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Robotics Ph.D. Program Carnegie Mellon University
This seminar presents the results of this year's Mobile Robot Design course. The course charter was to design a lunar rover to fulfil the Lunar Rover Initiative, an entertainment oriented mission in support of a commercial theme park venture. The mission offers a 1000 km journey of a pair of semi-autonomous, teleoperated, unmanned lunar rovers over a two-year period from 1998 to 2000. The traverse includes five historical sites: the first manned lunar landing (Apollo 11), the Ranger 5 and Surveyor 8 sites, the last manned lunar landing (Apollo 17), and the trail and grave-site of the Soviet Lunokhod2 unmanned rover.
The lunar rovers are designed to provide a constant imagery stream to a theme park on Earth to support a telepresence attraction. The rovers will also provide vehicle state data and the ability to safeguard their operation to allow untrained operators to drive the vehicle. Additionally, scientific exploration and educa tional outreach will be supported with a user operable, steerable and zoomable camera.
The rovers are designed to allow operations throughout the lunar day and night and are powered by Alkali Metal Thermal to Electric Converters (AMTEC) provided with heat by Krypton-85 gas, a beta-decay source. Panoramic imagery is enabled by a ring of cameras around the rover. A six-wheel rocker bogie mechanism is implemented to propel the rover.
Launch and landing are specified to occur on the Russian Proton Launch Vehicle and a modified Phobos Lander Module. Although this combination can deliver substantial mass to the lunar surface, in this design, rover mass margins were exceeded.