Locomotion Design for an Internally Actuated Cubic Robot for Exploration of Low Gravity Bodies in the Solar System

10/15/2020
by   Alvaro Bátrez, et al.
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The exploration of asteroids and comets is important in the quest for the formation of the Solar System and it is an important step for human space travel. Moving on the surface of asteroids is challenging for future robotic explorers due to the weak gravity force. In this research, an approach that is based on a new kind of jumping rovers is presented. This robotic platform has internal masses and by spinning up these flywheels and suddenly stopping them, it is feasible to perform a hop from a few meters up to hundreds of meters. In contrast to related works where robotic explorers usually stop a flywheel instantaneously, the INAHOPPER prototype takes advantage of on stopping a flywheel by voltage inversion in a short lapse to modify the launch angle, a very useful action over terrains with different degrees of inclination. This article discusses, first, the dynamics of the rover for a 2D model, second, the control algorithm executed in the prototype for braking the flywheel, and third, the analysis of the performance of the flywheel to make simulations of the trajectories over an asteroid.

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