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First comparative field test of pressurised rover prototypes

Mann, G. and Clarke, J.D.A. (2003) First comparative field test of pressurised rover prototypes. In: 3rd Australian Mars Exploration Conference (AMEC) 2003, 22 – 24 August 2003, Trinity College, East Perth



The conceptual designs, interior layouts and operational performances of three pressurised rover prototypes - Aonia, Ares and Everest - were field tested during a recent simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. A human factors experiment, in which the same crew of three executed the same simulated science mission in each of the three vehicles, yielded comparative data on the capacity of each vehicle to safely and comfortably carry explorers away from the main base, enter and exit the vehicle in spacesuits, perform science tasks in the field, and manage geological and biological samples. As well as offering recommendations for design improvements for specific vehicles, the results suggest that a conventional SUV would not be suitable for analog field work; that a pressurised docking tunnel to the main habitat is desirable; that better provisions for spacesuit don/doffing and storage are required; and that a crew consisting of one driver/navigator and two field science crew specialists may be optimal. From a field operations viewpoint, a recurring conflict between rover and habitat crews at the time of return to the habitat was observed.

An analysis of these incidents leads to proposed refinements of operational protocols, specific crew training for rover returns and again points to the need for a pressurised docking tunnel. A 'leap-frog' incremental development methodology aimed at producing ever higher fidelity rover analogs is advocated.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Information Technology
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