JPL conducted both analytical and experimental investigations of the capabilities of Tumbleweed rovers, with emphasis on Martian applications. A quarter scale model (shown above) was tested for its ability to climb over rocks and to determine its speed as a function of wind velocity and inflation pressure. Its ability to climb hills was also evaluated.
Studies were also conducted at the University of Southern California to better predict analytical evaluations of mobility on Mars, and friction tests were conducted at Carnegie Mellon University to help determine how fast the Tumbleweed Balls will travel as a function of both inflation pressure and wind speed.
Dr. Jeff Hall
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Latest update: July 8, 2012