CMG Rover Applications
The results of the proposed research are expected to have several significant impacts. The most significant outcome is the development of a rover that can be optimized to explore many bodies in our solar system. The power-efficient and torque-efficient internal momentum system and novel chassis design make this rover reliable, power-efficient and terrain-adaptable, allowing for a long mission lifetime. The rover could gather a large amount of valuable data from previously inaccessible areas of celestial bodies. For example, the rover could explore craters, valleys, and crags on Mars, which are believed to have abundant information on water content. It opens up the possibility of exploring and gathering scientific data from icy terrains like Europa and Enceladus.
Additionally, the rover could be scaled easily to support future manned missions, like the planned mission to Mars in the 2030s and the mission to an asteroid in 2025. The rover could help explore future landing areas before manned missions arrive.
The research will also make the development of future polyhedral rover projects easy. The simulations and algorithms developed will be generalized allowing future missions can iterate through rover designs easily when choosing from a wide range of chassis shapes and momentum control systems.
The research will study optimal controls for CMGs, optimal array configurations and how to effectively use CMGs when momentum can be easily dumped into a large object. Many missions, such as rendezvous, asteroid manipulation, and satellite servicing, can use this research to make spacecraft more effective. It could also be used for other applications like robotics and stabilization of astronauts during spacewalks.