Design of a Mars Rover Mobility System


J. Trunins; A. Curley; B. Osborne (2012), JBIS65, 87-97

Refcode: 2012.65.87
Keywords: Mars, micro-rover, space exploration

Future space exploration requires close study of extraterrestrial bodies such as Mars. The Mars micro-rover proposal was configured to closely meet the requirements of scientists and budget criteria. Due to the hostility of the Martian environment a reliable mobility system must be integrated to the rover concept. This project demonstrates the feasibility of such a design drawing on current data. The design was governed by the operational lifespan of the vehicle, a period of one Martian year at latitude of 30 degrees. The project provides a step-by-step simulation of the rover’s mobility system design. Furthermore the design provides and integrates all vital sub-systems required for successful operation of the Mars rover. A primary consideration during the design process of the rover was ease of integration with an array of different payloads. Potential payloads are constrained by the mass of 1067 g., space availability of 110 by 100 by 45 mm and the availability of power 85.4 W. Although only a conceptual design, this report summarises of all required design parameters for future rover development.

Today Mars exploration is one of the most popular areas of research. Different methodologies are implemented accordingly to various mission requirements. Observation satellite use can give wide area cover, while surface landing probes give accurate details. Mobile vehicles allow achieving both, however at a cost to pay. The mission that involves mobile rover is extremely costly and requires high reliability.

The use of small size rovers will allow minimising expenditure on a project. The design of the multi-purpose rover with possibility to use different payloads will give higher mission safety. This will be achieved by utilisation of the same structure bus.

This project will present preliminary studies for the conceptual design of Mars micro rover mobility system. Furthermore, it will summarise the steps required for the rover sub-system architecture. It is proposed that the successful mobility system is the rover design with all required sub-systems to enable onboard payload to operate safely. The report also gives description of the design process itself and aims to be a guide for a future research work.

In general the report will present micro rover design as the answer to the Mars mobility system design problem. The decision was made to concentrate on overall rover design as autonomous mobility system. The size of the rover as the micro-rover was selected to achieve low mass and low power requirement but still be capable of performing wide range of experiments.