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Venus Landsailer ZephyrImagine sailing across the hot plains of Venus! A design for a craft to do just this was completed by the COncurrent Multidisciplinary Preliminary Assessment of Space Systems (COMPASS) Team for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) project. The robotic craft could explore over 30 kilometers of the surface of Venus, driven by the power of the wind. The Zephyr Venus Landsailer is a science mission concept for exploring the surface of Venus with a mobility and science capability roughly comparable to the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission, but using the winds of the thick atmosphere of Venus for propulsion. It would explore the plains of Venus in the year 2025, near the Venera 10 landing site, where wind velocities in the range of 80 to 120 centimeters per second (cm/s) were measured by earlier Soviet landing missions. These winds are harnessed by a large wing/sail which would also carry the solar cells to generate power. At around 250 kilograms (kg), Zephyr would carry an 8 meter tall airfoil sail (12 square meters area), 25 kg of science equipment (mineralogy, grinder, and weather instruments) and return 2 gigabytes of science over a 30 day mission. Due to the extreme temperatures (450 degrees Centigrade) and pressures (90 bar) on Venus, Zephyr would have only basic control systems (based on high temperature silicon carbide (SiC)electronics) and actuators. Control would come from an orbiter which is in turn controlled from Earth. Due to the time delay from the Earth a robust control system would need to exist on the orbiter to keep Zephyr on course. Data return and control would be made using a 250 megahertz link with the orbiter with a maximum data rate of 2 kilobits per second. At the minimal wind speed required for mobility of 35 cm/s, the vehicle move at a slow but steady 4 cm/s by positioning the airfoil and use of one wheel that is steered for pointing control. Navigation commands from the orbiter will be based upon navigation cameras, simple accelerometers and stability sensors; Zephyr's stability is robust, using a wide wheel base along with controls to "feather" or "luff" the airfoil and apply brakes to stop the vehicle in the case of unexpected conditions. This would be the science gathering configuration. The vehicle itself would need to be made from titanium (Ti) as the structural material, with a corrosion-barrier overcoating due to extreme temperatures on the surface.
Document ID
20190001160
Document Type
Other
Authors
Landis, Geoffrey (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Oleson, Steve (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Grantier, Dave (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Balkanyi, Les (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Bur, Mike (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Burke, Laura (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Bury, Kristen (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Colozza, Anthony (Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
Dankanich, John (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Drexler, Jon (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Dux, Ian (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Fincannon, James (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Fittje, James (Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
Gyekenyesi, John (ZIN Technologies, Inc. Brook Park, OH, United States)
Martini, Mike (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Packard, Tom (Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
Smith, Dave (Vantage Partners, LLC Brook Park, OH, United States)
Tenteris, Anita (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Warner, Joe (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Williams, Glenn L. (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Woytach, Jeff (NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
March 4, 2019
Publication Date
July 1, 2014
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
CD-2013-86
HQ-E-DAA-TN63158
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Keywords
Wind Sailing
Venus
Exploration
Lander

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