FUTEK technology helps Curiosity successfully bore its first hole on Mars.
As NASA cheers the first hole recently bored by the Mars Rover Curiosity, a Southern California sensing device supplier has reason to celebrate the inter-planet accomplishment as well.
Curiosity used its drilling arm to full capacity for the first time since it landed in August to penetrate a “flat, veiny rock.” The rover collected its first samples of the mission, marking the first sampling of any rover on Mars.
FUTEK Advanced Sensor Technology Inc. designed and developed two customized sensors for the rover’s drilling mission. Within the drill sits a Thru-Hole Load Cell FUTEK manufactured to measure the forces of the drill bit as it bores into the Martian terrain. Meanwhile, a Multi-Axial Sensor sits at the base of the rover's robotic arm monitoring the arm’s maneuvers. This three-component sensor provides feedback to the operating device identifying the levels of torsion and force applied to the arm.
These precision instruments led to a 0.63” wide and 2.5” deep hole in the Martian bedrock, which showed evidence of water/moisture saturation. Further analysis of the rock sample over the next few days will confirm this theory. Ground controllers will guide Curiosity through multiple stages of investigation within the rover’s Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA) device.