NASA Plans Harvesting on Mars

The man’s appetite to play adventure away from the Earth’s orbit is getting stronger with every passing day. NASA is now planning its future scheme for Mars. In addition to the mission in 2020, the new perseverance rover is being sent to the planet for exploring the proofs of ancient life and collecting the soil samples. The car-size rover is a high-end tech gadget that includes a custom force/torque sensor created for harvesting and cataloging.

The engineers at ATI Industrial Automation (Apex, North Carolina) have developed the sensor aboard perseverance. The Jet Propulsion Laboratories (JPL) team at NASA required an automated system to collect, handle, and move samples from Mars through an indexing process. ATI created an application ( Adaptive Caching Assembly) capable of performing pick and place functions.

The Sample Caching Subsystem is like a robotic arm with a drill, and various drill bits to be used for collecting samples from different places. This subsystem is a type of system already in use in the agricultural industry, using robots for repeat and accurate functions. The conditions on Mars are much harsh than the ground where such systems are tested and working. The temperature and terrain are quite different and it has to survive an Atlas 5 rocket launch also.

The samples will be collected with a small robot called the Sample Handling Assembly (SHA). It will inspect and seal each sample within the laboratory on the rover. This system is designed to work at high accuracy. The company also planning to design equipment capable of working round the clock for surveillance of product trials. Perseverance launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 30, 2020. The rover is expected to reach Mars by February 2021 if everything is going fine as per plans.

Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

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