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August 16, 2022
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Mars Robotic Arm Built with Romanian Contribution

Romania will bring its contribution to building advanced space robots that will be used in scientific missions to Mars.

The Romanian team will create three sets of electronic ground support equipment. One will be shipped immediately to NASA in the United States for the last checks before launch, while two will be used in Italy at the Leonardo headquarters.

We have supported Romania’s participation in the optional programme of the European Space Agency robotic and manned exploration precisely to give Romanian space players a chance to participate in ESA projects, increase their degree of technological maturity and have an exchange of knowledge between Romanian and European specialists and even the United States of America.

Marius-Ioan Piso, Chairman of the Romanian Space Agency (ASR)

According to Romanian Space Agency, the European robotic arm measuring 2.5 meters long will pick up vials containing priceless Martian soil as part of the effort to return samples to Earth and transport them to a rocket for an unprecedented interplanetary delivery.

The Mars Sample Return campaign’s success depends on the sophisticated robot, the Sample Transfer Arm, or STA.

Additionally, GMV Romania contributes to the Perception Unit, an electronic component crucial to controlling the robotic arm and whose development is overseen by GMV Spain. The algorithms in this unit use the information from the cameras to help the arm recognize and pick up samples safely.

A collection of subcontractors from many nations are working on the mechanical and structural design for the Perception Unit, and GMV Romania is one of them. Additionally, the Romanian team supports its Spanish counterparts in creating algorithms that enable the arm to “see” its surroundings.

The Romanian scientific community’s contribution to this mission is the tangible outcome of Romanian scientists’ efforts to encourage the country’s development of critical skills for planetary exploration missions. As a result, equipment entirely created in Romania will fly to Mars as part of the Mars Sample Return mission, contributing significantly to the project’s success.

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