Mars Rovers

by on September 1, 2014

mars rovers

Hi all
It is surprisingly hard to find a list of the technology used in the mars rovers. Here is a quick post summarizing some of the technology used in the NASA JPL Mars rovers. The list is only partialy complete since I do not have all of the information. Please leave comments below to help me complete this table or to add more sections.

Technology Sojourner Spirit & Opportunity (MER) Curiosity (MSL) Unnamed (MARS2020)
Size/Mass 0.65×0.48×0.3m 10.6kg 1.6×2.3×1.5m 170kg 3×2.7x2m 899kg Based on Curiosity
Power Source Solar – Applied Solar Energy Corporation, Gallium Arsenide on Germanium cells, 18% efficient Solar – Spectrolab, Ultra Triple Junction (UJT) cells, 25.7% efficient, 55 parallel strings of 20 cells each RTG – Plutonium-238 dioxide RTG – Possibly flight spare from Curiosity
Batteries SAFT America provided 1, lithium battery, 40 amp-hour, 8-11V nominal voltage 2 lithium ion w/ JPL developed low temp electrolyte 2 lithium ion batteries. With 42 amp-hours each.
Motor Drivers
Actuators Maxon Maxon RE25 motors with planatary and harmonic drive gear stages Actuator stacks developed by Aeroflex Corp. Stainless steal gearbox with Braycote lubricant
Computers 2 MHz Intel 80C85 running a custom OS, 512KB RAM, 176KB Flash 20Mhz BAE RAD6000 running VxWorks, 128MB RAM, 256MB Flash, 3MB EEPROM 132Mhz BAE RAD750 running VxWorks, 256MB RAM, 2GB Flash, 256KB EEPROM
Radios CE-505 UHF Radio 1 X band radio with 15W amp feeding both HGA and LGA antennas. Electra-Lite Software defined radios feeding UHF antenna.
Antennas UHF 3: HGA- Unidirection direct to earth Xband with a throughput of 1850 bits/sec on a gimbal, LGA- omnidirectional to earth, and UHF to orbiter. 3: HGA- Unidirection direct to earth Xband on a gimbal, LGA- omnidirectional to earth, and UHF to orbiter.
Science Instruments Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer, wheel abrasion experiment, materials adherence experiment Panoramic imager, Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer, Mössbauer spectrometer, Alpha Particle X-Ray, Magnets for collecting dust, Microscopic Imager, Rock Abrasion Tool Alpha-particle X-ray spectrometer, CheMin: Chemistry and Mineralogy, Sample Analysis at Mars, Radiation Assessment Detector, Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons, Rover Environmental Monitoring Station, 5 cameras (including ChemCam and Mars Descent Imager
Rover Instruments BW stereo cameras, color camera, laser striper, accelerometers Nav cameras 12 engineering/navigation cameras
Camera System Lots of detail here Lots of detail here
Landing Method Parachute and then bouncing ball Parachute and then bouncing ball Controlled with parachute and skycrane (ie lowered down from a platform midair) Probably same as Curiosity
Mobility System 6 wheels, 3 per side, rocker-bogie 6 wheels, 3 per side, rocker-bogie 6 wheels, 3 per side, rocker-bogie Probably same as others


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