What makes a rover rove? At the very basic level, it comes down to gears, and all the gears have to made very precisely: there’s no going to Mars to fix anything that doesn’t move just right. This video shows how a gear company in Rockford, Illinois made all the gears for the Curiosity rover — created from titanium — putting in extra hours and effort to get everything just right (they also made the gears for the Mars Exploration Rovers).
It also subtly emphasizes how the money spent on space exploration isn’t just stuffed into a rocket and blasted into space. Almost all of Curiosity’s parts were made from different companies in 33 states in the US; the rest came from companies in partner countries, all which employs hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
You have to bet that every person who created or touched any of the parts — big or small — on Curiosity were just as jazzed as the cheering team at JPL when the rover landed successfully. And that Curiosity is working so well and roving around in Gale Crater has to be a a great feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction, too.
The video comes from a series about Rockford, Illinois called “Our City, Our Story.”