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#1 2004-01-17 10:32:00

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

What if we landed a rover that was a slightly reduced version of the manned exploration vehicle (see link, #11) with the idea that it would be a permanent rover that could constantly travel the martian surface exploring?  It would have to have a lot of redundancy built in for mission critical systems: backup computers, modems...  It would be completely solar powered and would need some way to routinely clean it's solar panels.  Maybe have a long extendable arm with changeable attachments: drill, soil scoop, soil coring tool...that could dump soil samples into internal experiments.

[http://www.spaceuniverse.com/WS_Content … eryUnq=196]http://www.spaceuniverse.com/WS_Cont....Unq=196

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#2 2004-01-17 20:00:12

Martian Apollo
Banned
From: Florida
Registered: 2004-01-08
Posts: 9
Website

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

Cool!


"We need to get back into that Saturn V world mentality."
Gene Cernan -- Commander Apollo 17

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#3 2004-01-18 03:24:05

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

Yes, but... On solar alone you won't get very far, i think... This is a *big* machine, compared to Spirit. You could of course use the original design, minus it's fuell cells, (or temporarily disable them) and drive a little, then let it 'rest' to recharge it's batteries... then drive a little.
I don't think non-stop operation would be possible.
Of course, it would be cool to launch it before a human mission, let it do some exploring of the human landing-site, and when the crew lands, hey presto, a taxi on stand-by, ready to go wherever they want (just fill it up with hydrogen)

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#4 2004-01-18 10:35:04

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

It wouldn't be designed to go very far at a time.  I'm not sure how NASA guides the rovers with the long delay in signal transmit time but it seems to me that a picture would be taken of the area ahead and then NASA would send a course to the vehicle/rover for it to take to avoid large rocks.  A better idea is to actually have some way for the rover to be independant and identify the best course to take, avoiding large rocks and craters, to a new site.  Four 33" x 66" 185 watt solar panels providing 740 watts wouldn't be enough to go very far at a time.  Maybe have a small nuclear reactor?  But then you have heavy shielding to deal with, hmm.

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#5 2004-01-18 17:21:41

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

Power isn't the only challenge rovers have with longevity - the harsh temperatures, winds and clogging dusts and fines will eventually degrade the rover's scientific instruments, wheels and motors. It would be prohibitively expensive to design a rover that would be able to withstand Martian conditions for several years - you'd need so many backups and self-repair mechanisms that it wouldn't be worth it.

But as we can see, the rovers are getting tougher and bigger. Soon there won't be any need to have a permanent rover since we'll be sending rovers with longer lifespans more frequently - I'd expect the next rover to last for at least half a year.


Editor of New Mars

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#6 2004-01-19 15:16:55

jadeheart
Banned
From: barrow ak
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 134

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

The lead article on SpaceDaily addresses this today.  It talks about the next-gen rover being nuclear-powered.

[http://www.spacedaily.com/news/mars-general-04d.html]Link


You can stand on a mountaintop with your mouth open for a very long time before a roast duck flies into it.  -Chinese Proverb

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#7 2004-01-19 15:56:34

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

Huh? ?  Thanks Jadeheart, for pointing this out.

2009? First time i heard of this, is this real? I thouht they were going to launch some other stuff, in preparation to ISRU...

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#8 2004-01-19 16:06:34

Josh Cryer
Moderator
Registered: 2001-09-29
Posts: 3,830

Re: Permanent Rover Idea

They are. Next year they'll be launching a Martian telecommunications satellite which'll have tons of bandwidth. There's a timeline somewhere about upcoming missions, I can't find a link though.

Oh, I found it, here you go: [http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/mars_future.html]http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/mars_future.html


Some useful links while MER are active. Offical site NASA TV JPL MER2004 Text feed
--------
The amount of solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth totals some 3.9 million exajoules a year.

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