Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vehicles: Rovers and Heavy Equipment

Mars is sandy which means vehicles need to be able to get traction in dunes. Which means tank treads or fat tires. Vehicles they build on mars can be heavy iron but the cost of bringing things from earth means those need to be light. The colonist must also land near their supplies but are not likely to be within walking distance. This is why I describe a rover and trailer they will bring with them. Let's describe it a bit more.

The rover is small and only design to pull the trailer. It has four tires that are inflated and attached after being removed from the Dragon. They will have a couple of spares as well. It has a rack for batteries also coming from the Dragon (well, everything comes from the Dragon lander, doesn't it.) It has a fifth wheel ball top center. It has a controller (both wireless and with wire.) It's very simple.

The unfoldable trailer has two wheel at one end and a hitch at the other. When loaded most of the weight should be on the hitch to give the rover weight so it has traction. It will of course be tested in earth gravity and may even be tested in moon gravity. Portable power and large supply oxygen tanks are loaded on the trailer. The crew rides in their suits. It may or may not have an inflatable tent. They will also bring portable power which can extend the range of the rover. They may wait in their lander producing methane and oxygen to take with them extending the range to their permanent habitat site.

They're going to need more vehicles including heavy equipment. They are not going to bring heavy equipment with them from earth (though parts may be included in pre-positioned supplies?) They are going to fabricate them ISRU. They will literally make this tractor from mars dirt. The engine modules are the only thing they will bring with them.

No comments: