NASA today announced the recipients of their SBIR ("Small Business Innovation Research") grants, among which were quite a few robotics projects. Lots of them have to do with power sources or sensors, but one I found particularly interesting is the DC brushless motor that can withstand the harsh atmosphere of Venus. From the proposal:
Honeybee Robotics proposes development of high temperature scoop and joint; and continued development of an extreme temperature brushless DC motor and a resolver. All hardware will be demonstrated in simulated Venus surface conditions. During Phase I, a first-generation prototype BLDC motor and resolver were designed, built and tested in Venus-like conditions (460oC temperature, mostly CO2 gas environment). The Phase I tests demonstrated the feasibility of the design through verification that the motor and the resolver can operate at 460oC for an extended period of time. A further developed and optimized version of this motor and resolver could be used to actuate sample acquisition systems, robotic arms, and other devices outside of an environment-controlled landed platform on the surface of Venus.
460 deg C? For the non-metric among us, that's 860 deg F. Wow.