Analysis of a percussive bucket wheel implementation for a robotic planetary excavator
Percussive digging methods have shown to reduce excavation forces when applied in a regolith (extraterrestrial) environment. Similarly bucket wheel excavators lend themselves to be favorable for future robotic planetary or Lunar missions due to their simple construction and continuous operation. This thesis analyzes the possibility of combining these technologies and the effects they would have when implemented into a planetary rover. Specific focus is placed on electrical robustness, power systems, and autonomous operation. Contributions include an experimental prototype and a simulated power analysis. Results conclude that a percussive bucket wheel would suffer from increased power consumption while gaining the benefit of increased electrical robustness, improved autonomous operation, and reduced launch mass. Finally, future improvements are discussed and a concluding statement is provided.