NASA’s Perseverance Rover Bringing 3D-Printed Metal Parts to Mars

This video clip shows a 3D printing technique where a printer head scans over each layer of a part, blowing metal powder which is melted by a laser. It’s one of several ways parts are 3D printed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but was not used to create the parts aboard the Perseverance rover.

For hobbyists and makers, 3D printing expands creative possibilities; for specialized engineers, it’s also key to next-generation spacecraft design.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — If you want to see science fiction at work, visit a modern machine shop, where 3D printers create materials in just about any shape you can imagine. NASA is exploring the technique – known as additive manufacturing when used by specialized engineers – to build rocket engines as well as potential  outposts on the Moon and Mars. Nearer in the future is a different milestone: NASA’s  Perseverance rover, which lands on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021, carries 11 metal parts made with 3D printing.

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Technology Developed for Lunar Landings Makes Self-Driving Cars Safer on Earth

Electro-Optics Lead Aram Gragossian (left) and Integration Lead Jake Follman configure the electronics within an NDL engineering test unit for remote software testing while in a lab on center at NASA’s Langley Research Center. (Credits: NASA/David C. Bowman)

HAMPTON, Va. (NASA PR) — NASA is advancing a laser-based technology designed to help spacecraft land on a proverbial dime for missions to the Moon and Mars. The technology will undergo testing on upcoming suborbital rocket launches with Blue Origin on its New Shepard rocket and ride to the Moon on several commercial landers as part of the Artemis program. Simultaneously, companies are using the technology to help self-driving cars navigate rush hour traffic on this planet.

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NASA Technology Enables Precision Landing Without a Pilot

The New Shepard (NS) booster lands after this vehicle’s fifth flight during NS-11 May 2, 2019. (Credits: Blue Origin)

by Margo Pierce
NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate

Some of the most interesting places to study in our solar system are found in the most inhospitable environments – but landing on any planetary body is already a risky proposition. With NASA planning robotic and crewed missions to new locations on the Moon and Mars, avoiding landing on the steep slope of a crater or in a boulder field is critical to helping ensure a safe touch down for surface exploration of other worlds. In order to improve landing safety, NASA is developing and testing a suite of precise landing and hazard-avoidance technologies.

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Mars 2020 Perseverance Healthy and on Its Way

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover onboard launches from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Thursday, July 30, 2020, from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Perseverance rover is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the Red Planet. (Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The team controlling NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has received telemetry (detailed spacecraft data) down from the spacecraft and has also been able to send commands up to the spacecraft, according to Matt Wallace, the mission’s deputy project manager. The team, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, has confirmed that the spacecraft is healthy and on its way to Mars.

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NASA’s Mars Rover Drivers Need Your Help

Three images from the tool called AI4Mars show different kinds of Martian terrain as seen by NASA’s Curiosity rover. By drawing borders around terrain features and assigning one of four labels to them, you can help train an algorithm that will automatically identify terrain types for Curiosity’s rover planners. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — You may be able to help NASA’s Curiosity rover drivers better navigate Mars. Using the online tool AI4Mars to label terrain features in pictures downloaded from the Red Planet, you can train an artificial intelligence algorithm to automatically read the landscape.

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Major Space Agency Heads Hold Virtual Meeting

Translated from French by Google Translate

PARIS (CNES PR) — Tuesday, June 9, fifteen heads of space agencies from around the world (European Space Agency (ESA), Germany, Australia, Canada, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, France, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, News – Zealand, Russia, United Kingdom) participated, at the invitation of NASA, in a virtual meeting to exchange their points of view on the progress of human and robotic exploration. 

Because of COVID-19, this meeting could not be held, as every year, at the time of the Colorado Springs Space Symposium initially scheduled for the end of March. 

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NASA’s Curiosity Keeps Rolling As Team Operates Rover From Home

Members of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover mission team photographed themselves on March 20, 2020, the first day the entire mission team worked remotely from home. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — For people who are able to work remotely during this time of social distancing, video conferences and emails have helped bridge the gap. The same holds true for the team behind NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. They’re dealing with the same challenges of so many remote workers — quieting the dog, sharing space with partners and family, remembering to step away from the desk from time to time — but with a twist: They’re operating on Mars.

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ESA’s Mars Express Matches Methane Spike Measured by NASA’s Curiosity Rover

Artist’s impression of Mars Express. The background image is based on an actual image of Mars taken by the spacecraft’s high resolution stereo camera. Image credit: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; Mars: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin)

ROME, 1 April 2019 (ESA PR) — A reanalysis of data collected by ESA’s Mars Express during the first 20 months of NASA’s Curiosity mission found one case of correlated methane detection, the first time an in-situ measurement has been independently confirmed from orbit.

Reports of methane in the martian atmosphere have been intensely debated, with Mars Express contributing one of the first measurements from orbit in 2004, shortly after its arrival at the Red Planet.

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NASA’s Busy, Successful Year in Space & On Earth

Orion splashed down safely in the Pacific after its first test flight. (Credit: NASA)
Orion splashed down safely in the Pacific after its first test flight. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2014, NASA took significant steps on the agency’s journey to Mars — testing cutting-edge technologies and making scientific discoveries while studying our changing Earth and the infinite universe as the agency made progress on the next generation of air travel.

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NASA Planetary Exploration Highlights From 2013

This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Feb. 3, 2013, plus three exposures taken on May 10, 2013. (Credit: NASA)
This self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on Feb. 3, 2013, plus three exposures taken on May 10, 2013. (Credit: NASA)

NASA Takes a Look Back at 2013

Mars

Mars is the centerpiece of NASA’s planetary exploration. The Curiosity rover continues to explore the planet, and in its first year already has accomplished its primary goal of determining that Mars could indeed have supported life in the past, possibly much later than originally thought. Curiosity’s Radiation Assessment Detector instrument is helping scientists assess round-trip radiation doses for a human mission to Mars.

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A Look Back and Ahead at NASA’s Space Technology Program

Technicians at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, prepare the heat shield for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), critical hardware to place the Curiosity rover on the red planet last August. This view shows the inner surface of the (MSL) heat shield, where technicians are installing electronics of an instrument for collecting data about temperature and pressure during descent through the (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)
Technicians at Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, prepare the heat shield for NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), critical hardware to place the Curiosity rover on the red planet last August. This view shows the inner surface of the (MSL) heat shield, where technicians are installing electronics of an instrument for collecting data about temperature and pressure during descent through the (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — As the New Year unfolds, NASA is looking forward as well as reflecting upon recent payoffs in its portfolio of space technology investments.

“Last year was an amazing year for space technology,” said Michael Gazarik, Director of NASA’s Space Technology Program (STP). “We are developing, testing, and flying technologies in over 800 projects. The technologies we need for tomorrow, we’re building them today.”

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NASA, Tesla Motors and Red Bull Stratos Make PopSci Best of What’s New List


Four NASA projects, an electric car produced by Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors, and the pressure suit worn by Felix Baumgartner during his record skydiving jump have all made Popular Science‘s Best of What’s New 2012 list.

The following project were recognized in the Aerospace category:

  • Mars Curiosity Sky Crane » Read
  • NASA Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) » Read
  • NASA PhoneSat  » Read
  • NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Asteroid Anchors » Read
  • Red Bull Stratos Pressure Suit » Read

The Tesla Model S sedan won the Grand Prize in the Auto category. The magazine described the electric vehicle in a press release:

The Tesla Model S sets the standard by which all future electronic vehicles will be measured. It is faster than any other street-legal electric vehicle, with a motor that generates a peak 416 horsepower. The family-size sedan can dart from 0 to 60 in 4.4 seconds and has a top speed of 130 mph. The Tesla Model S can also drive farther on a charge than any other electric car—up to 300 miles on the optional 85-kilowatt-hour battery.

Tesla’s sedan also captured Motor Trend’s Car of the Year honors this week.

A NASA press release about PhoneSat, in which a smart phone was used to power a satellite, follows after the break.

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Awesome Full-Resolution Video of Curiosity Landing on Mars

Video Caption: This is a full-resolution version of the NASA Curiosity rover descent to Mars, taken by the MARDI descent imager. As of August 20, all but a dozen 1600×1200 frames have been uploaded from the rover, and those missing were interpolated using thumbnail data. The result was applied a heavy noise reduction, color balance, and sharpening for best visibility.

The video plays at 15fps, or 3x realtime. The heat shield impacts in the lower left frame at 0:21, and is shown enlarged at the end of the video. Image source: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/raw/?s=0&camera=MARDI

Fun fact: The first mission to Mars, Mariner 4 in 1965, returned a total of 634 kb of data, including 22 photos.











Video: Planetary Resources Raids JPL for Talent

Planetary Resources has a lot of ex-JPL employees who worked on Curiosity on its staff. At least six of them, five of whom appear in this video. Watch them discuss their experiences in landing a car on the Red Planet.