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z02_0104 - The Phoenix Mars Lander Robotic Arm Robert...

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1 The Phoenix Mars Lander Robotic Arm Robert Bonitz, Lori Shiraishi, Matthew Robinson, Joseph Carsten, Richard Volpe, Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology 4800 Oak Grove Drive Pasadena, CA 91109-8099 Robert.G.Bonitz,Lori.R.Shiraishi,Matthew.L.Robinson,Joseph.Carsten,volpe,[email protected] Raymond E. Arvidson Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences Washington University in Saint Louis Saint Louis, MO 63130 [email protected] P. C. Chu, J. J. Wilson, K. R. Davis Honeybee Robotics Spacecraft Mechanisms Corporation 460 W. 34th Street New York, NY 10001 chu,wilson,[email protected] Abstract —The Phoenix Mars Lander Robotic Arm (RA) has operated for 149 sols since the Lander touched down on the north polar region of Mars on May 25, 2008. During its mission it has dug numerous trenches in the Martian regolith, acquired samples of Martian dry and icy soil, and delivered them to the Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) and the Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA). The RA inserted the Thermal and Electrical Conductivity Probe (TECP) into the Martian regolith and positioned it at various heights above the surface for relative humidity measurements. The RA was used to point the Robotic Arm Camera to take images of the surface, trenches, samples within the scoop, and other objects of scientific interest within its workspace. Data from the RA sensors during trenching, scraping, and trench cave-in experiments have been used to infer mechanical properties of the Martian soil. This paper describes the design and operations of the RA as a critical component of the Phoenix Mars Lander necessary to achieve the scientific goals of the mission. 12 T ABLE OF C ONTENTS 1. I NTRODUCTION ................................................................. 1 2. S YSTEM D ESCRIPTION ..................................................... 2 3. S URFACE O PERATIONS ..................................................... 5 4. C ONCLUSION .................................................................. 10 A CKNOWLEDGEMENTS ...................................................... 10 R EFERENCES ...................................................................... 10 B IOGRAPHY ........................................................................ 11 1. I NTRODUCTION The Phoenix Mars Lander (Figure 1) touched down on the north-polar region of Mars on May 25, 2008 and began its 1 1 978-1-4244-2622-5/09/$25.00 ©2009 IEEE. 2 IEEEAC paper #1695, Version 5, Updated December 15, 2008 primary 90-sol (sol = 1 Martian day) mission of scientific exploration in the vicinity of the landing site [10]. Favorable conditions permitted extending major operations through 149 sols after which limited energy permitted only restricted operations consisting primarily of collecting weather data. The RA was an essential system for achieving the scientific goals of the Phoenix mission by providing support to the other science instruments as well as conducting specific soil mechanics experiments [11]. One of the primary mission goals was to analyze soil samples in the TEGA [1], and MECA [2][3]. The RA supported these goals by acquiring both surface and sub-surface dry and icy soil samples from the area in the vicinity of the Lander and dumping the samples into the TEGA and MECA inlet ports. Subsurface samples were acquired at varying depths from within trenches excavated by the RA. Very strong icy soil was encountered at shallow depths (~2 to 7 cm).
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