A Caltech Library Service

Axel Mobility Platform for Steep Terrain Excursions and Sampling on Planetary Surfaces

Nesnas, Issa A.D. and Abad-Manterola, Pablo and Edlund, Jeffrey A. and Burdick, Joel W. (2008) Axel Mobility Platform for Steep Terrain Excursions and Sampling on Planetary Surfaces. In: 2008 IEEE Aerospace Conference. IEEE , Piscataway, NJ. ISBN 978-1-4244-1487-1.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The recent discovery of bright new deposits in two crater gullies on Mars suggests that water still flows in brief spurts on Mars. In this paper, we will present the Axel rover (Figure 1) that was developed to access and sample such deposits on the inside of steep crater walls. Axel is a tethered rover that can be a payload on a lander or a larger rover. The primary features of Axel are its minimal complexity and robustness to the treacherous terrain of sites that are of scientific interest. Using a symmetrical design with three actuators, Axel is capable of operating upside down and right side up, enabling it to descend over crater promontories. With its actuated trailing link, Axel can operate on both flat and sloped terrains. Using a sampling device mounted on the trailing link, Axel can collect and store terrain samples and return to its host platform for detailed scientific sample analysis. We will present our preliminary results that demonstrated Axel's ability to traverse both flat and sloped rocky terrain including 90° vertical cliffs and collecting soil samples on slopes ranging from 10° - 40° in the JPL Mars Yard.

Item Type:Book Section
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Additional Information:© 2008 IEEE. IEEEAC paper #1216, Version 6, Updated October 27, 2007. This work is a joint collaboration between Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The work was done at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170405-172446835
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:I. A. D. Nesnas, P. Abad-Manterola, J. A. Edlund and J. W. Burdick, "Axel Mobility Platform for Steep Terrain Excursions and Sampling on Planetary Surfaces," 2008 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT, 2008, pp. 1-11. doi: 10.1109/AERO.2008.4526235
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75762
Deposited By: Kristin Buxton
Deposited On:06 Apr 2017 18:29
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 16:53

Repository Staff Only: item control page