NASA Drill Functional with Help From Futek Force Sensors

This application story was provided by our valued Partner FUTEK.

NASA’s engineering team have successfully found another way to 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.

However, now the sensors have a new use, allowing the rover to drill!

For a over a year, the drill on the Curiosity Mars Rover had been inoperable. The engineers at NASA needed to find a solution to continue the drilling on Mars. After testing many different options the solution came in the form of a newly created technique called Feed Extended Drilling (FED), using the Futek multi-axis force sensors already located in the robotic arm, to push the drill bit forward as it spins . 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 vital information about the Mars terra. Ultimately all the samples of the rocks will be analysed.

FUTEK is proud to be a partner with NASA and will continue to watch and see what the Curiosity rover will reveal next. From the smallest application to the most spectacular, with Futek Technology onboard,  Its Mission accomplished!

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