Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 46

VISIONS

Perseverance Lands on Mars with maxon Precision Motors Aboard
from one station to the next. Additionally, the motors are used
for sealing the containers and placing them on the surface of
Mars.
Just like the more than 100 existing maxon drives that have
been performing their duties from previous missions on Mars,
the motors for Perseverance are based on standard catalog
products: specifically, nine brushless DC motors, the EC 32
flat and one of the EC 20 flat motors combined with a GP 22
UP planetary gearhead. The engineers at maxon closely collaborated with the specialists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for
several years to modify and extensively test the drives.

NASA's Perseverance rover landed on Mars just a few days
ago. Was there once life on Mars? This is the question that one
of the most complex robotic systems ever built by humankind
has set out to answer. Several electric drives and permanent
magnet motors from maxon of Switzerland are onboard to
handle soil samples and to control the first Mars helicopter,
Ingenuity, shown in foreground.
Left: The modified EC 32 flat drive. Nine of these drives are used
in the Perseverance rover. Center: The EC 20 flat with GP 22 UP
gearhead. Right: DCX 10 motors move the swashplate, which in turn
controls the tilt of the rotor blades of the Mars helicopter.

A robotic arm, shown above, moves the soil samples to the
volume assessment and scanning stations, then to the sealing
station, and finally into temporary storage-all autonomously.
After a journey of more than 470 million kilometers, the excitement was almost palpable. Will NASA, the US space agency,
successfully land a fifth rover on the Red Planet, beginning a
series of missions to bring Mars soil samples back to Earth? In
all, the Mars Sample Return project is by far the most complex
series of missions in the history of unmanned space exploration.
According to plan, Perseverance landed in the Jezero Crater,
which was once filled with water, to search for traces of earlier
life. The rover looks a lot like its predecessor Curiosity, but it is
equipped with more sophisticated measuring instruments and
systems. One of its tasks will be to take up to 30 soil samples,
place each of these in separate containers, seal them and
place them on the surface of Mars for retrieval and return to
Earth by later missions in which maxon will also be involved.
There are ten electric drives in the rover. These are responsible for moving the robotic arm that navigates the samples

46

Magnetics Business & Technology * May/June 2021

Ingenuity, the drone helicopter attached to the underside of the
rover, is destined to perform the first ever flights on Mars in the
history of space exploration. It is solar powered and weighs
only 1.8 kilograms. Six brushed maxon DCX motors with a
diameter of 10 millimeters control the tilt of the rotor blades,
which determines the direction of flight. The drives feature high
energy efficiency, are dynamic and very light. " In the development phase, we performed extensive tests to make sure that
the motors will work as intended under the extreme conditions
on Mars, " says Florbela Costa, project manager for the helicopter at maxon.
With this experiment, NASA wants to test the concept for future
drone flights. Flying on Mars is a challenge. The atmosphere
is extremely thin, roughly comparable to the conditions on
Earth at an altitude of 30 kilometers. The first drone flights are
scheduled for May.
" We are involved in absolutely critical applications. If the robotic arm on which our
BLDC motors are mounted doesn't move,
or if the gripper doesn't work, then the mission will be a failure, " says Robin Phillips,
director of maxon's SpaceLab. The DC motors, gearheads, and encoders face brutal
conditions during liftoff, the long journey
through space, and the mission on the Red
Planet. In a recent blog, he makes these
comments about the rigors involved:

Robin Phillips,
director of
maxon's
SpaceLab

Continued on page 45...

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Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021

Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021
Editor’s Choice/ Features
Major Automakers Transform Their Design & Manufacturing Operations for EV Surge – Part 1 of 2
Top-Tier Automotive Suppliers Transform to Become Fully Integrated e-Powertrain Manufacturers, Part 2 of 2
GE Seeks to Power Canadian Icebreaker Fleet with SEAJET Electric Propulsion Pods
Research & Development
Product News
Industry News
Annual Industry Resource Guide
Events Calendar/ Advertising Index
Perseverance Lands on Mars with maxon Precision Motors Aboard
Visions
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Cover1
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Cover2
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 3
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Editor’s Choice/ Features
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 5
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Major Automakers Transform Their Design & Manufacturing Operations for EV Surge – Part 1 of 2
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 7
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 8
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 9
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Top-Tier Automotive Suppliers Transform to Become Fully Integrated e-Powertrain Manufacturers, Part 2 of 2
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 11
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 12
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 13
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 14
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 15
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - GE Seeks to Power Canadian Icebreaker Fleet with SEAJET Electric Propulsion Pods
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 17
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 18
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 19
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Research & Development
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 21
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Product News
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 23
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 24
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 25
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 26
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 27
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Industry News
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 29
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 30
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 31
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 32
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 33
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Annual Industry Resource Guide
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 35
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 36
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 37
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 38
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 39
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 40
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 41
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 42
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 43
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Events Calendar/ Advertising Index
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - 45
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Visions
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Cover3
Magnetics Business & Technology - May/June 2021 - Cover4
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