Force sensors from FUTEK are being used by NASA engineers to help the
Curiosity Mars Rover drill on Mars.
In 2000, NASA JPL commissioned FUTEK to develop space/flight qualified
cryogenic three-component sensors for their Mars mission. As the robotic arm
manoeuvres, the multi-axial sensor provides feedback to the operating device
identifying the levels of torsion and force applied.
For over a year, the drill on the Curiosity Mars Rover had become
inoperable. Seeking a solution to continue the drilling on Mars, NASA engineers
tested several different options to finalise on a newly created technique
called Feed Extended Drilling (FED), which used the FUTEK multi-axis force
sensors already located in the robotic arm to push the drill bit forward as it spun.
On May 20, Curiosity successfully drilled a 2-inch hole in a target
called ‘Duluth’. The Curiosity Rover’s mission is to gather more information
about the planet Mars. Drilling allows the Rover to collect samples of rocks for
analysis to gain vital information about the Mars terrain.
FUTEK is proud to partner with NASA and will continue to observe and see
what the Curiosity Rover will reveal next.
FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology, Inc. is proudly represented in
Australia and New Zealand by Metromatics.
For further information, please visit the Metromatics website www.metromatics.com.au or call (07)