science Systems, CA, the Principal Investigator for the MAHLI team.
"Spectra's robust phosphor target on MAHLI is illuminated by UV LEDs to produce strong, stable, and environmentally robust light output for calibration on Mars. The MAHLI team chose our materials because of the performance which all of our products are required to have in order to protect the world's banknotes from sophisticated counterfeiters year after year. Banknote security features have to survive in harsh environments, from exposure to the sun to laundry when accidentally left in your jeans pocket. The performance of our materials on a Mars mission says a great deal." said Spectra's CEO, Dr. Nabil Lawandy.
Lawandy, a former Professor of Engineering and Physics at Brown University, added that "we are proud of our association with Brown and Providence, RI, which were home to four key MAHLI investigators." Dr. Michelle Minitti and Dr. Aileen Yingst did their PhD work and Dr. Michael Ravine earned his MS degree at Brown University. Additionally, Dr. Jim Bell, well known for his work on the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers, grew up in Rhode Island.
Spectra Systems, headquartered in Providence, RI, is a leading provider of machinereadable banknote authentication technology, and has manufacturing and engineering facilities in East Providence. Spectra Systems is a traded company on the London Stock exchange since July of 2011.