A cross-braced chassis will support the brain and body of the robot. We have a couple of different drive train and suspension ideas. Idea 1: Two tank treads with three hubs in each, located at the front sides of the robot and two wheels with a wide tread at the rear sides of the robot. The wheels and tread systems would have a suspension with LEGO® springs to help navigate the craters and not get stuck or tip over. Idea 2) Six wheels with 4 servo motors and a differential so that we can have a 6x6 power drive system with a LEGO spring suspension.
Sensors: we were thinking that the ROBOT should have two ultrasonic sensors. One would be connected to the chassis and brain at the front of the ROBOT (in the space between the tank treads). The other would be located at the top of the NXT brain that is a periscope. We will use touch sensors to navigate our environment and light sensors to make it through a lunar night like we are on the dark side...
“Luke, I am your father”.
“No silly, not that dark side! The dark side of the moon!”
NOTE: The only problem with our design as a prototype for a real lunar rover is that ultrasonic sensors can’t work in space because there is no air for the ultrasonic sound waves to travel on/through. So, the ultrasonic sensors should be replaced with HD cameras that can withstand very cold and hot temperatures.
What robot wouldn’t be complete without attachments? The robot would probably only have two attachments because Tim Pickens from the Rocket City Space Pioneers, A Google Lunar X-Prize Team, said that the best design would be light and simple. We have a few of ideas:
· We were thinking that we could have a four-fingered claw.
::disembodied alien voices:: “The CLAW!”
“Yes actually, kind of like that.” (Fun fact: we are building a MINDSTORMS® scale replica of the Claw from Toy Story for a friend’s alien mini-fig take over project in exchange for videography in our 2011 FLL season. This will come in handy if we find any alien mini-figs in Phase II)
· A three or four pronged fork to catch samples
· A small cage to collect the Helium three and water samples
· Maybe a bracketed LEGO turntable attached to a servo to pivot the camera around
And that is our robot!
But why choose us? Our team is very energetic and excited about robotics and science. We have put a lot of time and effort into Phase I, our video, and our website. All of us work well with one another. We have the commitment and drive to succeed and will see all of the challenges of Phase II through to the end. Many of us already belong to, and present with, an organization that promotes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) through which we facilitate robotics programs for other kids across Southern California. We WANT to inspire other kids to love science and math. Most importantly: WE HAVE FUN!