While most of us tend to think of motion control as a very down-to-earth topic, designers of space apparatus and undersea equipment have a very different view of the technology. As a matter of fact, these types of out-of-this-world applications usually demand extraordinarily precise and highly specialized motion control products, which mandate close collaboration between the makers of the motion control devices and designers of specialty equipment in order to meet these special needs. It was this type of close collaboration that landed a customized linear actuator on a concept apparatus that may help determine whether life exists on Mars. Scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, designed the concept apparatus as a model of a device that may one day be built and sent along on a future space mission to determine whether amino acids are present in the Martian soil. This very important test could determine whether life exists on the Red Planet because amino acids are considered a signature of life.
September 22nd, 2004