NASA and JPL project teams came to Capstan for a porous metal solution to be used on the Mars Curiosity Rover. The main objective was to keep debris from entering and to repressurize or vent the drill during the landing of the rover. Our team provided a stainless steel solution of twelve porous metal disk surrounding the cover plate to the MSL Drill.
NASA Media Relation Team:
“NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory required a means of venting and repressurizing internal volumes of the Mars Curiosity Rover’s drill during the launch, cruise, entry, descent, and landing phases of rover’s mission. Capstan’s HEPA filters allowed the drill to equalize its internal pressure with that of its environment, without being subject to contamination by Martian dust. Improper venting could cause damage to the drill structure or the lubrication of its mechanisms, while intrusion of particulates could interfere with small moving parts. The rover traveled 570 million kilometers to reach Mars and has since been successful in acquiring powdered rock samples using its drill.” – Timothy Szwarc, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Photos of the Capstan Filters
Here are the Capstan porous metal filters mounted onto the MSL Drill.
This image was taken by Mastcam: Left (MAST_LEFT) onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 32 (2012-09-08 00:46:20 UTC).
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS