Painting Cars for Mars: Prepping NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover

Painting Cars for Mars We’re putting together a rover. And this is what it will look
like when it gets to Mars. But before we get to this point we’ve got to put
Mars 2020 together. I’m Chris Salvo.
I manage the team that puts together the rover
mechanical subsystem. You see here it’s a fully
assembled chassis. But it’s all still
shiny aluminum. We paint it white so that
it reflects sunlight. The white reflective property
of the paint is important because our paint will need to
survive in temperatures as hot as your oven and down to temperatures colder
than occur any place on Earth. There are lots of areas
on the chassis that must not have
paint on them. And each of those has to be
carefully masked. There can’t be any folds. There
can’t be any stray edges. It all has to be perfect. Otherwise we’ll wind up
with paint in places where we can’t have it or portions of the structure
that are missing paint where we need it. Here we are rolling up to
the paint building. This very special formulation of
paint has to live through all of the difficulties
of getting to Mars, shaking on the launch vehicle, as well as existing on
the surface of Mars in the hot and cold cycles. For the paint to work right, it has to be just the
right thickness and evenly applied. To prepare the
aluminum surfaces, we have to make sure
they’re very clean. The shiny aluminum surface
is then reduced to more of a scuffed surface
that’s ready to accept paint. This generates dust as well. That all has to be cleaned
and vacuumed off so that we don’t have any
particles that are going to get under the paint and keep if from adhering
or cause it to flake off. There are rules for the
application of this paint that include things
like a time limit between when you scuff the
surface of the aluminum and when you have to
apply the paint. Like most of the assembly
of the rover, the painting process is
not fully automated like you might see in a
manufacturing plant, because we’re building
one-of-a-kind machines. When you send a
spacecraft into space, all of what we call the
volatile materials that you take with you– the water that’s absorbed into
things or other chemicals– tend to come out in
the vacuum of space. And they float around
and redeposit on surfaces where
you don’t want. One of the ways to prevent
this is to bake it out. This is one of our larger
thermal vacuum chambers. This oven is 10 feet
in diameter. We cook out all of
those chemicals that might cause us
problems later. After the baking, we
need only to deliver it to the assembly facility. We have to keep it clean, so
we put it in a double bag. When we get to the
assembly building, there’s a room called
an airlock, where we transition from
the dirty outside to the clean inside of
the assembly facility. We very carefully clean
portions of the fixture that are going to touch areas
inside the airlock. The outer bag got dirty outside. So we take that off
and throw it away. And the bag inside
is relatively clean. Then we’re ready to
leave the airlock and come into the main
assembly facility. The descent stage and the cruise
stage are here already. The rover now joins them so
that the whole spacecraft can be put together
and ready for Mars. We can then remove
the inner bag. This is a big moment! All the components that will
control the actions of the rover –all the instruments that will
be looking for things on Mars go inside this chassis, as it forms the foundation
for the entire rover. Starting from a pile of
aluminum panels, it took 4 months and
over 5,000 work hours to get the chassis
to this point. It’ll take another 3 or 4 months
in the assembly facility to turn this chassis into
something that looks like a completed rover. It’ll be an amazing day
for all of us to see this rover on top of the
rocket in July of 2020. [ ♪ ] NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute
of Technology


  • Groovy Grape Gramma!!

    WoW, Thanks NASA for All Your Hard Work 💯

  • Mastershooter 63

    Hope they don't lose their screws

  • Salatiel

    all this work to dirty it with the dust of mars

  • John K

    So basically the mars 2020 rover is just another curiosity rover same size, same color, same weight, same science instruments so nothing much has changed.

  • caitgems1

    K could've loaned you my rover. I won't though, cos you keep losing them 😂👌

  • StudioRGT


  • Simon Davies

    From as hot as an oven to unimaginable cold, see this is what I can't get my head around when I imagine humans in space or the materials that can go through those temperature cycles over and over without failing.


    Good luck NASA!

  • Sridhar Anbanandam

    How can I became a member like you to work for JPL…😎 Love you guys..

  • Antoine de Champlain

    Nice informative video! Great job, keep it up 🙂

  • Kick It

    A NASA can give ideas and i can get paid for it

  • Kick It

    also if i do i need your smartest girls to work by my side and also all the tools i can use for this and give me a background of your seal ……. so i can improve it if i can

  • CMB

    They should paint it Ginger, Ginger people recover extremely quickly from the Suns radiation.

  • jose jesus amayz

    queremos mas videos del Rover 2020

  • András Ács

    Insane complexity and requirements resulting in another magnificent machine, from relatively little money. Every penny is well spent. Go NASA!

  • Camil

    Awesome ! :3

  • Alien

    I can only hope this is going to be a regular feature, the building process of the upcoming Mars 2020 Mars mission, I know I'd love to watch regular updates on how it's going.

  • WrongIetter

    i would love if you made a long video with the whole process, from starting with the aluminium to mounting it to the rocket

  • CheesyStreams

    1:42 that guy is working on this? he cant even pay attention to his own footing, hope they throw him out.

  • Moswyn

    We want more of this ! 🙂

  • Mike Kinseth

    I'm so excited we're sending people to the moon and beyond. Hopefully in my lifetime I'll be able to go to space

  • B RS

    You guys at JPL are making a great job! Not only the rover looks great but the videos are great too.

  • Keenan Finucan

    In my job I see 3D printed parts every day and I had to laugh a bit when I saw this video. It may sound "high tech", but we're always hand sanding, masking off with green tape, hand painting, heating things in ovens, and cleaning parts with alcohol and acetone. Almost funny to see NASA's precision machine requiring the same hands on work.

  • Monica Hopper

    nice narrative Chris!

  • JeffinBville

    So, Benjamin Moore isn't going to work for this, eh?

  • Néstor Buttafuoco

    Pintando sueños… el futuro de la Exploración Espacial depende en parte del éxito de misiones como esta. Ojalá que todo salga más que bien.

  • Rangifulla

    Go Rover!
    Hope you don't end up like the JW telescope.

  • Chandan Sinha

    How do they mount such a bulky thing at the top of the rocket? What's the entire arrangement? An exploded view would be great.

  • Ian Walker

    If it aint broke…. I suppose. Does it have anti-static paint? repel dust? have a brush on a robot arm to clean off dust? a service bay? I guess the dust goes to planned obsolescence and all…

  • Ian Walker

    and why isn't it modular? why not have a module system that can add functions, move functions, interchange functions for better versatility and resilience. Just have a stream of modules arriving to the mars base, launched as cheap as possible, to create an 'ecology' of interchangeable components that can be replaced if needed, or repurposed for less premium missions. An inventory of capability, on Mars… One of the ideas from the Martian, often the only thing that is needed is the tiniest of toeholds, and then things emerge out of chaos.

  • William Haney

    why is paint better then a mirrored surface?

  • Show Pigs

    missed a spot. sue-wee!


    Painters with PhD 's

  • petev23

    Take me with you to Mars

  • Sgt. SLaughter

    You should sell your indestructible paint for Automotive use.
    You'd make a fortune!

  • PaddyPatrone

    wow, please more vids like this

  • vfxforge

    Best prop building video ever :p Adam Savage would approve.

  • Gugiamara2

    We want more, please.

  • TheMoneypresident

    Keep people not in clean suits further away from those with. Might as well have a dog running around.

  • Breakthrough Videos

    So excited for 2020!

  • lissa leggs

    Powder coat process seems to be best for space. Why not powder coat?

  • Redsyrup

    Great video JPL! Thanks for sharing with your fellow Americans! Great work by all talented individuals involved. Your budget should be increased 5000%.

  • Bella Umbrellla

    Amazing work NASA!!!!! Jaw dropping really💖

  • Jon Brisbois

    Get that klutz at 1:44 away from the rover!

  • gazoo5681

    great now when are you going to stop altering the images?

  • Nixter_is_Nick

    The build times are somewhat excessive, safety and reliability should be a priority, but this comes at a cost, time equals money. I can see companies like SpaceX performing these operations at a faster pace while having similar reliability, but at a much lower cost, this would allow for the budget of a project to go into instrumentation and experiments instead of bloated assembly times.

  • january161992

    wow this is nuckin futs and very interesting thanks!

  • Rat 1

    When it goes could you take that dog robot from Boston dynamics?

  • Juan Francisco V.D.

    Good luck NASA
    Good luck Mars 2020 Rover

  • Anmol Agrawal

    1:44 Be more careful the next time, otherwise you're fired.

  • Don Darreb

    A number of people participating, just watching, "monitoring" and "regulating" is mind boggling. No wonder NASA projects are that expensive.

  • Patricia Emilia Gozzi



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *