Mechanical Components

Motor Qualification for Long-Duration Mars Missions

Qualification of motors for deep space under extreme thermal environments to be encountered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is required to verify the reliability and validate mission assurance requirements. The motor assembly must survive all ground operations, plus the nominal 670 Martian-day (or sol) mission that includes summer and winter seasons of the Mars environment. The motor assembly was tested and characterized under extreme temperature conditions with reference to hardware requirements. The motor assembly has been proved to be remarkably robust and displayed no sign of degradation due to the 3× (three times per JPL design principles) thermal environmental exposure to the punishing Mars surface operations cycles. The motor characteristics obtained before, during, and post-test comparisons for the surface operations cycles are within measurement error of one another.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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JWST Lifting System

A document describes designing, building, testing, and certifying a customized crane (Lifting Device — LD) with a strong back (cradle) to facilitate the installation of long wall panels and short door panels for the GHe phase of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Next-Generation Tumbleweed Rover

A document describes a next-generation tumbleweed rover that involves a split balloon system that is made up of two half-spherical air bladders with a disc between them. This disc contains all the electronics and instruments. By deflating only the bottom balloon, the rover can sit, bringing the surface probe into contact with the ground. The bottom balloon has a channel passing through it, allowing the surface probe to reach the surface through the balloon. Once the sample has been gathered and analyzed, the rover can re-inflate the lower air bladder and continue rolling.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Concept for Hydrogen-Impregnated Nanofiber/Photovoltaic Cargo Stowage System

A stowage system was conceived that consists of collapsible, reconfigurable stowage bags, rigid polyethylene or metal inserts, stainless-steel hooks, flexible photovoltaic materials, and webbing curtains that provide power generation, thermal stabilization, impact resistance, work/sleeping surfaces, and radiation protection to spaceflight hardware and crewmembers.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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DROP: Durable Reconnaissance and Observation Platform

The platform would advance the ability of a soldier or law enforcement person to look ahead or inside of buildings. Robots have been a valuable tool for providing a remote presence in areas that are either inaccessible or too dangerous for humans. Having a robot with a high degree of adaptability becomes crucial during such events. The adaptability that comes from high mobility and high durability greatly increases the potential uses of a robot in these situations, and therefore greatly increases its usefulness to humans. DROP is a lightweight robot that addresses these challenges with the capability to survive large impacts, carry a usable payload, and traverse a variety of surfaces, including climbing vertical surfaces like wood, stone, and concrete. The platform is crash-proof, allowing it to be deployed in ways including being dropped from an unmanned aerial vehicle or thrown from a large MSL-class (Mars Science Laboratory) rover.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs, TSP

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Gravity-Assist Mechanical Simulator for Outreach

New simulator is more effective than animation. There is no convenient way to demonstrate mechanically, as an outreach (or inreach) topic, the angular momentum trade-offs and the conservation of angular momentum associated with gravityassist interplanetary trajectories. The mechanical concepts that underlie gravity assist are often misunderstood or confused, possibly because there is no mechanical analog to it in everyday experience. The Gravity Assist Mechanical Simulator is a hands-on solution to this longstanding technical communications challenge. Users intuitively grasp the concepts, meeting specific educational objectives.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Design for the Structure and the Mechanics of Moballs

The moball is envisioned to be a round, self-powered, and wind-driven multifunctioning sensor used in the Gone with the Wind ON-Mars (GOWON) [http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/ marsconcepts2012/pdf/4238.pdf]: A Wind-Driven Networked System of Mobile sensors on Mars. The moballs would have sensing, processing, and communication capabilities. The moballs would perform in situ detection of key environmental elements such as vaporized water, trace gases, wind, dust, clouds, light and UV exposure, temperature, as well as minerals of interest, possible biosignatures, surface magnetic and electric fields, etc. The embedded various lowpower micro instruments could include a Multispectral Microscopic Imager (to detect various minerals), a compact curved focal plane array camera (UV/Vis/NIR) with a large field of view, a compact UV/Visible spectrometer, a micro-weather station, etc. The moballs could communicate with each other and an orbiter. Their wind- or gravity-driven rolling movement could be used to harvest and store electric energy. They could also generate and store energy using the sunlight, when available, and the diurnal temperature variations on Mars. The moballs would be self-aware of their (and their neighbors’) positions, energy storage, and memory availability; they would have processing power and could intelligently cooperate with neighboring moballs by distributing tasks, sharing data, and fusing information. The major advantages of using the wind-driven and spherical moball network over rovers or other fixed sensor webs to explore Mars would be: (1) moballs could explore a much larger expanse of Mars in a much faster fashion, (2) they could explore the difficult terrains such as steep slopes and sand dunes, and (3) they would be self-energygenerating and could work together and move around autonomously.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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