Hi Shawn, there are lots of different ways we make sure the controls don’t get affected by stuff like that.
Most of the time the controls won’t freeze because just like your laptop at home, they get really hot when they are switched on (but we have to check just to be sure). To make sure though, we always use components that we know are fine in the cold (and hot!). If something really has a problem we may have to just add a little mini heating element to warm it up while its switched on.
Sand and dust is quite a tricky one, it can cause lots of problems, and in the desert it gets absolutely everywhere. With the controls we use screens which dont get scratched easily, and as far as possible we try to seal the control panels so no sand and dust (or water) can get inside to the electronics. Where we cant seal the control panel and we know sand will definitely get in, we cover up the electrical circuits which are behind the switches and screens with this gooey stuff which dries up and protects it. We then test it in a sand chamber to make sure the protection works.