The CSA, the Canadian space agency, posted on its Instagram a video which shows how robots sent to the Moon are tested. The images show the robot’s motion systems being evaluated on terrain similar to that of Earth’s natural satellite. In the images, the wheels of the robot are evaluated moving on sand and also on rocks, to simulate the situation during the mission.
According to the CSA, tests with the robot’s wheels have been carried out daily for eight months. It takes a lot of experimentation to make sure they are safe to travel to Earth’s natural satellite.
“On Earth, when we break a wheel (…) we stop everything and repair it. It is not possible on the Moon”, explained the CSA. “The wheels of the rover must be able to withstand some breakage while continuing to function. In other words, they must be able to ‘degrade gracefully’.”
Besides the fact that it is not possible to repair the wheel if necessary, the lunar surface is “dusty, rocky and covered with dead volcanoes, impact craters and solidified lava flows”, points out the space agency. . This makes walking on lunar soil very difficult. Therefore, all these aspects must be taken into account when developing a tire for lunar rovers.
“Lunar rovers should be able to navigate very soft surfaces (like beaches) as well as very rough rocky surfaces like a dry river bed. There are also unknown regions on the Moon that are permanently shadowed and may contain a higher water content which can affect soil properties,” he adds.
*intern at R7, under the direction of Pablo Marques
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