On February 18th, 2021, the Perseverance rover landed on Mars with a plan to collect geographical specimens by drilling into the red plant. One of the many challenges NASA overcame putting together this mission was to find a material strong enough to drill into the planet’s dense surface.
The drill bit tip that will be tasked with extracting samples was made from material manufactured in Langford by Kennametal, a global company that creates tools and technologies for aerospace, earthworks, energy, general engineering and transportation.
Twice as strong as steel, the company’s tungsten carbide blanks are used for hardrock mining here on earth — the toughest grade blanks, K92, are used on the rover.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory first began ordering and testing the material in 2014, making the decision in 2018 to use it for the Perseverance.