(Gray News) – If you’re going to Mars you need to be in shape.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) released video this week of engineers putting the new Mars 2020 rover through its paces.
Loaded with nearly 90 pounds of scientific equipment, the rover’s robotic arm and turret did a bicep curl.
“This was our first opportunity to watch the arm and turret move in concert with each other, making sure that everything worked as advertised - nothing blocking or otherwise hindering smooth operation of the system,” Mars2020 Engineer Dave Levine said.
"Standing there, watching the arm and turret go through their motions, you can't help but marvel that the rover will be in space in less than a year from now and performing these exact movements on Mars in less than two."
The robotic arm is a complicated mechanism made up of five electrical motors and five joints. Its turret includes HD cameras, a life-detection instrument, a chemical element detector and a percussive drill and coring mechanism, according to JPL.
The rover is expected to launch next summer from Cape Canaveral and reach Mars in February 2021.