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NASA’s Latest Perseverance Rover Represents Advance in Robotics

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

The Mars 2020 mission was launched by NASA in July 2020, with plans to search for signs of previous life and to gather data for potential human exploration. This mission includes the Perseverance Rover, the fifth robotic rover that NASA has sent to Mars. The nuclear battery-powered rover, which is about the size of a car, is designed to take multiple soil samples, seal them in containers, and deposit them on the surface of Mars so that a future mission can return them to Earth. The rover robot will use 10 drives from Maxon Motor, a Swiss private company of which a board member is also in the Advisory Board of RoboCap LLP. Space missions place the highest demands on drive systems, and these include vibrations during the Atlas V rocket launch, vacuum during the journey, impacts on landing and harsh conditions on the surface of Mars where temperatures fluctuate between -125 and +20 degrees Celsius and dust that can affect external components. Perseverance is expected to land on Mars on 18th February 2021. It also has a drone helicopter called Ingenuity which is attached to the underside of the rover. It weighs 1.8 kg (3.96 lb.), is solar-powered, and will perform several short flights, as well as take aerial images.

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