Space Background Image

JPL Mars RoverA robotic vehicle designed for exploration on the surface of celestial bodies such as the Moon, Mars, or other planets. Rovers are equipped with various scientific instruments and cameras to gather data and images, and they are controlled remotely from Earth or from a nearby spacecraft. Space rovers are typically used in space exploration missions to study the surface geology, terrain, atmosphere (if applicable), and other features of the target celestial body. They can traverse across the surface, collect samples, perform experiments, and send data back to scientists on Earth for analysis. The industry is supported by mass properties instruments, temperature measurement instruments, torque and force measurement instruments, cleaning & contamination prevention instruments, and heat flux sensors and thermocouples Some notable space rovers include Curiosity and Perseverance.

Perseverance Rover

Physical Properties Systems

Mass properties instruments play a crucial role in the design, operation, and control of rovers by providing essential information about the rover’s mass distribution, center of gravity (CG), moments of inertia, and other related parameters. Here’s how they support various products and systems on space rovers:

  • Mobility System Design and Operation: vital for designing wheel configurations, suspension systems, and traction control algorithms
  • Landing and Deployment: calculate the required thruster or airbag forces during descent and landing,
  • Power Management: determining the optimal placement of solar panels or other power generation systems
  • Instrument Placement and Pointing: determining the optimal placement of scientific instruments, cameras, and antennas
  • Autonomous Navigation: used in onboard navigation algorithms to estimate the rover’s attitude, velocity, and trajectory
  • Fault Diagnosis and Recovery: help identify potential mechanical failures or anomalies in the rover’s systems
Perseverance Rover
Model 3712 Hydraulic Pressure Calibrator Pressure

Pressure and Temperature Systems

Pressure and temperature calibration instruments are essential for ensuring the proper functioning, safety, and success of space rover missions by providing accurate measurements and data in harsh and challenging space environments. Pressure sensors and temperature gauges ensure that astronauts or any biological experiments onboard are maintained within safe and comfortable conditions. Pressure sensors are used to monitor fuel levels, pressure in propulsion tanks, and regulate fuel flow within propulsion systems. The instruments assist in monitoring the external environment around the rover, and temperature sensors and controllers are integral components of the rover’s thermal control systems. Some specific products that pressure and temperature calibration instruments may support on space rovers include:

  • Pressure Transducers: propulsion, environmental monitoring, and life support systems
  • Temperature Sensors: Thermocouples, resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), and thermistors
  • Data Acquisition Systems: help in real-time monitoring and control of various parameters during the mission.
Model 3712 Hydraulic Pressure Calibrator Pressure
Model534-2_06 instrument cleaning and contamination

Instrument Cleaning and Contamination Prevention

Instrument cleaning and contamination prevention instruments are crucial for maintaining the functionality and reliability of scientific instruments onboard space rovers. In the extreme environments of space, maintaining cleanliness and preventing contamination is essential to ensure accurate data collection and the success of missions. Contamination prevention instruments help ensure that instruments designed to analyze the composition of planetary surfaces, search for signs of life, or study the atmosphere remain free from any external contaminants. They maintain the clarity and functionality of optics and lenses. Instrument cleaning and contamination prevention tools are used to ensure that the sample collection mechanisms remain clean and free from contamination. The instruments are also used on sterilization products and environmental monitoring equipment. Some specific products that instrument cleaning and contamination prevention instruments may encompass on space rovers include:

  • Dust Removal Tools: Brushes, blowers, or vacuum systems
  • Optical Cleaning Kits: lenses, mirrors, and other optical components
  • Sterilization Equipment: UV sterilizers, heat sterilizers, or chemical sterilization systems
  • Sealing Systems: Seals, gaskets, and protective covers
Model534-2_06 instrument cleaning and contamination
sheathed thermocouple probes

Temperature Systems

Heat flux transducers, infrared radiometers, and thermocouples play vital roles in supporting rovers by providing essential thermal data for mission planning, operation, and scientific exploration in the challenging environments of space and planetary surfaces. Heat flux transducers help in understanding how heat is transferred across different surfaces. Infrared radiometers provide valuable information about surface temperatures, thermal gradients, and heat distribution. Thermocouples measure temperature by sensing the voltage generated at the junction of two dissimilar metals in response to temperature changes. The products supported include:

  • Thermal insulation materials
  • Thermal control systems
  • Surface temperature mapping: Infrared radiometers help in mapping surface temperatures of planetary bodies
  • Thermal modeling
  • Propulsion systems: rocket engines or thrusters
  • Power systems: solar panels, radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs)
sheathed thermocouple probes

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