NASA to send maxon drive system to Mars

NASA will shortly be deploying its fifth Mars rover. This mission is aimed at collecting soil samples, although the rover will also carry a helicopter for reconnaissance flights. Both tasks will feature the use of maxon drive systems.

NASA's rover
When NASA's fifth rover lands on Mars, drive systems from maxon will also be there. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltec

“Maxon's drive systems are very familiar with Mars”, maxon writes in a press release. According to this, more than 100 drive systems developed by the Obwalden-based manufacturers of high-precision motors have been used on the Red Planet. In the near future, the next maxon drive systems will also be making the trip to Mars.

“The launch window for NASA's next mission opens on July 22”, maxon states. The Mars rover will be tasked with taking soil samples, sealing them in containers and precisely depositing them on the surface of Mars for collection during future missions. Several maxon motors will be used here, among other things to seal the sample containers and to position these. The robot arm used to transport the samples will also feature maxon motors.

The maxon drive systems to be used in the upcoming NASA mission are all based on standard products offered by the Obwalden-based motor manufacturers, the press release states further. The motors were modified by maxon in conjunction with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is the NASA department responsible for this mission. “We’ve learned a lot from this exciting project”, comments Robin Phillips, Head of the maxon SpaceLab in the press release. Phillips is of the view that the expertise gained may also benefit customers from other areas, such as the medical sector, “where requirements are often similar”.

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