The aim of the investigation is to perform a systematic study of two different mobility and suspension systems that have been proposed for Martian Robotic Rovers. The critical area of concern with regards to the technologies required for the adequate function of a Mars robotic rover is the issue of mobility and suspension. It is clear that adequate suspension and mobility for the rovers is also required. The investigation serves to introduce a novel concept called Elastic Loop Mobility System and to analyse three different mobility configurations - wheels (Rocker-bogie), solid tracks (Nanokhod) and suspended tracks (Elastic Loop Mobility System) - to assess their performance characteristics over terrain typical at the Viking Lander 1 and 2 sites (VL1 and VL2) and the Pathfinder Landing Site (PL). With the advent of "Smart" materials like Shape Memory Alloys (SMA), we are investigating the applicability of these SMA as an elastic loop for an ELMS locomotion system. There were subsequent studies which showed that the ELMS, if attached to an atmospheric entry lander, could sustain a free-fall landing on Mars and enable the lander to traverse around 500 kilometres over the Martian surface for a period of two years without the refurbishment of its consumables. With the renewed interest in UK-led Martian exploration, we have focussed our attention primarily on the ELMS as a potential mobility system for a Mars micro-rover, "Endurance" which is part of the Vanguard mission concept.

Additional Metadata
Keywords ELMS, Mars Rovers, Mobility and Suspension Systems, Rocker-Bogie
Conference 54th International Astronautical Congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law
Citation
Patel, N. (Nildeep), Ellery, A, Welch, C. (Chris), & Curley, A. (Andy). (2003). Elastic Loop Mobility System (ELMS): Concept, innovation and performance evaluation for a Mars robotic rover. In 54th International Astronautical Congress of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law (pp. 2065–2074).