Launching and landing a rover into another planet is great feat. But, let’s not forget how it was built. With Earth-Mars close proximity happens in every two years. Building it efficiently and fast is everything.
With conventional parts manufacturing, time is a big factor. Because with it the resources, including people/machinery, will multiply it further. Time extends significantly with the complexity of the component. In the advent of scalable manufacturing, 3D printing becomes the staple for parts and device prototyping. Lately, it is mature enough, that some of Mars 2020 Perseverance Rovers is built in this very efficient and cost friendly method.
11 printed parts going to Mars
The first 3D printed parts on Mars, was brought by Percy’s twin Curiosity. Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) hosts a 3D printed ceramic part which landed together with MSL Curiosity in 2012. Not all Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover’s parts are 3D printed, just to be clear. Going up to Mars are 11 printed parts.
5 of the 11 3D printer parts are with PIXL.
3D printed by a vendor called Carpenter Additive, they made it three to four times lighter than conventionally produced.
Nothing simpler than this word. It’s not the minute area of illumination in your display screen. It’s not a television channel as well. Simple it may seems. But PIXL is sophisticated. PIXL stands for Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry. It is an instrument on the end of the Perseverance rover’s arm, will search for chemical
I’ve covered this on my previous article and one of the features Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover shall be bringing into Mars. The long term goal of NASA Mars Exploration is one day send heavy equipment for extensive science experiments. Or, eventually sending humans to mars and live there for certain amount of time. Mars has
Advantages of 3D printed parts
3D printing often involves trial and error. Sometimes along the way you need to make adjustments to get that intended structure. For it, we have the very basic advantages of 3D printing. The process of creating a prototype is simpler and only involves tweaking the stencils to achieve the desired model.
In spacecraft manufacturing, making the payload light as much as possible, means more thrust for rockets comes to launching it to space. With 3D printing, engineers have the flexibility to create structures in very detailed way up to the point making it lighter and stronger. While molding, forging or cutting parts often involves multiples steps for each component. Creating them as one model/prototype through 3D printing, thus, save time as well.
for the hobbyists
NASA have involved the public with the latest Mars Rovers. Specially with Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover. For the hobbyists, you can make use of the available these 3D printable resources. You can create your own Perseverance model, or even the, soon first helicopter on Mars, the Mars helicopter Ingenuity. You can check all models here.
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