Do you even lift, bro? NASA footage reveals its Mars 2020 rover doing a ‘bicep curl’ that will let the robot grab samples from hard to reach places
- Footage from Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California shows the machine flexing
- Rover’s arm includes five electrical motors and five joints for enhanced agility
- NASA say this dexterity will allow the rover to work as a human geologist would
It will be one of NASA’s most ambitious missions.
And, to prove its prowess, the U.S. space administration have released footage of Mars 2020 rover flexing its proverbial muscles – by performing heavyweight bicep curls.
In a time-lapse video taken at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, earlier this month, the rover’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm handily maneuvers 88 pounds’ (40 kilograms’) worth of sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration.
For context, this is no mean feat considering it’s fitted with five heavy electrical motors and five joints (known as the shoulder azimuth joint, shoulder elevation joint, elbow joint, wrist joint and turret joint).
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT NASA’S MARS 2020 ROVER?
Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover will search for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet.
The machine will explore an ancient river delta within the Jezero Crater, which was once filled with a 1,600-foot (500-meter) deep lake.
It is believed that the region hosted microbial life some 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago.
Nasa’s Mars 2020 rover (artist’s impression) will search for signs of ancient life on Mars in a bid to help scientists better understand how life evolved on our own planet
The $2.5 billion (£1.95 billion) Mars 2020 is planned to launch in July 2020, and land in February 2021.
Mars 2020 is designed to land inside the crater and collect samples that will eventually be returned to Earth for further analysis.
Nasa says a second mission will need to fly to the planet and return the samples, perhaps by the later 2020s.
This concept art shows the Mars 2020 rover landing on the red planet via NASA’s ‘sky-crane’ system
The turret itself includes HD cameras, a scanning instrument, X-ray technology and a coring mechanism for digging into the red planet.
On Mars, the arm and turret will work together, allowing the rover to work as a human geologist would: by reaching out to interesting geologic features, abrading, analysing and even collecting them for further study.
This will be done via the Mars 2020’s Sample Caching System, which will collect samples of Martian rock and soil that will be returned to Earth by a future mission.
‘This was our first opportunity to watch the arm and turret move in concert with each other, making sure that everything worked as advertised — nothing blocking or otherwise hindering smooth operation of the system,’ said Dave Levine, integration engineer for Mars 2020.
‘Standing there, watching the arm and turret go through their motions, you can’t help but marvel that the rover will be in space in less than a year from now and performing these exact movements on Mars in less than two.’
Buff: The rover’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm handily maneuvers 88 pounds’ (40 kilograms’) worth of sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration
Agile: On Mars, the arm and turret will work together, allowing the rover to work as a human geologist would: by reaching out to interesting geologic features, abrading, analysing and even collecting them for further study
Mars 2020 will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida in July 2020. It will land at Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021.
Charged with returning astronauts to the Moon by 2024, NASA’s Artemis lunar exploration plans will establish a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028.
NASA will use what they learn on the Moon to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.
WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL THE MARS 2020 ROVER HAVE?
Mastcam-Z: An advanced camera system with panoramic and stereoscopic imaging capability with the ability to zoom. The instrument will also establish the minerals found in Mars’ surface, and help with rover operations.
SuperCam: An instrument that provides imaging, chemical composition analysis, and mineralogy. It will also be able to locate organic compounds in rocks, from a distance.
Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL): An X-ray fluorescence spectrometer with a built-in high resolution imager than can determine the fine scale elemental composition of Martian surface materials. PIXL will make it possible to make detailed detection and analysis of chemical elements than ever before.
Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC): A spectrometer that offers fine-scale imaging and uses an ultraviolet (UV) laser to determine detect minerals and compounds.
The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE): An exploration technology that will produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian atmosphere.
Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyser (MEDA): A set of sensors that provide measurements of temperature, wind speed and direction, pressure, relative humidity and dust size and shape.
The Radar Imager for Mars’ Subsurface Exploration (RIMFAX): A ground-penetrating radar that provides centimetre-scale resolution of the geologic structure of the subsurface.
In the hopes of findings life on Mars during its 2020 mission, NASA has revealed that its new rover will have 23 cameras (artist’s impression pictured)