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NASAs Mars 2020 Rover Gets 7FootLong Robotic Arm

first_img NASA Tests Mars 2020 Rover Prototype at Icelandic Lava FieldNASA Invites U.S. Students to Name Mars 2020 Rover NASA’s Mars 2020 rover got its eyes, legs and wheels and now, it has its arm — all 7 feet of it.On Friday, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, installed the main robotic arm on the the unmanned vehicle, which is scheduled to launch next July and in land in February 2021 at the Red Planet to explore Martian geology and collect samples for return to Earth.The main arm, which measures 7 feet long, includes five electrical motors and five joints (known as the shoulder azimuth joint, shoulder elevation joint, elbow joint, wrist joint and turret joint). It will allow the rover to work as a human geologist would: by holding and using science tools with its turret, which is essentially its “hand.”A smaller arm to handle Mars samples will be installed inside the rover as well, according to a NASA press release. (Watch the video above for a live stream of the Mars 2020 rover being built and tested in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.)“You have to give a hand to our rover arm installation team,” said Ryan van Schilifgaarde, a support engineer at JPL for Mars 2020 assembly. “They made an extremely intricate operation look easy. We’re looking forward to more of the same when the arm will receive its turret in the next few weeks.”The rover’s turret will include high-definition cameras, science instruments, and a percussive drill and coring mechanism. The tools will be used to analyze and collect samples of Martian rock and soil, which will be cached on the surface for return to Earth by a future mission.Wants to share in the rover’s journey to Mars? Members of the public can send their name on the Mars 2020 rover. Sign up before September 20, and you can add your name to a list that will ride on the rover and receive a souvenir “boarding pass” to Mars.Last week, NASA announced that it is asking U.S. students to name the Mars 2020 rover in a naming contest that aims to engage students in the engineering and scientific work that makes space exploration possible.More on Geek.com:NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover Gets Its Space Legs, WheelsNASA Scientists Install HD ‘Eyes’ in Mars 2020 RoverNASA Puts Mars 2020 Rover to the Test Stay on targetlast_img read more