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Celebrating Mars Rover Curiosity
Release Date: 08/14/2019

Seven years ago, Curiosity touched down on Mars following a nine-month, 350 million-mile journey from Earth. Since then the rover has sent back invaluable data from the red planet (it has traveled 13 miles and traversed 1,207 feet to its current position). One of the goals of Curiosity is to gain more information on the existence of water on Mars. The stumping question scientists hope to answer is: what caused the end of water on the planet?

FUTEK load cells and torque sensors control the mission-essential robotic arm that provides force and torque feedback to the robotic arm controller. After the original drill-stabilizing function failed, FUTEK sensors were repurposed to resume sample drilling. After the failure, NASA engineers tested out numerous solutions to see how they could continue drilling on Mars. This extraordinary feat came in the form of using the multi-axis force sensors in the robotic arm to push the drill bit forward as it spins in a new technique called Feed Extended Drilling (FED). These innovative approaches by the JPL mission controllers have allowed Curiosity to surpass its planned nine-month mission.

We look forward to following NASA and the Curiosity mission as it continues to send back extraordinary science from the surface of Mars.


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