Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Picorover with Spikes!

The plain Picorover with blank surface is quite good at climbing moderate slopes. Nonetheless, people suggested that the climbing capabilities could be improved by adding spikes to the surface of the sphere. Well, you don't have to tell us twice! Here is the experiment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Can a Picorover Climb a Slope?

The Picorover team consisting of Raul, Enric and Joshua (leader) are very busy with keeping up to speed with the development of the other rover concepts (Jaluro and WRV1). The Picorover concept has a lot to prove before it can be decided whether it is a feasible design for a lunar rover.

This video shows a feasibility study investigating the dynamical properties of Picorover on a slope. The technical details of the study can be found in Picorover Feasibility Study.

Monday, March 2, 2009

New WRV1 Lunar Rover Mock-up

Here is a new WRV1 lunar rover mock-up from Jörg using the new state of the art wheels, the steering unit and... Stokys (erector set) for the rest. As you can see, there is even plenty of room left for electronics :-)

From WRV1: Wheeled Rover Vehicle 1

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scaled WRV1 wheel design for the Jaluro lunar rover

As some people have already noticed, one of the advantages of having several competing rover designs being developed in an open-source way is that they can share common components across the designs. An example of this is Jörg's impressive wheel design for his WRV1 lunar rover prototype, which is now also available in an up-scaled version that could be used for the Jaluro lunar rover prototype.

Jaluro is the two-wheeled rover design, while WRV1 is the four-wheeled rover design that can "bend" in the middle. Consequently, Jaluro achieves static stability by moving the center of mass below the axe and therefore needs larger wheels that the WRV1 rover.

WRV1 Lunar Rover:
From WRV1: Wheeled Rover Vehicle 1

Jaluro Lunar Rover:
From Jaluro: Just Another Lunar Rover

Sounds interesting? Feel free to contribute with your ideas in the discussion forums for the Jaluro and the WRV1 lunar rover prototypes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Ørsted

Today, Feb 23 2009, we could celebrate the 10th anniversary of the first Danish satellite called Ørsted. The main scientific objective of the Ørsted mission was to map the Earth's magnetic field and collect data to determine the changes occurring in the magnetic field.

While a satellite turning 10 years is no big deal on its own, the Ørsted satellite is remarkable in many ways. Despite a very low budget, it provided highly valuable science results published in many prominent scientific journals and graced the cover pages of Geophysical Research Letters, Nature and Eos. Former NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin was rumored to have a model of the Ørsted satellite on display in his office, because it exemplified his "faster, better, cheaper" philosophy.

Ørsted was originally designed to have an operational life time of 14 months, which was eventually extended to a few years. Today, 10 years later, you can still hear it transmit science data in the 2.2 GHz satellite band.

Ørsted is also a satellite that has survived a close encounter with another spacecraft. On March 20, 2001, Ørsted was merely 3.25 km away from collision with the Argentinean SAC-C satellite - a distance that at orbital velocities corresponds to no more than half a second!

In 2010, Ørsted will be replaced by the European Space Agency's Swarm mission. Swarm will consist of three identical satellites that will measure Earth's magnefic field with even higher presicision and resolution. The concept has been developed by Danish scientists and is based on the experience gained through the Ørsetd mission.

The Ørsted satellite by Jan Erik Rasmussen, DTU Space.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Finished WRV1 wheels

I can tell you Jörg has been busy this week but now he has finished two wheels for the WRV1 lunar rover (and we still have the prototype with the disc hub). Have a nice weekend everybody - we'll be back next week with more news.
From WRV1: Wheeled Rover Vehicle 1

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Steering Unit for the WRV1 Lunar Rover

The steering unit in the middle of the WRV1 lunar rover is a critical component because it defines the dynamical properties of the rover - in particular its ability to maneuver. Jörg has now manufactured the three key parts that allow the rover body to bend around two axes.