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SILVRCLAW II - analysis, prototype development, and testing

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8 Author(s)
Mungas, G.S. ; Firestar Eng., Broomfield, CO ; Fisher, D. ; Mungas, C. ; Carryer, B.
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Enhanced robotic surface exploration is a fundamental MEPAT (Mars Exploration Program Advanced Technologies) goal for Mars exploration technology development because many surface-investigation goals require traversing significant distances in widely varying terrain conditions. SILVRCLAW (stowable, inflatable, large, vectran, rigidizable, cold-resistant, lightweight, all-terrain wheel) is an inflatable, rigidizable wheel technology that enables compact robotic vehicles with significant ground clearance. Such a vehicle could traverse aggressive rocky terrains with a resultant low obstacle density (less than one obstacle per ~100 m), travel over chasms with ~1 m separation, and offer the mission operator the ability to navigate with orbital-imagery resolution (i.e. with Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's highrise telescope). We have confirmed that a prototype wheel design allows large wheel loads of up to hundreds of kilograms per wheel in Mars equivalent gravity. The wheel design consumes very little linear traverse energy (less than 100 Whr/km) enabling low power system architectures (e.g., small radioactive power systems). We discuss the ongoing analysis, prototype development, and recent testbed results of the SILVRCLAW wheel

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Aerospace Conference, 2006 IEEE

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