The MarsCart: Simple Reliable Non-Powered Field-Maintainable Transportation for Short-Range Small-Payload Extravehicular Activity on Mars

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C. M. Smith et al. (2015), JBIS, 68, pp.297-305

Refcode: 2015.68.297
Keywords: Marscart, Mars Surface exploration, EVA support equipment

Medium-range (here defined as under 100 km from a given habitat) extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on Mars will undoubtedly use some variety of mechanized all-terrain vehicles (ATV's), but there will be times when it is desirable to transport small loads (here defined as under 300 kgf Earth mass 114 kgf Mars mass) without powered, mechanized aid. There is good reason, then, to design a simple vehicle capable of transporting small loads on Mars, similar to the Modular Equipment Transporter (MET) used to transport gear on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission. On Earth equipment is carried in backpack, but for the forseeable future, on Mars explorers will wear a backpack-like portable life support system (PLSS). We propose a `wheeled sledge' or `Marscart', towed with simple traces. This paper introduces the essential design elements and dimensions and presents considerations based the authors' experience with pulling similar vehicles in Arctic and Australian expeditions. The basic `Marscart' design is based on lessons from these expeditions as well as lessons from a general anthropological consideration of equipment design among mobile human societies in which low-tech but reliable tools are used to adapt to various environments for survival and exploration.

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