Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Great Big Tiny Lesson

We are now on the infamous "lighting hold," on lock-down in the hangar until the storm rages past. Seems like a perfect time to explain the above picture, what could have ruined the entire experiment before it even left the ground. This is actually the victory shot after Matt and one of NASA's best (a mechanical engineer as well) were able to coax a broken ball rod end out of its threading. According to Matt, this piece secures the critical mount for the shock assembly that is responsible for transmitting the load that pushes the wheel down into the regolith. This critical piece got broken in transit, but a little patience and overnight shipping did the trick.

The photo below, pre-fix, demonstrates the contrast of moods in the room. Jim unwittingly came in with a cart full of goodies while Matt -- well, you can see what Matt was thinking. In any case, this is yet another example of how often engineers have to deal with problems as they come and count on each other for ideas, technical support and maybe a little sympathy.  

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