To accomplish its missions, NASA relies on the support of hundreds of contractors and suppliers. Here's a look at some of the companies that contributed to the Mars Science Laboratory and the future success of Curiosity’s mission on the Red Planet.

ATI Industrial Automation congratulates the NASA Mars Curiosity team on a hugely successful landing. We look forward to contributing our Force/Torque Sensing Technology to the success of future missions. 

Siemens is proud of its role in NASA’s development of Curiosity. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab oratory implemented NX™ from Siemens PLM Software, a fully integrated CAD/CAM/CAE system, as their product engineering and manufacturing platform. NX CAE offers a modern CAE environment to help realize shorter design-analysis iterations, and efficient workflows for multi-discipline simulation. 

FUTEK was commissioned by NASA JPL to design and develop two cryogenic sensors aboard Curiosity. With a donut load cell operating within the rover’s drilling arm, it stands responsible for monitoring the force exerted upon the Martian ground. Additionally, a multiaxial sensor supervises the robotic arm as it maneuvers. 

Using Stratasys Fused Deposition (FDM) Technology, NASA engineers create complex rover parts, durable enough for Martian terrain. Visit to see how FDM paves the way for development of human-supporting space vehicles, helping NASA achieve its goal of extending human reach farther into space. 

JPL has adopted Maplesoft technology in many of its projects. Maplesoft products will help save time and reduce cost by providing very efficient methods for mathematical analysis, modeling, and simulation. Maplesoft solutions are built within a natively symbolic framework, avoid ing sources of error and computational inefficiencies, making it suitable for precision- rich projects. Maplesoft technology is used in a variety of engineering applications, including space robotics. 

SUHNER’s flexible shafts are on board of “Curiosity,” playing an essential role in the scoop arm, helping to scratch shallow holes into Mars’ soil, to grab the samples and to move them to the on-board lab. Flexible shafts are not just for outer space; they are a very effective and cost efficient way to transmit rotary motion in everyday life. SUHNER Mfg., Inc. in Rome, Georgia USA 

<p>Curiosity uses a laser diode from nanoplus. With its help, Curiosity is to draw important conclusions on organic compounds and light elements, as well as on isotope ratios in atmosphere and soil samples from Mars. This is to determine whether the Red Planet is or has been a suitable living environment. 

Zemax optical and illumination design software was used extensively by NASA engineers, scientists and contractors to design the 17 cameras and spectrometers now onboard Curiosity. Zemax was also used to design similar optical systems on NASA’s two previous Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. 

Optimax is proud to be a part of history by supplying optics for the Mastcam, MAHLI and MARDI payloads on-board the Mars Rover Curiosity. With more than 100 opticians, Optimax is America’s largest prototype optics manufacturer and leverages its optics manufacturing technology for programs that benefit mankind. 

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2012 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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