A design problem in Curiosity’s drill makes it a threat for shorting out the electronics of the entire rover at some point in the future.


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Oy. A design problem in Curiosity’s drill makes it a threat to short out the electronics of the entire rover at some point in the future.

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2 comments

  • What, did NASA assign a couple of interns to design the power bus? I can see the advantages of using a percussive drill as opposed to a rotary one (fewer worries about keeping the bit sharp, more flexibility, more robust design), but the tradeoff is increased vibration at the drill mount. For $2.5 billion (that’s billion with a ‘b’), one might reasonably expect that the design engineers would include ways to electrically isolate the drill mount from the rover (circuit breakers, perhaps?).

    And that sounds like what they did, but only on an ad hoc basis. The spokesman in the video sounds like someone who knows they cut corners, and now that it might bite them in the rear, has to BS their way through it. This reminds me of the problems with the Hubble mirror and Space Shuttle tiles. And then there was the loss of a Mars craft because someone got English and Metric units mixed up. NASA has had stupendous successes, but they’ve also had phenomenal screw-ups. I realize that what they do is often on the cutting edge, but there appear to be systemic problems in project management and execution that decades of experience aren’t addressing.

  • Pzatchok

    With a hundred years of drill design to draw from they went their own way again and bucked it up.

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