Mobility of Screw Propelled Vehicles in BP-1
Mobility in cohesive granular media is one of the most significant obstacles faced by space robotics systems such as the recently retired Mars rover, Opportunity. Wheeled systems are the standard mobility solution for space applications, however, research has shown that Archimedes screw pontoons have promise for mobility on low gravity bodies such as moons or asteroids. The goal of this research is to compare the results of discrete element modeling (DEM) simulations based on general scaling relations for locomotion in granular media, to experimental data of a craft operating in BP-1, a lunar regolith simulant. Vehicle experiments were performed and compared to Earth gravity DEM simulations.