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 improve future mission planning and help gain insights into environmental effects.
Once the rover has completed its primary mission, it will cover as much distance as possible from the lander to test its power system and durability of the system.
The Lunar Zebro project is a first-of-its-kind university project. Hence, the team has introduced simplicity via ground-breaking innovation in every detail.
The rover’s hull is built around just two main parts. This gives the rover a design which is not only robust, but also easy to assemble. The legs are asymmetrically aligned on each side of the rover, which maximises stability while retaining compactness. Internally, a single motherboard connects all subsystems to each other, reducing part count and mass. Attached to the solar panel we find the distinctive Antenna Deployment System (ADS), which points the antenna up independently of the angle of the panel, so that the direct communication to Earth is uninterrupted.
A trip to the moon is as rare as they come. But, this decade has seen a revolution, where government and private sectors are not shying away from thinking big and helping to grow a niche market in the aerospace industry with in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) concepts taking the center stage. These mission concepts keep scientific studies as the driving force for their initial phases.
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Lunar Zebro would provide one of it first kind of flight data towards studying 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 miniaturised rover for the lunar environment.
Demonstrate an in-house built miniaturised camera system based on BGA soldering technology.
Test new optical based obstacle detection software and autonomously guide the rover away from obstructions 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 is built around COTS parts.
Demonstrate direct low-power Earth-Moon communication 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 implemented swarming, but imagine if we let rover swarms leverage similar parallelism to map hundreds of square kilometres on other planets in a matter of months, being able to get into even the riskiest places thanks to the inherent redundancy.
Given that the Lunar Zebro is the smallest and lightest rover ever, we look forward to scaling down the design even further to accommodate different types of on-board payloads on future interplanetary missions.
The Moon’s far side is the quietest radio location near Earth, where cosmic signals could be recorded without any man-made interference. Combined with swarming, we could provide the mobility solution needed to make an array of approximately 7000 antennas which is adaptive and robust.