Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Moon #Rover Ditches Wheels

#NASA astronaut proposes a hover-craft-like planetary rover design to sidestep the Mars rover’s problem of wheels getting stuck in sand. Look for a vertical takeoff Moon-rover from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory to be entered in Google's Lunar X-Prize for the first commercial rover to traverse the moon in 2014. RColinJohnson @NextGenLog

Talaris consists of the carbon fiber vehicle, four electric ducted fans to simulate lunar gravity, lithium polymer batteries to power the fans, compressed gas thrusters and nitrogen tanks to provide the fuel and thrust to maneuver the vehicle.

Here is what Smarter Technology says about the new rover design: The rover called Spirit has become a "stationary science platform" on Mars, but not by choice. After months of attempting to free its wheels from a Martian sand trap, NASA has simply given up. That gave NASA astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman, now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an idea: why not equip rovers with a gas thruster that allows them to rise above obstacles? The result is called the Terrestrial Artificial Lunar and Reduced Gravity Simulator, or Talaris, as described at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space Conference in late August.
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