Machine Design

Encoders and sensors help Curiosity maneuver on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover is currently trundling around Mars, thanks, in part, to MR Encoders and magnetic sensors from maxon precision motors, Fall River, Mass. The magnetic sensors mount on the drive shafts of the six-wheeled vehicle, monitoring rpms and sending that data to the motors driving the wheels. The encoders, located in the electro-mechanical joints of Curiosity’s suspension, keep the motor controllers updated on movements of the suspension, which indicates the terrain the rover is traversing.
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