LEGO. Curiosity. Mars Science Laboratory Rover

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Mars Science Laboratory Rover

Original design by Stephen Pakbaz Mission information and images from NASA/JPL: mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/

Support the model on LEGO CUUSOO. Digital instructions are also available: lego.cuusoo.com/ideas/view/34311

The Mission

The Mars Science Laboratory Rover, named Curiosity, was launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on November 26, 2011 and will land on Mars on August 5, 2012, 10:31 PM PDT. The mission is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The primary goal is to investigate the habitability of Mars, including past and present conditions favorable to life. Curiosity will also study the geology, climate, and plan for future human exploration. The mission is designed to last for one Martian year, 687 Earth days (669 Martian days), but has the potential to continue for many years afterwards.Curiosity has many instruments and tools available to accomplish this mission. Some of these tools include cameras, scoops, drills, and a high powered infrared laser used to vaporize rock samples. The instruments will analyze rocks, minerals, gases, organic compounds, water/ice, weather, and radiation.

The DestinationGale Crater is the chosen landing site for Curiosity. This Martian feature, located near the equator, is over 96 miles (154 kilometers) in diameter and was formed over 3 billion years ago. The mountain at the center of the crater reaches a height of 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) above the crater floor. It is made up of a series of layered deposits. Curiosity will investigate these layers as it drives up, starting with the older material at the bottom and reaching newer layers as it travels higher. 2

A Lab on WheelsChemCam Mastcam RUHF Antenna MMRTG RLGA Antenna

REMS

High Gain Antenna DAN

RAD

TurretRobotic Arm

MARDI

Mobility System

Locations of several science instruments and major subsystems on the NASA Mars rover Curiosity are indicated. These include (clockwise from left): Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS); Mast Camera (Mastcam); Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam); Rover ultra high-frequency (RUHF) antenna; Multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG); Rover low-gain (RLGA) antenna; high-gain Locations of tools on the turret that is mounted on Curiositys arm are indicated. These include (clockwise from upper left): the drill for acquiring powdered samples from interiors of rocks; the Alpha Particle Xray Spectrometer (APXS); the sample processing subsystem named Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA), which includes a scoop for acquiring soil samples; the Dust Removal Tool (DRT) for brushing rock surfaces clean; and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI).

antenna; Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN); mobility system (wheels and suspension); Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD); Mars Descent Imager (MARDI); turret (see larger image for tools on the turret at the end of the robotic arm); and robotic arm. Two science instruments Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) are inside the body of the rover.Drill APXS CHIMR A

MAHLI DRT

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SizeCuriosity is about the size of a small SUV about 10 feet (3 meters) long, 9 feet (2.7 meters) wide, 7 feet (2.2 meters) tall, and weighs over 2,000 pounds (900 kilograms). The robotic arm has a reach of about 7 feet (2.2 meters).

PowerInstead of using solar panels to provide power, Curiosity uses a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). Located at the back of the rover, it uses the heat given off by the natural decay of Plutonium dioxide and converts it directly into electricity. This power source can keep the rover operating for well over a decade.

MobilityThe rover handles the rough Martian terrain using a rocker-bogie suspension system. A differential mechanism connects the left and right sides of the suspension system. This allows Curiosity to keep all six wheels on the ground and keep its body balanced. It can climb over obstacles larger than the 20 inch (50 centimeter) diameter of its wheels. The rover has a top speed of 1.5 inches per second (4 centimeters per second). 4

Entry, Descent, and Landing Seven Minutes of TerrorThe process of landing, beginning from entering the atmosphere, to touchdown on the surface, is accomplished autonomously in seven nail-biting minutes.

1. Guided Entry: The rover begins its descent into the Martian atmosphere protected by a heat shield and cone-shaped aeroshell. Small rockets are used to control the descent. 4. Sky Crane: Once near the ground, the Descent Stage will lower the Rover on a set of cables. This is called the Sky-Crane maneuver.

2. Parachute Descent: A large parachute, deployed at supersonic speeds, will help to slow down the Rover as it approaches the surface.

3. Powered Descent: The Descent Stage, attached to the top of the Rover, will use its rockets to bring the Rover the rest of the way to the surface

5. Flyaway: When the Rover has been set down, the cables are cut and the Descent Stage flies away to crash at a safe distance from the Rover. 5

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The mast includes highdefinition cameras and a laser-equipped, spectrum reading camera that can hit a rock with a laser and observe the resulting spark for information about what chemical elements are in the rock.

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RADIOISOTOPE THERMOELECTRIC GENERATOR (RTG) The RTG uses the energy from the natural decay of Plutonium-238 dioxide to provide Curiosity with 110 watts of power and is designed to last for a minimum of 14 years.

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ROBOTIC ARM The Turret at the end of the Robotic Arm contains a spectrometer, brush, camera, drill , and a color camera with a resolution of less than one-thousandth of an inch (14 microns). The arm is also used to grind up rock samples and deliver them to the SAM and CheMin instruments inside the body of the rover for analysis.

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Robotic arm in stowed position.

Delivering soil to sample inlets.

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ROCKER-BOGIE SUSPENSION SYSTEM The rover body is balanced on the rocker-bogie suspension through an offset-differential arm that runs across the top of the rover, connecting the left and right sides of the suspension. This helps to minimize the tilt of the rover body as it travels over uneven terrain. This system also allows the rover to keep all six wheels on the ground and climb over rocks that are taller than its 20 inch (50 cm) diameter wheels.

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