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For the past eight months, the Mars rover Curiosity has been traveling through space in a protective capsule at speeds up to 70,000mph. On August 5th, 2012, it entered Mars’ atmosphere at 13,000mph and slowed to under 2mph, just 21 feet from the surface. As it hovered above the ground, the module carrying Curiosity lowered it on a crane to a gentle landing with no assistance from Earth. There was only one chance to get it right.
So NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) first ran hundreds of simulations to plan for multiple conditions – some impossible to replicate on Earth. This meant enlisting large teams of scientists and engineers across the country to work with the most advanced software and hardware available.
"The Curiosity landing is the hardest NASA mission ever attempted in the history of robotic planetary exploration."
Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate
For this unprecedented challenge, NASA partnered with Siemens PLM Software, employing our solutions to help develop this amazing spacecraft. JPL implemented NX™ as an end-to-end mechanical design platform. NX provided JPL with a fully integrated CAD/CAM/CAE(computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing/computer-aided engineering) system, which they used to develop the mechanical portions of the rover. JPL also uses Teamcenter® software, which enables a single source of structured product and process information management throughout the digital lifecycle.
As a result, the widely dispersed development team at JPL was able to digitally design, test, assemble, and simulate the entire Mars rover before a single physical prototype was created, while accounting for every step of the process in real time.
A Modern CAE Environment for Integrated Thermal and Flow Analysis
This webinar explores the thermal and fluid analysis capabilities that exist within the suite of NX CAE solutions from Siemens PLM Software. Working with examples from the automotive, aerospace and electronics industries, you will learn how these capabilities are seamlessly integrated – not only with one another, but with related simulation disciplines such as structural analysis. Bob Krylo, a mechanical engineer at JPL, is a featured customer speaker.
Today, Curiosity is ready to rove the red planet, hoping to learn whether it once supported life – or might still. While somewhere in America the people of Siemens continue to create answers that will make a lasting impression here on Earth.
Images Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech
JPL shares how NX CAE has helped all-but-eliminate manual simplification of CAD geometry for analysis.
Manager of Thermal/Cryogenic Engineering
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
An insightful overview of the challenges and unique solutions employed by JPL in developing the Mars rover.
Manager of the Mechanical Systems Division
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
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