Presentation on theme: "Microrovers: Current and Past Examples and Conclusions Microrover Space Horizons Workshop Brown University Feb. 16, 2012 Bruce Betts, Ph.D. The Planetary."— Presentation transcript:
Microrovers: Current and Past Examples and Conclusions Microrover Space Horizons Workshop Brown University Feb. 16, 2012 Bruce Betts, Ph.D. The Planetary Society
What is a microrover? –No precise definition currently. –One example: 1 to roughly 10 kg; MUSES-CN to Sojourner Lots of examples in design and Earth use, only Sojourner in flight We’ll look at microrovers: –Coolness –Catalog –Examples –Uses –Conclusions Microrovers
Why are microrovers cool? Low cost, mass, volume imply: –Several can be piggybacked on missions –Increase capability, decrease risk for low cost –Power advantage: higher power to mass ratio for smaller rovers –Can use in riskier ways if desired, –Mitigate risk by flying multiple –Easy to deploy Microrovers lead to new paradigms
Background: Cornell/TPS Microrovers Project The Planetary Society –Bruce Betts –Louis Friedman –Doug Stetson –Interns Cornell University –Jim Bell (later ASU) –Mason Peck –Joseph Shoer –Yervant Terzian –S/C Engineering class Stellar Exploration –Tomas Svitek and associates Independent –Tom Jones TM at JPL –Brian Wilcox Much of what is presented here came out of a Cornell/Planetary Society project (NASA Steckler Grant) to study Microrovers for use with astronauts. Though focus with astronauts, many products/conclusions remain useful for robotic only
Microrover Catalog Created online microrover catalog What has been done for space and Earth on microrovers. Want to help new groups: –Not reinvent “the wheel” –Stimulate design thoughts One stop info on over 100 Terrestrial and Planetary Rovers (up to 100 kg for comparison) Tells us what we missed
How can we use microrovers? –Reconnaissance: scout possible traverses (e.g., for large rover, or for astronauts) even more efficient if use multiple several microrovers quickly explore area compared to one large rover –Science: wide range possible from imaging to contact science depending on payload. –High risk exploration, e.g., steep slopes, lava tubes
How can we use microrovers (2) Increasing Astronaut/Big Rover Safety –Enable focusing EVAs/Big rover traverses on optimized tasks –Facilities Inspection –Communications relays for astronauts working “over the next hill”
How can we use microrovers (3) Increase Public Excitement/Involvement –Will be “fun” and engaging for the public –Enable additional perspectives imaging spacecraft, facilities, and astronauts (family portrait) Increase Student Involvement –Like CubeSat analogy, standardized microrover conducive to university/student run projects –Can have limited student/public teleoperation
Design Studies We did some basic design studies One semester long Cornell engineering design class on this topic (~50 students) Provided input to follow-on professional study (Stellar/TPS/Cornell), which distilled and added to student studies, and developed general and specific conclusions
Some General Conclusions Microrovers 1 - 11 kg offer unique benefits and risks, significantly different from larger rovers Paradigm shift: not a single rover that does it all, allows new concept of operations A group of microrovers may accomplish more, with fewer issues of reliability and lower cost than a single, large rover Low mass and easily stowed, microrovers adaptable to flexible, everyday use compared to larger
Specific Conclusions Power/insulation solutions exist to allow a microrover to survive the lunar night; Mechanically matching an astronaut's speed should not be a driving requirement for the rover's mobility subsystem. Instead: –Virtual proximity through network, and –Recon, science, inspection prior to or in place of astronaut EVA Microrovers can provide GPS-like position knowledge
Specific Conclusions (2) Microrovers could have same core design, but portions including payload could reconfigured, ideally in a plug-and- play fashion. Working collaboratively as a network allows tasks to be shared among many nodes, including communications relay. Teleoperation, autonomous, or both. Ideally, both – at least limited autonomy.
Web and Email http://planetary.org/microrovers (Microrover catalog and additional info/papers from TPS/Cornell study) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org@planetary.org Let me know what is missing from catalog.