CO2-cushion vehicle for Mars. An alternative locomotion for exploration rovers
Document typeConference report
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Rights accessRestricted access - publisher's policy
In this work, consideration is given to ad hoc cushion vehicles for Mars. On Earth, air cushion vehicles use pressurized atmospheric air by means of powerful blowers that pump the air into a chamber, however, for Mars -at least for the ¿rst stages of human colonization, such an Earth-like approach seems not viable either because the low atmospheric density of Mars, the weight associated with the system or the risk of mechanical failure by handling with a dusty atmosphere. Nevertheless it is worthy to investigate if a sort of similar air-cushion vehicle for Mars because the suppression of the heavy systems associated with terrain vehicles - which reduces the available payload for experiments, and also the limited mobility of these kind of locomotion. Here, a scoping study for an ad hoc air cushion vehicle for Mars is investigated by taking advantage of Mars CO2 atmosphere and the low temperatures attained during the nights. Fundamentally the idea behind, is freezing CO2 -as dry-ice, during the Martian cold nights and then be used to levitate the vehicle above the ground by releasing the highly pressurized CO2 obtained previous sublimation during the warm day. It is shown that such a Martian surface vehicle will have a daily ¿ight limited to 10-20 minutes or thereabouts, depending of the clearance height and the weight of the vehicle. This autonomy of ¿ight per day although seems very small if compared with traditional terrain vehicles, is misleading and has to be put in context. Indeed, because the much more larger velocity attained by the cushion vehicle in comparison with terrain vehicles this will translate into an equal or even much more larger distances traveled by the cushion vehicle during a short time per day than by a terrain vehicle during prolonged times.
CitationArias, F.J. CO2-cushion vehicle for Mars. An alternative locomotion for exploration rovers. A: AIAA/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference. "2018 International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, AIAA Propulsion and Energy Forum, Ohio, Cincinnati, 9-11 July 2018". American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), 2018, p. 1-5.