NASA’s Mars 2020 rover may not have deltoids, triceps or biceps, but it can still perform bicep curls with its robotic arm, and this video captured in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows how. The rover’s 7-foot-long arm moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration to handily maneuver an 88-pound turret equipped with sensors. Read more for the video and additional information.
The rover’s arm consists of five electrical motors and five joints, while the turret includes HD cameras, the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC) science instrument, the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL), and a percussive drill / coring mechanism. When it arrives on the Red Planet, the arm and turret will work together to allow it to mimic a human geologist would: by examining interesting geologic features, abrading, analyzing and collecting them for further study.
“This was our first opportunity to watch the arm and turret move in concert with each other, making sure that everything worked as advertised – nothing blocking or otherwise hindering smooth operation of the system. Standing there, watching the arm and turret go through their motions, you can’t help but marvel that the rover will be in space in less than a year from now and performing these exact movements on Mars in less than two,” said Dave Levine, integration engineer for Mars 2020.