Figure 1: Mars Exploration Rover mobility testing By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons I’ve been writing a short blog series celebrating Mars Exploration Rover B (MER-B) Opportunity’s 12th anniversary of its landing on Mars. Opportunity has exceeded its original three-month design lifetime by 48 times, and is still operating every day. In previously entries I’ve covered the hazardsOpportunity faces on hostile surface of the red planet as well as some of the advanced materials science technologies that it uses to survive. In this entry, I’ll look at some of themechanical engineer design choices that have allowed the rover to run its own incredibly slow Martian marathon. Flexible Drive System The strange-looking 6-wheeled drive system [...]
Figure 1: Diagram of the scientific equipment on MER-B Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover Launches Press Kit, June 2003, p. 41 [i] I mentioned in a blog last week that Mars Exploration Rover B (FIgure 1), more affectionately called Opportunity, recently celebrated the 12th anniversary (in Earth years) of its landing on Mars. 12 years without maintenance on the hostile surface of another planet is incredible, considering the original operational time was planned for only 3 months. Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity currently gets the most press, with its larger tool library and fancier cameras, but there are still scientists and engineers at JPL piloting Opportunity from one scientific site to the next. In the last blog, I mentioned [...]
Removing protons and electrons in the Van Allen belts could improve safety for astronauts and satellites.
Optomechanical engineering, material science, and environmental considerations and their importance in optical instruments related to space vehicles.