Design of a Day/Night Lunar Rover.
CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA ROBOTICS INST
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The pair of lunar rovers discussed in this report will return video and state data to various ventures, including theme park and marketing concerns, science agencies, and educational institutions. The greatest challenge accepted by the design team was to enable operations throughout the extremely cold and dark lunar night, an unprecedented goal in planetary exploration. This is achieved through the use of the emerging technology of Alkali Metal Thermal to Electric Converters AMTEC, provided with heat from a innovative beta-decay heat source, Krypton-85 gas. Although previous space missions have returned still images, our design will convey panoramic video from a ring of cameras around the rover. A six-wheel rocker bogie mechanism is implemented to propel the rover. The rovers will also provide the ability to safeguard their operation to allow untrained members of the general public to drive the vehicle. Additionally, scientific exploration and educational outreach will be supported with a user operable, steerable and zoomable camera.