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.