Manned Mars Rover

DesignerMontgomery Design International, Inc., Ergonomic Systems Design, Inc.
Prize1st Place in Transportation / Auto/Truck/Mobile Home
Entry Description

Mars Expedition Rover (MER) NASA has plans for a manned visit to Mars in the 2037 time frame and as a part of that mission, will require a vehicle capable of sustaining four passengers up to as long as three weeks. The design takes into consideration an incredible number of constraints required to survive in this hostile environment and then basically doubles the requirement for redundancy. The basic motive power for the MER is electric, but due to the requirement for continuous, reliable energy, a removable on board Dynamic Isotope System is required, This will be augmented by roof mounted solar panels. Which will be sufficient for shorter trips, and again redundancy. The MER is driven by electric motors in each of its six wheels, and both sets of front and rear wheels are steerable. The tires tread band are constructed of a nano-carbon composite and a Solimide foam core. The tire and wheel geometry is set to a 5° camber to improve handling on slopes and sandy soil. The MER is shipped in a knocked down state and will be assembled once on site. All materials have been chosen for light weight and strength. The main exterior body panels are made of a ceramic foam composite originally developed for the Space Shuttle for its thermal capabilities and repairability. Features of the design include an electric winch and manipulator arms at the front of the vehicle, an airlock for EVA, a fixed control deck, and interchangeable work modules depending on the each individual mission. These can include a crew module, a lab/shop module and a crane module. The MER can also be fitted with a dozer blade for clearing areas around the base station and creating roadways.

About Designer

Montgomery Design International is a full service product design and development firm located in Chicago’s suburban Westmont, Illinois / USA. Founded in 1983, MDI has arguably become the most prolific consulting design firm in the world focusing on the industrial design and styling of agricultural and construction equipment. MDI has worked for the IH and CaseIH companies since its inception, and for Caterpillar and AGCO for over 15 years. Key product lines credited to MDI include the complete line of CaseIH MAGNUM tractors (two of which won prestigious international design awards), the entire NewHolland line of “cats eye” tractors, and the AGCO Challenger 9000 4WD tractor - another design award winner and the world’s largest tractor at the time it was introduced, plus numerous vehicles and concepts for other large international firms such as Caterpillar, McCormick, Yanmar and JOY Mining, Lovol and TAFE ltd. In addition to the industrial vehicle work, MDI provides services to many diverse industries including; medical devices, gaming, major appliances, toys, lighting and hand-held GPS communication devices.