Micro DC motors – now on a distant comet!
European Space Agency probe Rosetta navigates to the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet with maxon DC motors onboard.
What is essentially a small laboratory, has remarkably been deployed onto a distant comet. This amazing feat is assisted by two small DC servomotors manufactured by maxon motor. The lander’s name is Philae and it contains ten scientific instruments which could help find clues to the origins of all life. This is the first time in history that information will be gathered from the surface of a comet and it has been achieved by landing a 100kg set of instruments, on a 4km long rock, after ten years travel in space! The Swiss company maxon motor provided two 13mm diameter DC motors for the mission and they will be used to lower an alpha x-ray spectrometer to the ground. The spectrometer will then be used to analyze the comets elemental composition. The task for the small DC motors sounds fundamentally easy, however we need to bear in mind that apart from withstanding the rigors of takeoff and landing the motors have had to survive for over ten years in vacuum conditions. This is also a first, micro DC motors have not been exposed to vacuum for this period of time ever before. Despite this the two motors have come to life and passed their first motion test.
To view the presss release on the maxon Australia website please click here
To view live updates of the Rosetta Mission Comet Landing from the European Space Agency website please click here:
The Philae lander
Comet 67P compared with Paris