August 8, 2019
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory teams with Autodesk to explore new approaches to designing an interplanetary lander. JPL and Autodesk have engaged in a multi-year collaborative research project so that JPL can explore new approaches to design and manufacturing processes for space exploration, with the custom application of Autodesk’s generative design technology.
Mark Davis, the senior director of industry research at Autodesk, was part of the team that first approached JPL about a collaboration. “They were clear that they weren’t interested in incremental gains: if they were only able to improve performance by 10%, they basically weren’t interested. If we could deliver software tools to help them achieve a performance improvement of 30% or more, then we had their attention. This project demonstrates that Autodesk technologies may deliver mass savings at this level.”
The concept lander, a complicated structure that uses generative design, was unveiled at Autodesk University on November 13th 2018 in Las Vegas.
For the lander project, the JPL team explored the use of experimental generative design technology for multiple structural components, including the internal structure that holds the scientific instruments, and the external structure that connects the lander legs to the main payload box.