Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT)
Mars is a very dusty place. The entire Martian surface is covered by dust. Also many of the rocks may be weathered due to long term exposure to extreme conditions. The composition of the rock at the surface is different from its composition under the surface. The composition of the under the surface is the most important because it is the original composition of the rock. The difference is important to scientists as it may reveal how the rock was formed and the environmental conditions in which it was altered.
The Rock Abrasion Tool is used to grind into the dusty and weathered rock surfaces and expose fresh material for examination by instruments onboard.
The Rock Abrasion Tool is a powerful grinder. It is capable of creating a hole 45 millimeters (about 2 inches) in diameter and 5 millimeters (0.2 inches) deep into a rock on the Martian surface.
The RAT is located on the arm of the rover and weighs less than 720 grams (about 1.6 lbs). There are three electric motors on the RAT which are used to drive rotating grinding teeth into the surface of a rock
The data collected by these instruments have to be telemetered back to earth. Let us see the different communication processes that help the rover to communicate with earth during the various mission stages and transmit information.