12 Years a Martian: Materials Science on the Red Planet

By | 2017-11-09T10:25:54+00:00 February 11th, 2016|Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering|

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 [...]

12 Years a Martian: Engineering Challenges on the Red Planet

By | 2017-05-03T14:30:56+00:00 February 4th, 2016|Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering|

Figure 1: Mars Exploration Rover By NASA/JPL/Cornell University, Maas Digital LLC [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Depending on which Facebook pages or Twitter feeds you follow, some of you may have caught wind that Opportunity (Mars Exploration Rover B, Figure 1) recently passed its twelfth anniversary of its landing on the red planet.  Opportunity’s ongoing trek across Mars represents a fantastic accomplishment in engineering.  At the time I’m writing this, the rover has been in continual operation for over 4,300 Earth days (that’s about 4,185 Sols, or Martian days).  Considering its original planned mission time of [...]