Magnetic Memory to Mars?

Space Exploration Asked by uhoh on July 28, 2020

There seems to be (perhaps these?) a probe headed to Mars that has incorporated Magnetic Memory (MRAM) as an integral part of the mission.

Is this a PR gimmick, or is MRAM actually the best technology for this mission to Mars? Are there situations where it would be the best choice for cubesats in LEO also?

From here:

ExoMars is a joint-endeavor between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos). ExoMars 2016 is the first mission, that will consist of a Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module (EDM) known as Schiaparelli. The main objectives of this mission are to search for evidence of methane and other trace atmospheric gases that could be signatures of active biological or geological processes on Mars.

Cobham’s MRAM are used by the Nadir and Occultation for MArs Discovery (NOMAD) instrument on the TGO. NOMAD is a spectrometer suite that will measure the spectrum of sunlight across a wide range of wavelengths, enabling the detection of components of the Martian atmosphere. Cobham says that its MRAM chips were chosen due to the low access time, data retention and footprint, as well as radiation performance. Five MRAMs have been integrated on an interface board on the instrument.

One Answer

ExoMars is not the first use of MRAM. In 2007, SpriteSat was launched with MRAM in its magnetometer subsystem.

In 2012, JPL tested an MRAM unit for radiation resistance.

No latchup observed during any testing.

JPL also launched CubeSat On-board Processing Validation Experiment, “COVE” with an MRAM on board in 2013.

So no, MRAM's suitability is not a PR gimmick.

Correct answer by Hobbes on July 28, 2020

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