Cicoil Cables has teamed up with NASA for the Mars Exploration Program. The Mars Exploration Program is working to discover the possibility of life on Mars, whether it be from the past, the present or in the future. NASA has ongoing missions to find if there once was life on the Red Planet, could we live there someday as well? Cicoil Cables has been enlisted to provide robotic arms for the Mars Science Laboratory, scheduled to launch in 2011.
Today, Cicoil’s robotic arms are being tested by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to ensure that the arms and cables will be able to survive the harsh Martian environment.
From Cicoil Cables: In addition to fit and flexing issues, the Robot Arm is undergoing extreme environmental testing, including high heat, freezing cold, sand, salt, fog, and water. One of the key tests is to test while being exposed to blowing, red ‘Mars Sand,’ which is an-extremely fine, abrasive sand found on the surface of Mars. Cicoil’s silicone cables are designed to operate in this type of extreme environment, which is critical to the successful testing of the new Mars Science Laboratory. Scientists completed the first round of flexing tests in early February. Daniel Limonadi, a NASA engineer involved in the testing said, “We’ve tested the hardware, software and electronics together to ensure that Curiosity’s brain talks to its ‘arm’ and ‘hands’ so we can use it exactly as needed once it is on Mars.”
The robot named “Curiosity” is in the process of having Cicoil’s arms attached and tested. These arms will allow scientists to view Martian rocks and soils “up close and personal.” Cicoil uses a process of encapsulating conductors in silicone that renders them unaffected by severe vibration, G-Forces, shaking motion, extreme temperatures, water, shock and the rigors of supersonic flight. Cicoil’s specialized silicone jacket functions as a shock absorbing material, completely surrounding and supporting each individual component. Cicoil cable does not require a clamping system because the conductors cannot creep out of the silicone encasing them.