30 Aug 2019
Steffen Ridderbusch spends the summer as an intern at NASA JPL
As my second mini-project I spent the summer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) in Pasadena. My task was to simplify the limb design for a wheeled robot with active suspension with the goal of developing a developing a mobility platform for Ocean Worlds. The moons Europa and Enceladus are thought to contain vast amounts of water with a chance to find live, but are expected to be much harder to traverse than Mars or the Moon. My mentors at JPL used the highly capable RoboSimian platform in terrain in Alaska and Death Valley thought to be analogous to Ocean Worlds to identify the necessary capabilities and mobility modes. Based on this I have developed a framework to optimize different limb prototype based aspects like energy efficiency or manipulability while achieving the low complexity. From there, I have proposed a number of candidate designs, which are planned to be prototyped and tested to form a proposal for a next-generation extra-terrestrial mobility platform.