The rover will explore the lunar surface for the first time and carry out on-ground imaging around the lander, studying the effects and aftermath of lunar surface of traditional landing methods. This could help plan future missions better and gain insights of environmental effects.
Once the rover has completed its primary missions, it will cover as much distance as possible from the lander to its test power system and durability of the system.
The Lunar Zebro project is first of its kind project for a university and hence the team has brought in simplicity via ground-breaking innovation in every detail possible to the table.
The rover’s hull is built of only two main parts, the chassis and the bottom plate. This gives the rover a robust and easy to assemble design. The legs are asymmetrically aligned on each side of the rover, to give it as much stability as possible on rough terrain while keeping the rover compact. Internally, a motherboard connects all subsystems to each other, reducing number of parts and mass. Attached to the solar panel, is the distinctive Antenna Deployment System (ADS), which guarantees that the antenna is always vertical to the ground, no matter the angle of the panel, so that direct communication to Earth is uninterrupted.
A trip to the moon is as rare as they come. But, this decade has been a revelation where government and private sectors are not shying away from thinking big and help growing a niche market in the aerospace industry with in-situ resource utilization concepts have taken the center stage (ISRU). These mission studies keeps scientific studies as the driving force at its core for initial phases pf these projects.
We are no different!
Lunar Zebro would provide one of it first kind of flight data towards studying the moon’s inner functioning like no other mission as it would be use its onboard PEBAL payload to detect a wide range of moonquakes. These kind of moonquakes usually occur twice or thrice in a lunar day, and the rover will be there to detect it. The specially designed legs and locomotion algorithm can help remove the upper layers of the lunar surface and via its camera system collect information on how the depth of lunar regolith changes from one point to another.
Development of a modular and miniaturized rover for lunar environment.
Demonstrate an in-house built miniaturized camera system based on BGA soldering technology used to detect obstacles.
Test a new obstacle detection software using optical based system and autonomously guide the rover away from obstructions and bringing it back to its pre-planned path.
Demonstrate and test the unique C-shaped leg design, material and durability in the rough and harsh terrain of the moon.
Test in-house developed Battery Management System (BMS) in lunar and transit environments which are mostly built of COTS parts.
Demonstrate direct Earth-Moon communications low-power on-board electronics and test its capability.
The next stop would be the Red Planet. As young engineers we love the enthusiasm and effort the private companies are putting in. Zebro can provide crucial topological survey of various landing spots and assist the first humans on Mars to explore for projects like Mars City from SpaceX.
Drones are the most recent machines to have implement swarming, but imagine if we would do the same with rovers and map hundreds of square kilometres of other planets in a matter of months which are redundant by design.
Given that the Lunar Zebro is the smallest and lightest rover ever, we look forward to scaling the design even further down or up and carry different types of on-board payloads on future interplanetary missions.
Moon’s far side is the quietest radio location near Earth, where these frequencies could be recorded with any interference from man-made signals. Combined with swarming, we could provide the mobility solution needed to make an array of 7000 (approx.) antennas which is adaptive and robust.