A Landsailing Rover for Venus Mobility
G. Landis (2012), JBIS, 65, 373-377
Keywords: Venus, Rover, Wind, Landsailing, Sail
The surface of Venus is a location that is of great interest for future scientific exploration, but designing a rover that can move and conduct science operations on Venus is a difficult task. Electronic and materials technologies are available that could survive the furnace of Venus, but such a rover represents a challenging design problem. One approach to the problem is to make use of the features of the Venus environment, such as the thick atmosphere. A new approach for rover mobility is proposed, in which the rover motive force is produced by a sail. Such a Venus landsailing rover could be small and low powered, since the main power required for motion is generated by the wind, rather than by motors. Although the wind velocities on Venus are low, estimated at 0.6 ± 0.3 m/sec at the Venera landing sites, due to the high density of the atmosphere, sufficient force would be generated on a sail to allow good mobility for a lightweight rover.