On Nov. 12, the European Space Agency (ESA) successfully landed a small laboratory on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The lander featured ten instruments which may provide important clues to the origin of life. Two DC motors made by drive specialist Maxon Motor are on board the mission.
For the first time in the history of space exploration, scientists have access to substantial data from a comet's surface. The Philae lander has a mass of 100 kg and features ten instruments. Maxon Motor is proud to be part of this mission. The Swiss-based drive specialist provided two DC motors, with a diameter of 13 mm each. These motors will be used to lower the APXS instrument to the ground.
The APXS is an alpha x-ray spectrometer that is used to record the chemical composition of Chury and provide information on the presence of key elements such as carbon and oxygen. The instrument was developed at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
The individual instruments will now be activated automatically in sequence. After a day and a half, precise micromotors will lower the APXS from the lander's belly to the surface of the comet. The drives will then be evaluated to determine if they survived the 10-year journey unscathed.