12.13.2016 Now and Long Ago at Gale Crater, Mars
12.13.2016 Where's Boron? Mars Rover Detects It
10.03.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Murray Buttes'
10.03.2016 Butte 'M9a' in 'Murray Buttes' on Mars
09.19.2016 Ribbon Cutting
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 5)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 4)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 3)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 2)
09.09.2016 Farewell to Murray Buttes (Image 1)
08.26.2016 Out-of-this-World Records
03.30.2016 Erisa Hines
03.30.2016 Buzz Aldrin
02.12.2016 Women in Science
02.09.2016 Adam Steltzner, a JPL engineer
01.27.2016 Night Close-up of Martian Sand Grains
01.27.2016 Curiosity Self-Portrait at Martian Sand Dune
12.17.2015 Alteration Effects at Gale and Gusev Craters
12.17.2015 Full-Circle View Near 'Marias Pass' on Mars
12.11.2015 Surface Close-up of a Martian Sand Dune
12.11.2015 Martian Sand Disturbed by Rover Wheel
11.24.2015 Carbon Exchange and Loss Processes on Mars
11.17.2015 Chemical Laptop 1
Tilt-Table Testing for Curiosity's Robotic ArmTesting of the robotic arm on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sept. 3, 2010, included movements of the arm while the rover was on a table tilted to 20 degrees to simulate a sloped surface on Mars. Technicians and engineers monitor that day's testing in this scene inside the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
For a full Martian year -- about two Earth years -- after landing in August 2012, the Mars Science Labortory mission will rely on this robotic arm for many frequently repeated research activities. One crucial set of moves that has never been performed on Mars will be to pull pulverized samples from the interior of Martian rocks and place them into laboratory instruments inside the rover.
The titanium arm has two joints at the shoulder, one at the elbow and two at the wrist. Each joint moves with a cold-tolerant actuator custom-built for the mission. The arm has a reach of about 2.3 meters (7.5 feet) from the front of the rover body.
When these tests were performed, the turret of tools at the end of the arm had not yet been installed. That toolkit, with a mass of about 33 kilograms (73 pounds), will include a percussive drill; a magnifying-lens camera; an element-identifying spectrometer; a rock brush; and mechanisms for scooping, sieving and portioning samples.
MDA Information Systems Inc.'s Space Division in Pasadena built and tested Curiosity's robotic arm, incorporating actuators from Aeroflex Corp., Plainview, N.Y. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech