Application Briefs

Inlet Funnels on Mars Rover Are Validated Using Scanning Laser Vibrometry

NASA’s latest mission to Mars in November 2011 sent the Mars Science Laboratory rover “Curiosity” to assess whether Mars ever had, or still has, an environment able to support life. While on Mars, Curiosity will collect soil and environmental samples, and analyze the samples on location. Preventing contamination of the rover is critical to ensure that Curiosity’s data collection and analysis yields accurate results. Thus, engineering models and flight models are tested separately to validate design requirements of the various systems aboard the rover.

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NASA Adopts Modeling and Simulation Software for Space Exploration Projects

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, CA, has implemented Maple, MapleSim, and MapleNet modeling and simulation software from Maplesoft in its various projects. Curiosity, JPL’s latest space rover that launched last November, aims to explore Mars to investigate whether the planet could have ever supported microbial life. Current JPL projects include spacecraft missions to comets, asteroids, and the edge of the solar system, as well as satellites that monitor the land, oceans, and atmosphere of Earth.

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Thin-Film Tape Protects Mars Rover Wiring

A high-performance thin-film product cre- ated specifically for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, is being used to ensure the electrical currents from the Mars Rover Curiosity’s different systems will not interfere with each other or impede the rover’s operation, while also protecting delicate cable systems from the harsh Martian environment. DUNMORE engineered the tape by combining DuPont Kapton polyimide film with a 3M adhesive and fiberglass reinforcement layer. The tape is one of the multi-layer insulation (MLI) products on Curiosity, which was launched in November 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

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Rendering Software Helps NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab Bring Science to the Public

NASA’s Conceptual Image Lab (CIL) at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, solves problems for scientists and astronomers who are tasked with bringing hard science to the public. Breaking down complicated concepts into a stream of easily digestible visuals inspired the lab to build up a suite of 3D production products. They needed a non-technical rendering process, and chose PipelineFX’s render farm management software, Qube!

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New Automotive Test Bench Concept Eliminates Gyrating Mass

At its location in Recklinghausen, Germany, EDAG-Prüftechnik has offered comprehensive services in the conception, development, construction, and assembly of test benches for over three decades. EDAG’s clients include renowned manufacturers from the automotive industry as well as customers from the general mechanical and electrical engineering industries.

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Pressure Controllers Used in Sounding Rocket Payload Attitude Control Systems

Pressure controllers from Alicat Scientific have been selected for use in NASA sounding rockets to control payload attitude. The payload sections of some NASA sounding rockets are required to achieve pointing accuracies of finer than 1 arc second (1/3600 of a degree). Conventional attitude control systems (using solenoid valves) introduce too much shock and vibration, and are imprecise. NASA contractor Northrop Grumman chose the Alicat absolute pressure controllers for use with the rockets’ delicate optical instruments.

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Curiosity Rover Uses CCD Sensors to Navigate Surface of Mars

Currently cruising through space at more than 10,000 mph, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is scheduled to touch down on the red planet in August. The Mars Science Laboratory was launched on November 26, 2011, and is part of NASA’s long-term effort of robotic exploration of Mars.

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