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Part of NOVA
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Designing for Drilling on Mars

In this video excerpt from NOVA: “Ultimate Mars Challenge,” learn about the complex robotic arm of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity. The arm is a feat of engineering that is capable of a range of movements and supports a turret of instruments. Curiosity’s instruments include a rotary percussion drill that can penetrate the surface of Mars. The drill system also collects and delivers a powdered rock sample to the rover’s onboard laboratories to test for organic molecules. MSL team members explain some of the engineering behind the arm’s design, including a plan for what happens if the drill bit gets stuck.

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