Mechanical Components

Site Tamper and Material Plow Tool — STAMP

Tool simplifies measurement of surface samples. A non-actuated tool has been developed for preparing regolith for in situ measurement by smoothing uneven surfaces and excavating fresher subsurface material for planetary exploration. The STAMP tool contains two tools to prepare regolith for in situ measurement: a tamper to smooth uneven surfaces, and a blade to excavate fresher subsurface material.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Mechanical Components for Demanding Applications

Small-diameter ball screws and stainless steel linear actuators deliver performance and durability for compact, portable, and lightweight applications. Advanced medical device designs are evolving rapidly and demand higher standards for medical equipment reliability. Applying linear motion components to these medical applications yields the best results when collaboration begins at the early stages of the design. Beginning with specification requirements provided by the medical device manufacturer, definition of design priorities must be incorporated for finished devices intended for human use, including:

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Mechanical Components, Medical, Briefs, MDB

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Axel Robotic Platform for Crater and Extreme Terrain Exploration

Other applications include exploration, search and rescue, and open-pit mining. To be able to conduct science investigations on highly sloped and challenging terrains, it is necessary to deploy science payloads to such locations and collect and process in situ samples. A tethered robotic platform has been developed that is capable of exploring very challenging terrain. The Axel rover is a symmetrical rover that is minimally actuated, can traverse arbitrary paths, and operate upside-down or right-side up. It can be deployed from a larger platform (rover, lander, or aerobot) or from a dual Axel configuration. Axel carries and manages its own tether, reducing damage to the tether during operations.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Magnetic Interface for Segmented Mirror Assembly

Newly developed magnetic devices are used to create an interface between adjacent mirror segments so that once assembled, aligned, and phased, the multiple segments will behave functionally equivalent to a monolithic aperture mirror. One embodiment might be a kinematic interface that is reversible so that any number of segments can be pre-assembled, aligned, and phased to facilitate fabrication operations, and then disassembled and reassembled, aligned, and phased in space for operation.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Uniform Dust Distributor for Testing Radiative Emittance of Dust-Coated Surfaces

This device could be used in applying uniform amounts of dust on surfaces to which coatings may be applied. This apparatus distributes dust (typical of the Martian surface) in a uniform fashion on the surface of multiple samples simultaneously. The primary innovation is that the amount of dust deposited on the multiple surfaces can be controlled by the time that the apparatus operates, and each sample will be subject to the same amount of dust deposition. The exact weight of dust that is added per unit of sample area is determined by the use of slides that can be removed sequentially after each dusting.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator Heat Exchangers for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover

These heat exchangers can be used in any application in which heat loads must be simultaneously collected and rejected from opposite sides of the same structure. The addition of the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover requires an advanced thermal control system that is able to both recover and reject the waste heat from the MMRTG as needed in order to maintain the onboard electronics at benign temperatures despite the extreme and widely varying environmental conditions experienced both on the way to Mars and on the Martian surface (See figure).

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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MicroProbe Small Unmanned Aerial System

The MicroProbe unmanned aerial system (UAS) concept incorporates twin electric motors mounted on the vehicle wing, thus enabling an aerodynamically and environmentally clean nose area for atmospheric sensors. A payload bay is also incorporated in the fuselage to accommodate remote sensing instruments.

Posted in: Mechanics, Mechanical Components, Briefs

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