MEMS or micro electro mechanical systems is very promising technology. The small size and its very high efficiency and robustness make MEMS devices suitable for a wide range of applications. MEMS is one of the key enabling technology to create cost-effective, ultra-miniaturized, robust, and functionally focused spacecraft for both robotic and human exploration programs. Space exploration in the coming century will emphasize cost effectiveness and highly focused mission objectives, which will result in frequent multiple missions that broaden the scope of space science and to validate new technologies on a timely basis.
Examples of MEMS devices at various stages of development include;
- Qadrupole mass spectrometer, and
- Micro-propulsion engine.
These devices, when proven successful, will serve as models for developing components and systems for new-millennium spacecrafts, robots, sensors etc.
The other areas of MEMS technology which are under research are;
- MEMS based systems for radioactive environments.
- Micro power generators for long duration space missions. (Such as Mars exploration)
- Highly efficient LASER can be realized using MEMS technology.
- Use of MEMS robots for repairing and house-keeping large satellites, space stations etc.
The list still goes on...