Zachstar has kindly
asked me if I would manage the Rover development for the Mars Direct project.
This is what I have produced so far using Anim8tor:http://www.aovi93.dsl.pipex.com/mars_direct.htm
When last discussed on the previous forum, there were opinions expressed that the cab windows needed to have rounded corners or be completely circular (around 300mm diameter) also that only two front windows were needed and these also should be smaller and rounded or round.
I'm happy to go with smaller windows with rounded corners. But as I am at the limit of my modeling skills I'm happy for anyone else to take over developing the cabin section, or the rest of it if they wish to.
At the front of the cabin there needs to be a remote arm to pick up mineral samples and a small air-lock (like a drawer) that can be extended and into which the samples can be placed, before bringing them inside.
Also there were discussions as to what shape the inner pressure vessel should take. Some preferred a cylinder, myself a rounded box. The thing to remember is this rover is quite small, about SUV/small van size and its supposed to ferry 3/4 astronauts about for expeditions lasting days, so space is cramped for changing into space suits etc. Its asking a bit much for the volume we have to work with really.
I settled for a rover powered by 4 independant electric motors mounted in each wheel hub (like the original lunar rover) powered by 3 parallel fuel cells mounted under the floor, as described in this document: http://www.aovi93.dsl.pipex.com/Mars_Rover/Mars%20Rover%20Power%20Generation%20and%20Energy%20Usage.pdf
The fuel (methane) and oxygen are contained in the blue panniers either side of the rover (not under the floor as described in the document).
The document suggests using methane fuel tanks in the ceiling to prevent radiation exposure, which seems illogical to me as they will need to be insulated and when the fuel is used, the radiation protection is gone, so I would go with some passive kind of insulation such as polypropylene in addition to thermal insulation.
My idea for the suspension was to have secondary adjustable suspension units attaching the cab to the forks over the lower suspension. This suspension could be raised and lowered to provide comfort when moving over uneven terrain and leveling the cabin when stationary. The fuel cells are in the floor of the cabin so some flexible hoses & cables would be needed for transfer of fuel from the panniers to the fuel cells and power from the fuel cells to the motors.
Its also possible that the rover could be made a little longer so as to incorporate a rear air lock, to save de-pressurisation of the cabin during EVAs. I think the Hab has space for it.
Well there's my ideas! What the rover needs now is a competent modeler or two and someone to program it. Volunteers are more than welcome