Significant resources, including water ice, may exist at the bottom of craters at the Moon’s poles. These locations have not faced the Sun since the Moon’s creation, and hence are very cold (about 100K). Exploring these sites would be very hazardous for human beings, so an uninhabited rover with exploration capabilities may be necessary. Such a rover will not have solar power available, and other power sources (nuclear, storage batteries, etc.) have significant problems. We propose a laser solution, in which a stationary rover (ground station, or "mother ship") on the top edge of the crater periodically illuminates the rover with a laser. This laser light is converted to electrical power on the rover, which is used to recharge its batteries. The Sun will be in view of the stationary rover, which will use solar panels for it’s power. Several rovers may be implemented, all relying on the ground station for power and communication.
Defining, designing and integrating the rover and its systems is the main thrust of our effort. We will explore the challenges and opportunities of directing power from the stationary laser to the rover, and communicating with it. We are submitting our design to NASA's Big Idea Challenge, and hope our design is chosen to be built and sent to the Moon in 2024.
This project is led by undergraduates.
We are looking for students with engineering, coding, machining, animation, cad drawing, and related experience who would like to participate in this project.