Integration of a testbed for examining the interaction of Mars rover wheels with a Mars soil simulant

by Chiedozie A. (Chiedozie Arinze) Okafor

Institution: MIT
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Year: 2011
Keywords: Mechanical Engineering.
Record ID: 1892547
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1721.1/68908


Integration and experimental testing was performed on a testbed for examining the interaction of Mars rover wheels with a Mars soil simulant. The testbed included a horizontal carriage that had a encoder to measure the horizontal displacement of the Mars rover wheel. A DC motor was attached to the top of the carriage and controlled the horizontal velocity of the Mars rover wheel. The testbed had a vertical carriage with a 6-axis load cell attached to measure vertical load and the tractive force developed by the Mars rover wheel. There was another motor and a torque sensor attached to the Mars rover wheel that controlled the angular velocity of the wheel and measured the applied torque. A program was created in order to run tests on the Mars rover wheels testbed using LabVIEW. The program had an interface that allowed the user to input a desired horizontal velocity and slip. The program recorded the distance the wheel traveled, velocity it traveled at, sinkage of the wheel into the soil, tractive force of wheel on soil, vertical load applied to wheel, torque applied to wheel, and the amount of time the system ran for. The user was also able to reset the system after each test to start again.