A little late coming but here’s the latest news from the Surrey camp!
Last week we attended the Critical Design Review at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Holland, with the other 7 competitors to present our work to date to ESA. This was followed by discussion of our (and each of the other University entrants) designs. Fortunately for us our design was met with mostly encouraging noises. You can see an early CAD model of it below.
We’re looking at taking the Pioneer 3-AT base and replacing the wheel with large, deployable tracks. This will ensure the greatest amount of traction possible, while making tackling obstables far easier than our earlier designs. We do this through a control mechanism allowing us to adjust the pitch of the tracks, this makes the rover retain its size constraints when stowed. The video below shows the tracks deploying.
We’ve also been working hard to build a testing area for our rover designs. We now have a (VERY) large sandpit giving us a 40° slope of sand to test our designs traction on. Here’s a few photos of the pit being built.
Which has allowed us to try some preliminary track belt tests using one of our existing nanorovers using its standard tracks:
And the infamous video showing it is possible for a low, tracked rover to flip itself over trying to tackle a loose, sandy slope!
And finally our Qualisys motion capture equipment is up and running too, letting us accurately measure the traction properties of our rovers
We have also found out the challenge will be held on Mount Teide in Tenerife. It’s a popular location for testing of this nature due to its similarities with the Martian and Lunar landscapes. Here’s the view of our “crater” from Google Earth, it doesn’t look like much here but it definately is from the videos we were shown!
Finally here’s the presentation we gave for info on all the work we’re doing.
We’re going to get back to work now to try and get our rover up and running for the Test Readiness Review in September!