Introducing Project Rover

This plucky little rover is a personal project I’m working on with Matt Gunn. There’s still lots to do, it’s proving to be great fun!

Modelled on the ESA/Roscosmos/UKSA ExoMars rover due to launch in 2020 and land on Mars in 2021, we are making the rover partly to help us understand the general structure of the real rover, and partly as a fun project. It’s built to be approximately 1/5th scale, and has some general simplifications (e.g. fixed wheels).

The rover has been mostly laser cut from plywood. Some of the cut sections have been glued together to form the bathtub, bogeys and wheels of the rover. Servos drive each of the six wheels and panning from the base of the PanCam mast. The servos are all connected to a receiver so we can remote-control drive with skid steering and pan the PanCam unit to look around.

Most recently we completed work on the solar panels. They are hinged to demonstrate the deployment method: when they are folded for transport to Mars, the two rear panels on the ‘wings’ will be upwards-facing. This way, if there are any problems in deploying them, there will still be two panels that are uncovered ready to collect solar energy.

So far it’s been used for university teaching (having made a guest appearance in a Space Robotics lecture), outreach (having made a couple of guest appearances at Aber Robotics Club), and general malarkey

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