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COLDArm v. the Robotic Arm of the Mars Perseverance Rover

(Pasadena, California – February 26, 2021)

As of last week, the Mars Perseverance rover has completed its 140-million-mile journey and heading to its final destination—the Red Planet—with the robotic arm that we were proud to design. This, combined with our newly announced first-in-kind COLDArm (Cold Operable Lunar Deployable Arm), which will be designed in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), has us pretty excited about the next-gen capabilities of space robotics.

The robotic arm for the Perseverance rover is the most sophisticated robotic arm that NASA has ever sent to Mars, and the team at Motiv Space Systems had its hand in it. We not only increased the scientific payload the arm can carry by fifty percent, increased its precision, and expanded its capabilities (beyond those of Curiosity, the rover’s predecessor), we also accomplished all of this with almost no increase in the arm’s mass.

While we are immensely proud of our work on the robotic arm of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover, we are confident that COLDArm will take space robotics a step further. All of our robotic arms are connected by a common thread: our desire to significantly contribute to the advancement of space robotics and new space exploration.

With all these robotic arms headed for space, what are the differences (and similarities) among them?


COLDArm v. the Mars Perseverance Rover’s Robotic Arm
Future NASA Missions
Mars Perseverance Rover Robotic Arm
Mission Purpose  Explore the South Pole, and permanently shadowed regions of Moon and develop useful technologies for future missions (including Mars)  Per NASA, “…seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.”
Project Stage  Active development. 2023/2024 possible launch  Successfully landed on Mars, Feb. 18, 2021!
Minimum Operating Temp  -180°C  -55°C
Coolest Part of the Project  It will be the first robotic arm capable of operating at such low temps  Our innovative torque sensor will allow NASA to collect, store, and send to Earth whole Martian rock core samples (versus just crushed rock)
Main Function  Will start out with a regolith scoop —various end effectors planned for future designs  Drill and collect rock samples, deploy scientific instruments, on the Martian surface and more
Lander/Rover Compatibility  Compatible with many different landers and rovers  Perseverance class planetary rovers
Hardiness  Will be designed to survive a launch to the Moon and operate in extreme cold environments  Designed to survive trip to Mars and at least one Mars year (about 687 Earth days)
Customer  NASA  NASA/JPL
Partnership  JPL  NASA/JPL

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