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March 21, 2011

Next Mars Rover gets a Test Taste of Mars Conditions

Last month I wrote an entry about the new Mars rover, Curiosity, as a mission that will inspect aging on the surface of the planet. An update about the mission tells us that the rover has started its environmental testing with the usage of Nvacs and shaker tables. The Nvacs (nitrogen-cooled vacuum chambers) are used to simulate the vacuum of space while the shaker tables are to simulate the vibrations produced by the spacecraft during take-off. I found this very interesting because my internship this past summer allowed me to get an up-close view at these different environmental tests. My job required me to work with these machines every day. What the article didn't explain is that vacuum chambers are also used for out-gassing of different components. Which basically means free particles or contaminants are removed through vacuum so that they are sterilized and clean for take-off. You don't want out-gassing in space, or it could affect other components in the launch.

article update:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321101916.htm

Posted by emmatula at March 21, 2011 03:59 PM

Comments

I read about Curiosity as well. This is interesting that you got an update on this. I think that finding out more about Mars is important because as we learned it still has the potential to be geologically active. It's cool how you got to work with this type of machinery. I'm excited to see what more we find out from Curiosity.

Posted by: melmccor at March 21, 2011 06:26 PM

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