Picokeystoning this week at JSC

Andrew and I (Dave) are at JSC in Houston this week taking test picokeystones with Ron (of NASA) from the interstellar flight spare. On Tuesday and Wednesday we made several test cuts with the needle arms extended all the way across the collector (see picture), creating the worst-case scenario in terms of vibration. In this situation, it turns out that the epoxy needle arms may not be rigid enough to support the mass of the needle holder so far away from the micromanipulator. However, running the cut at a very slow velocity has proven to be very successful in reducing vibration, even with the standard stainless steel arms. With this technique, we’ll try to make an extraction today or tomorrow. Stay tuned!