- Why go to Mars?
- Seeking signs of habitability
- Where to look?
- Destination: Gale crater
- Rover vision
- Surface and atmospheric studies
- Curiosity's arm
- Curiosity's hand
- Chemistry and mineralogy
- SAM Instruments
- Preparing for landing
- Entry, descent & landing
- MSL Brief
- Curiosity landing simulation
The first step in building a hand is learning how to reach out and touch accurately. This short video covers the initial testing after the hand was attached to the arm. At first the rover needs to learn how to move it's hand accurately, otherwise it could easily damage itself.
What can the hand do?
At the tip of Curiosity’s arm is the turret structure on which 5 devices are mounted. Two of these devices are contact instruments known as the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). The remaining three devices are associated with Dust Removal (DRT), drilling and sample processing CHIMRA which we will cover next.
First, let’s cover Curiosity’s magnifying glass.
The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI)
The Mars Hand Lens Imager is the equivalent of a geologist's hand lens and will provide close-up views of the minerals, textures and structures in martian rocks and the surface layer of rocky debris and dust.
With this new device, earthbound geologists will be able to see martian features smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
The primary objective of the MAHLI investigation is to acquire images, particularly those which facilitate the interpretation of the petrography and mineralogy of rocks and soil. Below is a MAHLI image of a zinc ore sample from Franklin, New Jersey. Note the 1 mm scale bar.
Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS)
The main objective of the APXS is to characterize the geology of the rover's surroundings and to investigate the processes that formed the rocks and soils.
It has a high precision detection for salt forming elements like S, Cl, and Br. It can detect trace amounts that would go undetected at a distance. The alpha particle X-ray spectrometer uses alpha particles and X-rays to determine the chemical makeup of martian rocks and soils.
The APXS will be placed in contact with rock and soil samples on Mars and will expose the material to alpha particles and X-rays emitted during the radioactive decay of the element curium. The X-ray energies enable scientists to identify all important rock-forming elements, from sodium to heavier elements.
Most importantly we have the ability to take scoop and drill samples. This can be broken down into two phases:
Step 1: Sample Acquisition
Soil samples are acquired with CHIMRA’s clam-shell scoop mechanism, which can collect loose soil material from depths of up to 3.5 cm. The scoop can also collect unconsolidated samples from rover wheel-dug trenches, depending on the geometry of the trench, which might access material as deep as 20 cm below the original surface. This video shows some early scoop testing:
Step 2: Sample processing and HandlingSample Acquisition
The CHIMRA is a device that sieves and portions the samples from the scoop and the drill which are then distributed to the analytical instruments, SAM and CheMin. Various chambers and labyrinths within the mechanism are used to sort and sieve the drilled rock or scooped soil material.
Want to join the conversation?
- Does anyone else find it just insanely cool how they shake the sample around into the different chambers? I'm surprised they didn't send a Rubik's cube along with the rover, just to have it solve it in its spare time.
But as a more serious question, how does the rover clean out the instruments once sample analysis is complete? They allude to various cleaning mechanisms, but I haven't seen any described.(16 votes)
- What if curiosity falls over on its side.(3 votes)
- It has a low center of gravity, so it would be difficult for that to happen. Mission planners also make sure to avoid steep hills. If it actually fell over on its side, it would probably lose contact with Earth and the mission would be ended.(3 votes)
- how many years it took to built a Rover(2 votes)
- In an August 6, 2012 interview with Judy Woodruff from the PBS Newshour, "JOHN GRUNSFELD, associate administrator, NASA: Well, you know it was really interesting, because, you know, this is the culmination of over five years of work, 7,000 people around the country to make the Curiosity rover, the Mars Science Laboratory."(3 votes)
- After scooping, how do they analyse the sample?(2 votes)
- They analyze the sample when curiosity puts the sample on the observation tray and cameras take pictures of the sample.(2 votes)
- What is the battery life of the Curiosity rover? Does it charge itself or does it have one of those nuclear fusion/fission generators?(2 votes)
- Curiosity has a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator(RTG) that produces the energy from a 4.8g heavy piece of plutonium-238(1 vote)
- Does Curiosity has a twin on Earth? Because you can sea a rover in the bottom video and Curiosity is on Mars at the time.(2 votes)
- Are there any more videos about Curiosity?(2 votes)
here is a playlist on youtube that you can watch(1 vote)