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Predicting the performances of rigid rover wheels on extraterrestrial surfaces based on test results obtained on earth

Wong, J. Y. (2011) Predicting the performances of rigid rover wheels on extraterrestrial surfaces based on test results obtained on earth. Journal of Terramechanics, 49 (1). pp. 49-61. ISSN 0022-4898. doi:10.1016/j.jterra.2011.11.002.

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With a growing number of nations interested in planetary exploration, research and development of extraterrestrial rovers have been intensified. The usual practice is to test the performances of rovers on soil simulants on earth, prior to their deployment to extraterrestrial bodies. It is noted that in the tests the soil simulant is subject to the earth gravity, while the terrain on the extraterrestrial surface is subject to a different gravity. Therefore, it is uncertain whether the rover/rover wheel would exhibit the same performance on the extraterrestrial surface as that obtained from tests conducted on earth. This paper describes a practical methodology that can be employed to predict the performances of rover wheels on extraterrestrial surfaces, based on test results obtained on earth. As rigid wheels are used in many extraterrestrial rovers, this study focuses on examining the effects of gravity on the sinkage and compaction resistance of rigid rover wheels. Predictions obtained using the methodology are shown to correlate reasonably well with test data

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Additional Information:© 2011 ISTVS. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Received 25 August 2011; received in revised form 19 November 2011; accepted 22 November 2011. Available online 22 December 2011. The author is grateful to Professor Taizo Kobayashi, Fukui University, Japan, for providing the digital version of the test data used in this study. The author would also like to express his appreciation to Dr. Michael Lamb and Dr. Nadia Lapusta, California Institute of Technology, for stimulating discussions on some of the issues addressed in this paper, 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. The comments made on the draft manuscript by Mr. Jon Preston-Thomas, Centre for Surface Transportation Technology, National Research Council of Canada, are appreciated.
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Compaction resistance; Extraterrestrial rovers; Gravity effects; Parabolic flights; Performance; Rover wheels; Sinkage; Soil simulants
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160224-163139925
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Official Citation:J.Y. Wong, Predicting the performances of rigid rover wheels on extraterrestrial surfaces based on test results obtained on earth, Journal of Terramechanics, Volume 49, Issue 1, February 2012, Pages 49-61, ISSN 0022-4898, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:64754
Deposited By: Colette Connor
Deposited On:25 Feb 2016 16:44
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:34

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