Ambient temperature is a big deal for machinery. Indramat motion control systems usually require a temperature above freezing for best performance. Most facilities can manage this without too much effort.

Bu there are exceptions. For example, the moon.

Nighttime on the moon can get down to -280 degrees. Ice soit on the moon has shown temperatures of -410 degrees Fahrenheit. And nighttime on the moon can last for 14 Earth days. This means that machinery used for any purpose on the moon must be able to withstand extreme cold temperatures.


NASA’s solution is a new robotic arm called COLDArm. That stands for “Cold Operable Lunar Deployable Arm.” The object is to make it possible to work during the lunar nights.  Made of bulk metallic glass, COLDArm is stronger than steel and won’t break even in extreme cold. The material does not require any lubrication or heating.

It’s being built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It uses a six-axis force torque sensor and two cameras.


COLDArm is intended for the Artemis mission. Artemis aims to land a man and a woman on the moon within the next few years. The plan is to build a sustainable presence on the moon with a view to using it as a stepping stone to Mars. The multinational space force on the moon will prepare for a crewed flight to Mars and perhaps beyond.

Planned for a series of 11 missions, the Artemis project will include a Lunar Gateway (the first space station in orbit around the Moon), Artemis Base Camp on the moon itself, a Space Launch System, the Orion rocket, and more.

The first five Artemis missions are already planned, and the trip to Mars is anticipated for the 2030s or 2040s.