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  • Surface Delivery of Microrovers for Exploration: Design Challenges and Solutions

    Paper number



    Dr. Ed Chester, CTAE, Spain


    Mrs. Laura Aivar, UPC (University Politecnics Catalonia), Spain



    Several excellent designs for extremely small, mobile surface elements already exist and are well developed for a range of target bodies. Payloads, range, and overall capability vary considerably, but in general the communications requirement has led to a derived requirement for in-situ communications relay support. This naturally leads to a tethered concept that is then re-used for power supply, thus increasing the lifetime, but reducing the autonomy of microrovers. The best-known example is the Nanokhod rover developed by vH\&S, a 2kg tracked and tethered system suitable for use in a wide variety of locations.
    A major element affecting the overall viability of microrovers to implement or support exploration missions is missing: the delivery and deployment at their target location. This paper examines the requirements (particularly in terms of energy changes) for safely delivering microrovers to a planetary surface and deploying them for their own mission. Scenarios are subsequently developed from the requirements, covering single and multiple microrovers for a dedicated mission, and also as piggyback elements for other lander/rover concepts. A delivery system design is presented for the multiple microrover scenario, with preliminary top-level budgets. We conclude with a brief trade-off in terms of science value, system complexity, and operational context for microrovers.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document