The following is an excerpt from Alan Boyle | September 17, 2012 | msnbc.com |
The robotic arm on NASA’s Curiosity rover should set a new standard for robotic operations on Mars — and it could revolutionize robotics on Earth as well.
At least that’s what Ashítey Trebi-Ollennu, one of the four robotic-arm system engineers on the Mars Science Laboratory team, is looking forward to. He expects the features developed for Curiosity’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) robotic arm to show up on a planet near you in the form of NASA-enabled technologies, or NETs.
“Anytime I see a technology, I say to myself, ‘Is this a NET?’” he told me last week.
The robotic arm cleared the last of its commissioning tests last Thursday, and is now ready for duty on Gale Crater. Just based on metrics alone, Curiosity’s arm is in a class by itself: It’s twice as long as the arm that was installed on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, and is tipped with a turnable, twistable turret that weighs 30 kilograms (66 pounds), or about as much as a small child.
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