Phobos Mission Vehicle Design - Abstract
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Lunar Oxygen Verification Experiment

Lunar Rover


Oxygen production is very important in establishing a lunar space station. Oxygen atoms can be extracted from lunar soil and formed into breathable oxygen. This process has been tested on Earth, and it will be tested on an unmanned mission to the moon. A lunar rover is needed to collect lunar soil samples and return them to the processing station. The rover will be assisted by remote control, and will also perform other scientific tasks. This paper will discuss the design of a lunar rover that will be able to complete this task.

Mission Overview

One of the most important resources necessary for maintaining human presence on the Moon is oxygen. The Moon contains abundant amounts of oxygen in its soil, and extraction of oxygen from lunar soil has been demonstrated in Earth based facilities using samples returned to Earth by the Apollo missions. However, the production of oxygen on the Moon using lunar raw materials has not been demonstrated. Demonstration of oxygen production on the Moon is a major stepping stone toward the establishment of a permanent manned lunar base. The primary objective of this unmanned mission is the placement of a small oxygen production plant on the lunar surface and the subsequent production of oxygen using lunar soil as the raw material for the oxygen plant.(Texas Space Grant Consortium)

Subsystem Overview

A small lunar rover is to be designed to collect regolith samples and return them to the O2 regeneration plant for the oxygen extraction experiment. Once this task has been accomplished, the rover will be used to perform various other experiments of scientific value, time and power permitting. Due to the large changes in environmental conditions, the design must be able to withstand large temperature extremes. The rover is designed to traverse a wide variety of terrain. Its sensitive components are fully isolated from the surrounding, giving them a more stable operating environment. The rover will be capable of performing various tasks with its onboard sample collecting robotic arm and an Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS). These experiments will provide scientists with valuable information about the conditions of the moonıs surface and the possibility of the development of a future manned lunar station.


Last Modified: December 18, 1998