Bearing good news for Mars landing

The Pheonix Mars Lander uses Kaydon ‘Reali-Slim’ thin section bearings to position its robotic arm for digging in the permafrost there

. This is the second Mars mission for these products, which are also in use on the two 2004 Mars Exploration Rovers, both of which are still functioning.
The robotic arm is designed to trench the surface, pick up soil and ice samples, and deposit them in instrumentation for testing and analysis. The arm is attached to the deck of the Lander, with a garden-sized trowel on its opposing end. The arm has four types of motion: up and down, side to side, backwards and forwards, and rotation. Three of the joints use Reali-Slim bearings. Up to 44 kg of force is needed to break through the ice, in order to reach a depth of about 50 cm. The bearings are made from heat-treated, 440C stainless steel and are mechanically honed to achieve a superior finish and torque. To enable them to operate in extreme cold, down to -108°C, the bearings are heated and use a low outgassing lubricant that neither gets too viscous in the cold, nor evaporates in the thin atmosphere.

Author
Tom Shelley

This material is protected by MA Business copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.

 

Supporting Information
Do you have any comments about this article?
Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

© MA Business Ltd (a Mark Allen Group Company) 2020