Characterisation of martian soil simulants for the ExoMars rover testbed

Brunskill, C., Patel, N., Gouache, T.P. , Scott, G.P., Saaj, C., Matthews, M. and Cui, L. (2011) Characterisation of martian soil simulants for the ExoMars rover testbed. Journal of Terramechanics, 48 (6). pp. 419-438. ISSN 0022-4898

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The European Space Agency (ESA) ExoMars mission involves landing a rover on the surface of Mars on an exobiology mission to extend the search for life. The locomotion capabilities of the ExoMars rover will enable it to use its scientific instruments in a wide variety of locations. Before it is sent to Mars, this locomotion system must be tested and its performance limitations understood. To test the locomotion performance of the ExoMars rover, three martian regolith simulants were selected: a fine dust analogue, a fine Aeolian sand analogue, and a coarse sand analogue. To predict the performance of the ExoMars rover locomotion system in these three regolith simulants, it is necessary to measure some fundamental macroscopic properties of the materials: cohesion, friction angle, and various bearing capacity constants. This paper presents the tests conducted to determine these properties. During these tests, emphasis was placed on preparing the regolith simulants at different levels of density in order to evaluate its impact on the value of the parameters in particular. It was shown that compaction can influence the Bekker coefficients of pressure-sinkage. The shear properties are consistent with the critical state model at normal stresses similar to those of the ExoMars rover in all but one of the simulants, which showed behaviour more consistent with transitional soil behaviour. It is necessary to give due consideration to these variations to ensure a robust test regime is developed when testing the tractive ability of the ExoMars mobility system.

Additional Information:cited By 19
Keywords:Mars, ExoMars, Rover, Mobility, Simulant, Soil mechanics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Engineering
ID Code:37450
Deposited On:07 Oct 2019 13:32

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