Thermal Design Considerations for a Mars Rover 2005-01-2826
The ExoMars mission is one of two flagship missions in the Aurora programme, the European Space Agency's programme for long term exploration of Mars. The aim of ExoMars is to characterise the biological environment on Mars for future missions and to further explore the exobiology - search for life - on Mars. The project includes a Mars orbiting satellite and ground experiments. The ground experiments are carried on a wheeled Mars Rover vehicle, which comprises a service module and the 40kg Pasteur payload module containing the sample analysis packages and sample collection and transport systems. The ExoMars mission is due to be launched in 2009.
The Rover will be built to operate autonomously and travel several kilometres over the Martian surface, carrying out in-situ soil sample analyses, and identifying and characterising possible hazards to future human exploration. Where possible, the Rover thermal control will be based on existing space-qualified technology used in novel configurations to protect the Rover and its payload from the harsh environment of the Martian surface.
This paper discusses the thermal considerations and trade-offs which are important in the design of such a vehicle, covering the environmental challenges and possible solutions.