Success for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

February 2021 News

The rover Perseverance landed in the Jezero Crater on Mars on February 18. Several electric drives from maxon are used in the ambitious mission - among other things, when the helicopter brought along takes off for its first flight.

"We are incredibly relieved and happy about the successful landing," says Eugen Elmiger, CEO maxon Group. He and many employees involved in the Mars project followed the landing of the Mars2020 mission live in a virtual chat and cheered when the safe touchdown of the rover in the Jezero crater was confirmed. After all, ten BLDC motors and a special gearhead from maxon are used in the Perseverance rover. Six brushed maxon DCX motors are in the small helicopter drone that is attached to the underside of the rover and will soon make its first ever flight on Mars. Elmiger adds, "Many years of hard work have gone into these Mars drives. Our engineers, together with the specialists at JPL, have repeatedly improved the components and subjected them to all kinds of tests to ensure that they do their job on Mars."

The Perseverance rover and the Mars helicopter Ingenuity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

First step for the retrieval of Mars samples

One of the most important tasks of Perseverance is to collect up to 30 soil samples, fill them individually into containers, seal them, and finally place them on the surface so that a later mission can collect the samples and bring them back to Earth. Among other things, JPL uses maxon's electric drives to move the robotic arm that navigates the soil samples inside the rover from station to station. In addition, maxon motors are used for sealing the containers and placing them, and the mechanism that sets the helicopter down is also moved by a maxon BLDC motor. Mars2020 is the start to a whole series of missions with the goal of bringing Mars samples back to Earth, and maxon components will continue to play an important role.

The maxon Group, with global sales of CHF 568 million, is mainly active in medical technology and industrial automation. Space applications only constitute a small portion of maxon’s orders, but the high requirements push maxon to the next level. This is evident in the increased quality standards, as well as new testing methods and processes. And of course they exert a special fascination on the employees involved. Or as Kathrin Tschersich, head of Project Samples at maxon, puts it: "It makes me very proud to know that products that have passed through my hands are being used on Mars."

Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Cable, components and critical space exploration
February 2021, ABB South Africa , News
ABB provides Ty-Rap cable ties for NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover mission.

ABB sensor onboard SpaceX rocket to detect greenhouse gas emissions
February 2021, ABB South Africa , News
An optical sensor manufactured by ABB was deployed with the successful launch of satellite Hugo from GHGSat, the emerging leader in greenhouse gas sensing services in space.

Eye-openers for the process industry
January 2021, Endress+Hauser South Africa , News
For a long time, Industry 4.0 was little more than a vision. Now, the benefits of digital services are becoming apparent in real environments.

40 years of innovation
January 2021, Beckhoff Automation , News
Founded 40 years ago, Beckhoff Automation’s anaging director and founder, Hans Beckhoff, talks about the company’s many achievements.

CSIR and Siemens partner to boost the South Africa’s 4IR competitiveness
February 2021, Siemens Digital Industries , News
South Africa’s pursuit of being a key player in the Fourth Industrial Revolution received a massive boost as the CSIR and Siemens South Africa entered into a partnership to empower the country’s economy.

Parker presents first 'Expert Insights' tech talk on routes to carbon zero
February 2021, Parker Hannifin - Sales Company South Africa , News
Parker Hannifin will present the first in a new series of “Expert Insights” tech talks on Thursday 4 February.

Obituary: Chris du Plessis: 14 June 1959 – 12 January 2021
February 2021, SA Gauge , News
Chris started a company called Techniman in 1986 selling other companies’ products, but in 1992, Chris and his wife Judith founded SA Gauge.

February 2021, Valve & Automation, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control) , News

Danfoss ushers in the digital sensor age
February 2021, Danfoss , News
With the adoption of an ever-growing digital world, Danfoss Industrial Automation has repositioned itself as Danfoss Sensing Solutions, representing the union of application-driven sensor technologies and unparalleled commitment to helping customers navigate their journey into the digital frontier.

Endress+Hauser makes instrument selection easier on
February 2021, Endress+Hauser South Africa , News
With the introduction of the new FLEX product segmentation structure, integration of the global E-direct portal into the website and further optimisation of the e-commerce area on, finding and ordering the right products online will be even faster and easier for customers.