Microrovers assisting humans on the moon and mars

Bruce Betts, Tomas Svitek, Louis Friedman, Mason Peck, James Bell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Microrovers, which we define as one to several kilograms, can greatly assist human presence on the Moon, Mars, and other bodies. There have been a variety of studies of large rovers designed to transport humans, and "medium" sized robotic rovers like those used now on Mars, but until now, microrovers have been a largely unstudied niche, particularly how they could enhance human exploration. For a variety of functions, microrovers have advantages over larger rovers because of their low cost, mass, and volume. Several microrovers could be piggybacked on other missions, and be used at a landing site or outpost. They would be easy to customize and deploy. They also have power advantages due to increased energy collection to mass ratio with smaller sized rovers. Microrovers have many specific valuable uses. They can increase astronaut efficiency and extend human senses by doing reconnaissance and science at a landing site, for example scouting a number of possible traverses for astronauts or larger rovers. They could also be deployed into areas considered too dangerous for humans, or used to shuttle supplies around a site. They also can increase astronaut safety by limiting EVAs to human optimized tasks, by performing facilities inspections, storing emergency supplies, or acting as communication relays between astronauts in the field and their base. Microrovers would also increase public excitement and enable a variety of interesting imaging of the other spacecraft and astronauts, and even provide opportunities for student and public teleoperation in some cases. Like the CubeSat model for spacecraft, a standardized microrover with built-in chassis, electronics, and driving abilities would enable competing of specific scientific and engineering payloads for a variety of applications, and would be well suited to university/student run projects/payloads. Other applications of microrovers exist, but most are more complex (e.g., synergistic operation of many microrovers) or not optimized for the microrover size. Microrovers also have potential applications in precursor robotic and science missions. Microrovers are determined to be valuable assets to assist future human exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010
Pages8166-8169
Number of pages4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Event61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010 - Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: Sep 27 2010Oct 1 2010

Publication series

Name61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010
Volume10

Other

Other61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010
CountryCzech Republic
CityPrague
Period9/27/1010/1/10

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Cite this

Betts, B., Svitek, T., Friedman, L., Peck, M., & Bell, J. (2010). Microrovers assisting humans on the moon and mars. In 61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010 (pp. 8166-8169). (61st International Astronautical Congress 2010, IAC 2010; Vol. 10).