Introduction to the Mechanics of Space Robots

Volume 26 of the series Space Technology Library pp 153-234

Mobility on Planetary Surfaces

  • Giancarlo GentaAffiliated withDepartment of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Politecnico di Torino Email author 

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Exploration vehicles, either manned or automatic, can use a variety of means of locomotion to achieve their goal. A first distinction must be made between ground vehicles, i.e. vehicles supported by a solid surface, atmospheric or sea vehicles, i.e. vehicles that move in a fluid without contact with the surface, be it a gas or a liquid, and space vehicles that move in the vacuum of space close to the surface. Most of this chapter is however devoted to the study of mobility on planetary surfaces, using different kind of supporting devices, like wheels or legs.