Behind the Spacecraft: Studying Martian Rocks Back on Earth
When NASA's Perseverance Mars rover starts its quest for compelling Martian rocks, it will have quite the to-do list: Locate, drill, collect, stash, and so much more.
The robotic caching system that will get the job done is solid as a rock, thanks to NASA-JPL engineer Eric Aguilar and his team.
Follow along as Perseverance searches for ancient Martian life: mars.nasa.gov/mars2020
How often do you get to say you work next to a robotic system that's going to Mars, right? There's not many places in the world that you can do this. My name is Eric Aguilar and I'm working on a robotic system that'll be collecting Martian rock samples so they can be studied on Earth. This is our hexapod testbed. It's basically a rover body that allows us to attach you know the robotic arm, the adaptive caching assembly, the drill. So that's where a lot of the testing happens behind me. The sample caching system will use a robotic arm and drill to actually take samples out of the ground and we're looking for evidence of life that may have existed on Mars. On the smaller arm, that lives inside the belly of the rover, it's used to actually process the tubes as they come back with a sample inside. We'll measure it, take some pictures of it and get it sealed and stored for a future mission to pick them up. You see the robotic arm stretched out and we have a bunch of engineers and technicians working on installing a model of our drill. Working in aerospace, that was always a passion of mine. What really draws me towards it is the engineering of it. You know, always working on something new and something never been done before. Finding those problems, getting them fixed is really something that I enjoy. You know in 20 years your children will be reading this in their science book and I kind of cherish that.
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