posted on Sep, 14 2007 @ 04:27 PM
I've always felt that designers look at these types of problems from a very linear viewpoint. Why just ONE large 'rover' packed full of all the
different instruments for the mission? Why not multiple smaller 'rovers' with dedicated instrument packs?
As I read the Yahoo news blurb, I saw no stipulation on the time limit of the mission or that the 'rover' had to be a single self contained unit.
There is a distance requirement of 1312 feet, a 'self portrait', a 'panoramic view' and 'near real time videos' and that the total amount of
data sent back to Earth equal one gigabyte.
I'll never build one but I propose a mission consisting of payload carrying 'base station' which makes a soft landing on the lunar surface. The
'base station' would carry the transmitter, antenna, computer memory, and power supply to beam the 'gigabyte' of 'data' back to Earth.
The payload would consist of multiple 'rovers' each designed to fulfill a specific mission requirement. If weight and space permit, redundant
'rovers' could be included to help insure success of the mission. Each 'rover' would transmit the data it collects to the base station, and the
base station would relay it back to earth.
Not all 'rovers' need to be firmly planted on the ground, either. In fact, that would be my last choice for the bulk of the 'rovers' sent. If it
is not an absolute requirement to be touching the ground then I would not send any ground based 'rovers' in order to fulfill the mission
requirements as I understand them.
As I see it, a 'base station' makes soft landing and establishes contact with the Earth. One 'self portrait' and one 'panoramic view' is taken
from the 'base station', along with one 'real time video feed'.
The 'rovers' themselves would simply be high speed / high definition camera/transmiter/power supplies encased in what I can't help but think of as
anything other than a skeet (a clay pigeon)
The 'camera skeet' are ejected from the 'base station' in a variety of directions and angles to insure the largest possible area of coverage.
Some will plow straight into the ground, some will fly up in large arcs (perhaps even achieving some type of lunar orbit if the launch energy were
large enough) and some would (hopefully) skim across the surface for the 1312 feet (or more) required by mission parameters.
The high speed cameras would help insure non 'motion blur' images, and I would imagine it would take very little energy to launch one the 1312 feet
required by mission parameters.
As long as the device gathers whatever is deemed to be a 'sufficient number of high quality pictures' as it skims across the surface then who cares
how they are obtained, right?
The more moving parts we add to something the greater the risk of failure.
Currently this seems to me to be more of an exercise in traditional thinking ground based robots with artificial intelligence than an image gathering
It will be interesting to see how all of this unfolds.