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Further study of the method of approach to testing the performance of extraterrestrial rovers/rover wheels on earth

Wong, J. Y. and Kobayashi, Taizo (2012) Further study of the method of approach to testing the performance of extraterrestrial rovers/rover wheels on earth. Journal of Terramechanics, 49 (6). pp. 349-362. ISSN 0022-4898. doi:10.1016/j.jterra.2012.10.004.

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The current practice for experimentally evaluating the performance of extraterrestrial rovers/rover wheels is to conduct tests on earth on a soil simulant, appropriate to the regolith on the extraterrestrial body of interest. In the tests, the normal load (force) applied by the rover/rover wheel to the soil simulant is set identical to that expected on the extraterrestrial surface, taking into account its acceleration due to gravity. It should be pointed out, however, that the soil simulant used in the tests is subject to earth gravity, while the regolith on the extraterrestrial surface is subject to a different gravity. Thus, it is uncertain whether the performance of the rover/rover wheel obtained from tests on earth represents that on the extraterrestrial surface. This issue has been explored previously. A method has been proposed for conducting tests of the rover/rover wheel on earth with identical mass to that on the extraterrestrial surface, instead of with identical normal load used in the current practice [1]. This paper provides further evidence to substantiate the merits of the proposed method, based on a detailed analysis of the test data obtained under various gravity conditions, produced in an aircraft undergoing parabolic flight manoeuvres [8]. In the study, the effect of slip on wheel sinkage has been evaluated. It is found that gravity has little effect on the slip and sinkage relationship of the rover wheel under self-propelled conditions.

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Additional Information:© 2012 ISTVS. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Available online 20 November 2012. The test data used in this study were provided by the research group of Taizo Kobayashi et al. [8]. The method of approach to testing the performance of rovers/rover wheels described in this paper was inspired by the stimulating discussions between the first author and the participants from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other organizations, at the Workshop on “xTerramechanics: Integrated Simulation of Planetary Surface Missions 2”, sponsored by the Keck Institute for Space Studies, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA, August 1–3, 2011.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Compaction resistance; Extraterrestrial rovers; Gravity effects; Mobility; Parabolic flight manoeuvres; Rover wheels; Sinkage; Slip–sinkage; Soil simulant; Testing
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160224-161548668
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Official Citation:J.Y. Wong, Taizo Kobayashi, Further study of the method of approach to testing the performance of extraterrestrial rovers/rover wheels on earth, Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 49, Issue 6, 2012, Pages 349-362, ISSN 0022-4898, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:64752
Deposited By: Colette Connor
Deposited On:25 Feb 2016 16:44
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:34

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