PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Spatial Exploration with Robotic Operators (SpERO) Mission is an automated robotic system designed to explore Martian lava tubes for extended geological surveying. Martian lava tubes are found in the volcanic regions of Mars and will provide significant insight into the geography of Mars, as well as reveal possible lifeforms. Lava tubes may also provide shelter for eventual human inhabitance of Mars, as they provide stabilization and protection from the surface Martian atmosphere and environment. SpERO seeks to explore these lava tubes and return detailed mapping and images to help us understand and characterize this environment. This paper covers the design of a system to land on Mars, navigate to a lava tube, and have an aerial delivery vehicle lower a rover for lava tube exploration and data collection. Before implementation of such a system, an Earth prototype is necessary to validate the instrumentation and communication network required for a successful Martian mission. The prototype consists of three different subsystems: a drone with an elevator component, a rover, and a communication relay system to connect it all. The drone acts as the aerial delivery vehicle, lowering the rover down on the elevator platform. The rover can then autonomously navigate a cave environment.
Degree ProgramAerospace Engineering