Rover Thermal Analysis
Producing accurate heat transfer calculations represents the cornerstone for any successful space robot design. A thorough thermal analysis is required. In this picture, you can see team member Alexander Shaenko presenting his heat transfer data calculations. The first thermal model of our rover which was very primitive has now been replaced by one which is much more advanced. We use original THORIUM software developed by Alexander together with commercial software. See http://sourceforge.net/projects/thorium/ It is not unusual for a Moon robot to move over a short span to time from a site where temperatures are in the range of -100°C - such as in a shadow of a crater - to a site out in the open where temperatures exceed +100°C. Because of this harsh thermal environment, the Selenokhod rover must be able to perform multiple tasks regardless of the temperature. Our rover which features a non-pressurized composite body simply "sleeps" throughout the entire lunar night, and then begins operations after it "awakes" following the lunar sunrise. Years ago, Soviet Lunokhod rovers were equipped with pressurized metal bodies and used radioisotope heaters to help them survive the frigid lunar nights.