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Slideshow: Great Space Rovers
11/20/2012

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The CSA's Rex rover has a robotic arm that simulates collecting Martian rock and soil samples. It travels at 4cm/sec (1.57inch/sec). On its six aluminum or rubber wheels, the rover can navigate over obstacles up to 15cm (5.9 inches) high and climb slopes of up to 10 degrees. Rex weighs 140kg (308.64 pounds) and measures 152 x 142 x 76cm (59.84 x 55.9 x 29.92 inches). It can carry up to 30kg (66.13 pounds) of science payloads. In 2010, the CSA jointly field tested the rover with NASA at the Flagstaff Meteor Crater in Arizona. (Source: Canadian Space Agency)
The CSA's Rex rover has a robotic arm that simulates collecting Martian rock and soil samples. It travels at 4cm/sec (1.57inch/sec). On its six aluminum or rubber wheels, the rover can navigate over obstacles up to 15cm (5.9 inches) high and climb slopes of up to 10 degrees. Rex weighs 140kg (308.64 pounds) and measures 152 x 142 x 76cm (59.84 x 55.9 x 29.92 inches). It can carry up to 30kg (66.13 pounds) of science payloads. In 2010, the CSA jointly field tested the rover with NASA at the Flagstaff Meteor Crater in Arizona.
(Source: Canadian Space Agency)

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Sorry but No Go
Ann R. Thryft   12/6/2012 12:24:57 PM
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These CSA rovers are a long way past "proof of concept." The concept(s) has(have) already been proven by Curiosity. These are correctly named prototypes, but they're not production prototypes, the type ervin007 apparently is thinking of; they're R&D/engineering prototypes, to test different designs and paths to achieving the same goals. CSA joint tests them with NASA, just like they did the Canadarms, and NASA has the means to put these on the moon, on Mars or in space.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: SPACE ROVERS
Ann R. Thryft   11/28/2012 11:36:42 AM
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Thanks, bobjengr. I suspect that information is available somewhere on NASA's websites: our focus here was on the robotics, not on the payload.



mr_bandit
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Iron
Re: What I would like to see
mr_bandit   11/27/2012 3:24:11 PM
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The swarm of small RC autonomous robots have advantages of:

1) 50% or more of each bot is common, making the engineering and manufacturing easier

1a) use a low-power MPU (rad-hard, of course). Main power would be motors

1b) common to the chassis: motor, battery, radio/gps, charging, wheels, etc.

1c) there would be a common method of attaching the instrument package mechanically and electrically

2) terrain: base them on the RC cars that don't care about terrain - they can 4-wheel all they want. Obviously, the instrument packages would need to be robust, but we are dealing with fairly light-weight here in a 0.3G environment

Also see the Flee and the small bots at Boston Dynamics.

Some bots would be "refueling", ie go up to another bot and charge it up. They may be heavier than an instrument, so they can service several

 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: What I would like to see
Rob Spiegel   11/27/2012 3:09:03 PM
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Good idea, Mr_bandit. This make real sense. A volume of small robots spread across Mars might be the right may to explore the planet.

mr_bandit
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Re: What I would like to see
mr_bandit   11/27/2012 1:55:38 PM
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Considering the Bouncy Ball delivery system did roughly a ton, and the "drop and pray" did two tons, they can deliver quite a load.

Assume each mini-rover is 20 lb. 100 would be 2000 or one ton. put the mother ship at another ton. That would work.

Also, by having a common body/chassis, the manufacturing is simpler.

I suspect the NIH factor at all levels - NASA is  really prone to this. They tend to think in Big Things.

There would need to be a parallel project to put GPS satellites in orbit for the Mother and bots to track each other, plus communications to bounce a signal over the horizon (ie can use very low-power transceivers).

I was in Winslow for the nigh, so it was early the next morning, so traffic was very light. Peaceful. Easy. Feeling good because I was on the way home and my truck was running good (after the fuel pump failed in the middle of the Mojave).

Since I went thru the area the night before, it was dark and I missed stopping at Meteor City - something that only people driving past will ever see. They advertise as having the longest RT 66 map. Cool building...

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/14538

http://www.doney.net/aroundaz/route66/meteorcity.htm

http://www.vgg.com/otr/crater.html

ervin0072002
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Re: What I would like to see
ervin0072002   11/27/2012 1:41:46 PM
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I like the idea of small robots and swarms. Its a very nice idea. The issue would be weight. The smaller they get the more systems will be repeated from one unit to another. Also each unit will have its own protective shell, battery, charging system, motor system, guidance system, central processor. and while all these things have become relatively cheap and small it will still be difficult since they will add up from one unit to anothre. also the terrain is undefined, environment is undefined, etc.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: What I would like to see
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/27/2012 12:54:10 PM
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Ya'll just need to Take it Easy,,,,

(thanks Bandit ,,,)

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Sorry but No Go
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   11/27/2012 12:51:23 PM
I try to govern my thoughts & comments, to allow unconventional concepts to sink-in ,,,, you know, "There's no such thing as a Stupid Comment" ,,,, and really consider the intent before passing judgment.  But even after pondering, these slides, I don't endorse them as viable.  Slide 1 is prone to getting stuck in a small ditch.  Slide2 is a dune buggy. Slide 3 carries 500 pounds but has no arms to pick anything up?  The concepts get a little more stable in the subsequent slides, but overall, they don't seem to be well conceived.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: What I would like to see
Ann R. Thryft   11/27/2012 12:33:23 PM
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mr_bandit, that sounds like an interesting alternative approach. I wonder if a) NASA and/or CSA have already considered and rejected this "client-server"-like model of lunar and Mars rovers, or b) that's something they haven't thought of. I wouldn't be surprised if the answer is a) and they rejected it based on the much higher cost of shipping all that stuff. (BTW, did you see "a girl my lord in a flat bed Ford"?)

mr_bandit
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Re: What I would like to see
mr_bandit   11/26/2012 11:24:58 PM
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Dr Penny Boston of nmt.edu (my alma mater) is one of the first exo-biologists. She wrote an article

http://www.space.com/18546-mars-caves-sample-return-mission.html

about the need to look in the caves of Mars (sounds like a Dr Who episode..) for evidence of life.

Dr Boston explores extreme environments for extremophiles - she goes into caves with an environment of pH 1 (the suits start failing immediately; working time is about 45 minutes). There is a multitude of life in these environments.

Point is: find likely caves on Mars and send in 1000 small rovers. Some would drop repeaters on the way in. Some would be power sources. Some would deploy cables for dropping down. Don't worry about getting them back.

 

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