NASA's Curiosity rover, which recently landed on Mars, includes a refrigerator that was developed and manufactured in the Israeli kibbutz Ein Harod (Ihud), in the north of Israel, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
Ricor Cryogenic and Vacuum Systems, located in Ein Harod (Ihud), specializes in cryogenic coolers – cryocoolers – miniature refrigerators designed to reach very low temperatures, for military, space and commercial applications.
According to Yedioth Ahronoth, in 2005, an American buyer approached Ricor seeking to purchase a few of the company cryocoolers. The buyer informed Ricor that the coolers were intented for a NASA research assignment to Mars.
"When it was announced that the Curiosity had landed on Mars, we contacted the buyer, who confirmed that the Israeli cooler was indeed in Mars. Everyone in the factory was excited. Our 170 employees were all very proud," Ricor's marketing manager Yoav Zur said.
"There is a detector on board the Curiosity that identifies Mars materials.
That detector must be kept at minus 173 degrees Celsius at all times, and our cooler keeps it at that temperature," Zur explains. "Without our cooler, it would be impossible to determine the type of materials examined on Mars."