Development of a small, lightweight rover with elasticwheels for lunar exploration

Kojiro Iizuka, Tatsuya Sasaki, Hidenori Hama, Atsuro Nishitani, Takeshi Kubota, Ichiro Nakatani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Rovers are one of the most important vehicles used for conducting planetary exploration missions. This paper focuses on a small, lightweight rover that can be used for lunar exploration. It should be noted that, with a small rover, it is difficult to traverse loose soil such as that on the lunar surface. The rocks that cover the lunar surface, moreover, hinder the traversal of a small, lightweight rover. We develop a small, lightweight rover having 2 configurations to solve these tasks. One configuration involves the installation of elastic wheels whose 2 form changes depending on the surface that the rover traverses. The other configuration involves passive suspension using differential gears. We perform running experiments on rovers with these configurations. Experimental results prove that elastic wheels are more efficient than rigid wheels for traversing loose soil. We also found, moreover, that the proposed rover shows good climbing performance. We thus have shown the efficiency of the proposed small, lightweight rover in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1039
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Robotics and Mechatronics
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Elastic wheel
  • Lightweight rovers
  • Lunar exploration
  • Small

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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