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NASA Mars Exploration Program

Emanuel 'Emil' Skrabek, spacecraft engineer, inventor of thermoelectric power source for Mars Curiosity Rover, dies

Emanuel 'Emil' Skrabek, spacecraft engineer, inventor of thermoelectric power source for Mars Curiosity Rover, dies

Emanuel A. “Emil” Skrabek, a Baltimore-born spacecraft engineer who co-invented a thermoelectric material that powered the Mars Curiosity Rover and other deep-space probes, died at his home in Lutherville on March 14 of progressive supranuclear palsy and Parkinson’s disease, his family said. He was 85.

A brilliant and accomplished scientist who spent more than 50 years in the complex, demanding field of space nuclear power, Mr. Skrabek took joy in coaching his daughters’ youth recreational softball teams, attending Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts with his wife, and volunteering as a Eucharistic minister at the Church of the Nativity, where he was a longtime member.

“He...