Meet our team, MoonWorks.

Project MoonWorks aims to develop a miniature lunar rover which can retrieve ice samples from the depths of moon craters.

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A bit about us.


The mission.

Project MoonWorks aims to develop a miniature lunar rover which can retrieve ice samples from the depths of moon craters.

Who are we?

We are a group of Sheffield University students from a variety of engineering departments who have come together with the sole mission to design a rover to compete in UKSEDs Lunar Rover Competition.

What's our plan?

We have split into 4 development teams: locomotion, pick-up, vision and systems engineering. Each team will tackle a different sub-section of the rover. We have weekly meetings in which we discuss our progress and make important design decisions.

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Background information

Here are the key points behind our space mission.

Here's some background.

In 2010, ESA deployed a large solar-powered lander on the moon to collect samples from the base of a 4km-deep crater. Too heavy to give locomotion, it stayed at the rim of the crater where sunlight is plentiful. Small rovers play a critical role in the detection of Lunar water. They were deployed via robotic arm from the lander to drive to the base. As the base is devoid of sunlight, it is theorised that this allows deposits of ice and other volatiles to survive after delivery by comet impacts. Ice is a critical resource for establishing a permanently manned Lunar base. It could create drinking water, air and split into oxidiser and hydrogen for rocket fuel. Such resources would be valuable for astronauts preparing long missions since it is extremely expensive to send water from Earth to the Moon($10,000/kg). The Moon’s low gravity makes it an ideal base for space exploration, which opens up research, mining and tourism possibilities.

What is the Lunar Rover Competition?

Thus, the UKSEDS set up a challenge under the framework of the Lunar Rover Competition, giving MoonWorks the opportunity to design an autonomous miniature rover (30x30x30cm). The rover has been designed to navigate rough terrains using a NASA-inspired rocker-bogie mechanism and intelligent camera system, survive vibrations comparable to a rocket launch and collect up to 500g of sample.

How did we tackle the challenge?

Research and development was structured into three subsystems: locomotion, pick-up, and vision. The team of 11 undergraduate students applied Concurrent Engineering design principles to achieve an efficient, lightweight(<5kg) and durable design following ECSS project management techniques. MoonWorks is part of the Sheffield Space Initiative, a collaboration between the IET and Sheffield Space Society to support the growth of space projects within student communities.

What do we hope to gain from the experience?

The Lunar Rover Project has been in the works for 8 months, which means we've learnt a thing or two about working as a team.

We hope to gain more experience working as a team to solve engineering challenges. This is a vital skill for all engineers. Additionally, by applying the skills we learn we learn in class we are developing our knowledge beyond the textbook.

This project has also given us a chance to meet experts and recruiters in the space sector which will allow us to expand our network of people in the space industry.

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Technical details

In order for our plan to be established, we've developed a comprehensive plan.

We will use a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino as our main computing devices. The Arduino will be used for motor control and the Raspberry Pi will be used to send video over Wi-Fi to our base station. We will be using state of the art manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting to create the external parts of the rover (wheels and structure).

We will be using a rocker-bogie suspension for our rover as this suspension system allows the rover to travel smoothly over obstacles that it may confront whilst on a mission.

Here's our success so far.

We've come along way, so we're proud to list our accomplishments so far.

30+

Hours spent preparing.

5

Pleased peers.

10

Team members

3

Prototypes