Browse Publications Technical Papers 2022-26-0014
2022-05-26

Design and Computational Investigations of Aerobot for Titan using Propeller Equipped Maneuverability System with Droppable Weather Stations 2022-26-0014

Titan, Saturn’s largest moon and the only celestial body which is found to have a landmass composed of liquid hydrocarbons. Nitrogen - The building block of all life that exists on earth is found to be abundant in Titan’s atmosphere of up to 97%. Aerobots provide a great platform for exploring a celestial body with an atmosphere such as Titan. They have modest power requirements, longer mission duration, and can cover a longer distance in a shorter time. They are powered by a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator for optimal mission life. Aerobot’s altitude can be altered by varying the temperature of the air inside the balloon and yaw can be controlled using a Reaction Wheel and a motor-driven propeller for forwarding thrust. The proposed Aerobot will be equipped with four miniature deployable fixed weather stations that can be dropped from the aerobot to Titan's surface. They can be deployed at diverse locations such as the equator and Polar Regions to deeply explore the Titan’s climate and atmosphere. These weather stations contain payloads such as nitrogen, methane, oxygen sensor, and a spectrometer to analyze the composition of the atmosphere. Temperature sensors and wind speed sensors can be equipped. Also, a lightning detector can be used to trace lightning and thunderstorm, an essential element for organisms’ inhabitable environments. Radiation sensors both in weather stations and Aerobots can help us to understand the risks in its atmosphere. These weather stations are mounted on a floatable structure to float on rivers on Titan. They have an on-board memory storage facility to store data from sensors and transmit the saved data once the aerobot comes across them in the sky. Also, the aerobot will be inflated before landing on Titan to safeguard the aerobot without falling on to rivers of Titan. This work focused to design and computationally investigates the fluid dynamic behaviour and its structural impacts on the proposed Unmanned Aerobot under the environmental conditions of Titan.

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