Mechatronics is a diverse field that constitutes the skill sets needed in the contemporary, advanced automated manufacturing industry. The advanced manufacturing industry, where mechatronics finds it’s origins, is the heartbeat of the developed nations. Today we’ll be taking a glimpse of how the techno-vational wonders of mechatronics have made our interstellar experiences all more palatial.
The Mars Science Laboratory and the mega-stallion rover, Curiosity, is the most ambitious Mars mission executed by NASA. The rover landed on Mars in 2012 with a primary mission to find out if Mars can support human life.
Curiosity is almost about the size of a compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) car. It’s length is 9 feet 10 inches , width is 9 feet 1 inch (3 m by 2.8 m) and height is 7 feet (2.1 m). It weighs 900 kilograms, very close to a tonne. The diameter of the wheels is around a 20-inch (50.8 cm). (Specifications Source- Space.com)
Curiosity has a suite of instruments on board to better examine the environment. This includes:
- Cameras for micro as well as macroscopic views- Mast Camera (Mastcam), Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI).
- Spectrometers are present for the characterization of the minerals found on the Martian surface: Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam), Chemistry & Mineralogy X-Ray Diffraction/X-Ray Fluorescence Instrument (CheMin), and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument Suite.
- Radiation detectors- To measure the amount of radiation penetrating into the surface, which is used as a parameter to check presence of unicellular organisms. These are Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) and Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN).
- Environmental sensors to look at the current weather. This is the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS).
- The atmospheric sensor that enables landing, which is called as Mars Science Laboratory Entry Descent and Landing Instrument (MEDLI). (SSpecifications source- Space.com)
Apart from assessing the planet for life, Curiosity has other instruments that are designed to capture and observe more about the environment on Mars. It’s RAD runs for 15 minutes in a cycle of every 60 minutes to measure the cloaked radiation on the ground and the atmosphere. Along with this, a UV sensor present on it’s deck keeps a track of radiation continuously.
Curiosity posed for a selfie in front of an aesthetically pleasing Martian rock outcrop called “Mont Mercou,” after assessing the area around that.
So this is how mechatronics has executed one of the biggest space missions in the history of mankind. We hope you liked to know about the different instruments used in the rover made using mechatronics.
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