This is a high fidelity representation of actual spacecraft hardware, the Surface Sampler Collector Head or "scoop" that was installed on both of the Viking landers launched in 1975 and landed on Mars in 1976. The collector head was attached to the end of an extensible boom or arm (not included in this model) which allowed the collector head to be maneuvered to the Mars surface where soil samples were picked up, and then delievered to science instruments in the lander for analysis. The Viking Surface Sampler hardware was created by the lander prime contractor Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin).
This 3D model includes the internal components needed for the full articulation of the unit's original operation (pivoting upward, rotating inverted, opening lid, folding backhoe, etc.) The model is based on hands-on study (measurements and detailed photography) of actual spare and test hardware at NASA Langley Research Center, the Virginia Air and Space Center, the California Science Center, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, plus documentation from the Viking Mars Missions Education and Preservation Project. This model is a small part of a long-term project to create a complete high-fidelity Viking lander in SketchUp. Renderings of work in progress can be seen in the album listed below.
#NASA #Spacecraft #mars #Viking