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The importance of position sensing on Mars

December 10, 2012


The role pots played in the greatest Mars discovery yet

The Mars Rover Curiosity recently reached one of its most significant milestones yet – the possible discovery of organic compounds on the planet. It seems like a simple thing, but it took a great amount of time and effort to get to this point in history, and it will probably take many more years to discover what these initial findings potentially indicate: the possibility that life once existed on Mars. So what do potentiometers have to do with this? A lot, actually.

When the Exploration Rovers were first being developed, Betatronix was tapped to come up with position sensing solutions to help steer the Rover and determine the location of its robotic arm. All of this had to be detected within the vacuum of space while operating at extremely low temperatures. At the time it was one of the most extreme environments anyone had ever created a potentiometer for.

The robotic arm is used for almost every attempt made at gathering and examining samples from Mars, making its position sensing capabilities more important than ever.

As the Rovers continue to explore Mars, drilling deep beyond the surface to find more clues about life on the red planet, the existing technology will become more and more significant. Betatronix looks forward to the upcoming Mars missions and stands ready to work with them in any way possible, being uniquely qualified to support both space related gimbal position and drilling components. Our space-rated products withstand the extremely high vibration associated with liftoff and landing, which far exceed any vibration normally associated with drilling.

To talk to Betatronix about their aerospace or drilling capabilities for an upcoming project, contact one of our expert engineers or representatives.