Multifunctional structures are more than a new material a design concept The ROV-E proposal has considered the multifunctional design concept as a whole and intends to re-design the future exploration Rovers for Mars (eg ExoMars). The multifunctional approach is applied on several Rovers subsystems: mobility, telecom, power and service module.
In space exploration missions, Rovers have served as a platform for “mobile instrumentation” allowing the achievement of the scientific goals. These goals are very challenging and are more demanding. Due to the increasing need for carrying heavier PL, the mass of the Rovers has increased considerably. The trend is an increase in the total rover’s launch mass.
Therefore, mass is a major issue for interplanetary missions as each additional kilogram influences the cost of the mission and it requires more fuel to be carried (the trajectory is very long). Additionally, the autonomy of rover vehicles is too much dependent on its weight for both propulsion and flexibility on their movements. AURORA programs have identified the possibilities to use lightweight and integrated electronics for moon and mars vehicles.
A need for a light-weight wheeled chassis with a performance comparable to the one provided by the current solutions and which satisfies future scientific needs is a “must” for future surface exploration missions.
The approach proposed on ROV-E is to integrate functions within the carrier structures by using lightweight advanced materials. The re-design of the following subsystems is envisaged: mobility, internal chassis, monitoring, power generation and storage. This re-engineering implies the study of the basic technologies required to improve the performance of each subsystem.
The main objective of the ROV-E project is the development of the technologies required to obtain lightweight–fully integrated equipments and subassemblies for exploration rovers based on multifunctional structures.
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