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Proceedings Paper

Lightweight rovers for Mars science exploration and sample return
Author(s): Paul S. Schenker; Lee F. Sword; A. J. Ganino; Donald B. Bickler; Gregory Scott Hickey; D. K. Brown; Eric T. Baumgartner; Larry Henry Matthies; Brian H. Wilcox; Tucker Balch; Hrand Aghazarian; Michael S. Garrett
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Paper Abstract

We report on the development of new mobile robots for Mars exploration missions. These 'lightweight survivable rover (LSR)' systems are of potential interest to both space and terrestrial applications, and are distinguished from more conventional designs by their use of new composite materials, collapsible running gear, integrated thermal-structural chassis, and other mechanical features enabling improved mobility and environmental robustness at reduced mass, volume, and power. Our first demonstrated such rover architecture, LSR-1, introduces running gear based on 2D composite struts and 3D machined composite joints, a novel collapsible hybrid composite-aluminum wheel design, a unit-body structural- thermal chassis with improved internal temperature isolation and stabilization, and a spot-pushbroom laser/CCD sensor enabling accurate, fast hazard detection and terrain mapping. LSR-1 is an approximately .7 $MIL 1.0 meter(Lambda) 2(W X L) footprint six-wheel (20 cm dia.) rocker-bogie geometry vehicle of approximately 30 cm ground clearance, weighing only 7 kilograms with an onboard .3 kilogram multi-spectral imager and spectroscopic photometer. By comparison, NASA/JPL's recently flown Mars Pathfinder rover Sojourner is an 11+ kilogram flight experiment (carrying a 1 kg APXS instrument) having approximately .45 X .6 meter(Lambda) 2(WXL) footprint and 15 cm ground clearance, and about half the warm electronics enclosure (WEE) volume with twice the diurnal temperature swing (-40 to +40 degrees Celsius) of LSR- 1 in nominal Mars environments. We are also developing a new, smaller 5 kilogram class LSR-type vehicle for Mars sample return -- the travel to, localization of, pick-up, and transport back to an Earth return ascent vehicle of a sample cache collected by earlier science missions. This sample retrieval rover R&D prototype has a completely collapsible mobility system enabling rover stowage to approximately 25% operational volume, as well an actively articulated axle, allowing changeable pose of the wheel strut geometry for improved transverse and manipulation characteristics.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 September 1997
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 3208, Intelligent Robots and Computer Vision XVI: Algorithms, Techniques, Active Vision, and Materials Handling, (26 September 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.290300
Show Author Affiliations
Paul S. Schenker, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Lee F. Sword, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
A. J. Ganino, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Donald B. Bickler, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Gregory Scott Hickey, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
D. K. Brown, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Eric T. Baumgartner, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Larry Henry Matthies, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Brian H. Wilcox, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Tucker Balch, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Hrand Aghazarian, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Michael S. Garrett, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3208:
Intelligent Robots and Computer Vision XVI: Algorithms, Techniques, Active Vision, and Materials Handling
David P. Casasent, Editor(s)

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