Mars curiosity rover Wheel test design
As an undergraduate researcher in the Robotics Mobility Group of the MIT Laboratory for Manufacturing Productivity, I assisted in the characterization of soil-wheel interaction for various small-wheeled applications. The most recent project was in support of the Mars Curiosity Rover Mission. The Mars Space Laboratory needed understand how the Curiosity Rover wheel interacts with soil on Mars at different torques, speed, and slip conditions. The entire existing test setup needed to be redesigned from the ground up in order to accommodate the significantly larger Mars Curiosity Rover wheel. Constraints that drove the design were size, weight, stresses and loading, cost, time, and machining capabilities.
My main responsibility was to design the test rig from the ground up, relying heavily on CAD to ensure proper integration of all parts and sub-assembly. The design was adopted, and by the end of my involvement, the mechanical design and manufacturing was completed. I was also responsible for the manufacturing of the redesigned parts, specifying the COTS hardware, and assisting in the assembly of the test rig.