The LMRs' Role
Astronaut Limitations
The Big Picture
LMR Advantages
In-field LMR Control
Habitat LMR Control
Problem 1: Complication
Subsequent Problems
LMR Families
LMR Chain of Command
LMR Overdependency
Beyond Mission 2004
A Design Note
LMR Design
Systems Outline


Design Note

The possibilities for the LMRs are endless. During Mission 2004 they will play a vital role in expanding the searching capabilities of the astronauts. After the mission, they will continue the search for life. The LMRs will be available for future missions and may play important roles in the planning of these future missions. Our LMRs stand as examples of the capabilities of space technology, of autonomous control, and of well-designed systems.

In coming up with our ideas for the LMRs we have focused on being more realistically creative, as opposed to accurately descriptive. Our LMRs are concepts that have evolved to different degrees in different ways. We can answer many questions about how they will function, what kinds of systems they will have, and even about their anticipated performance. However, we have not gone into the details of their technical design. The LMRs will undoubtedly be complex. The software controlling them must be balanced in complexity and efficiency. The motion of the legged small LMRs will be complicated and the vision systems will require a great deal of programming and research. The power systems will be an engineering challenge, and the batteries will likely come from new, expanding technologies. The high bandwidth communications systems will rely on present and future research.

This is not to say that we have not looked into the details of the LMRs. On the contrary, this website is a broad overview of their role in Mission 2004 and contains a design tree of our LMRs that deals with each component of the LMRs in detail. These design trees are not technical by nature, but look into the various design options available and present the arguments for the choices we have made among these options. These wonderfully complicated machines will present many challenges. They will push the limits of space technology, and they will play a critical role in any mission striving to find life on Mars.

mitCopyright © 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Comments and questions to Last updated: 10 December, 2000