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Title: Lunar surface mobility studies, past and future
Authors: Turnage, Gerald W.
Banks, D. C. (Don Charles)
Keywords: Lunar mobility
Mobility models
Lunar soil simulates
Lunar surface vehicles
Publisher: Geotechnical Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Miscellaneous paper (U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station) ; GL-89-26.
Description: Miscellaneous Paper
Abstract: Prior to, during and shortly after the United States Apollo missions of some twenty years ago, WES was heavily involved under contract to NASA in conducting laboratory tests and analytical studies to define the mobility capabilities of proposed lunar surface vehicle concepts. Those WES efforts contributed to selection of the metal-elastic wheels successfully used on the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) and, in association with efforts by the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), produced a quantitative description of the high-level mobility capabilities of a concept tracked running gear proposed for future US lunar surface applications "(the Elastic Loop Mobility System, or ELMS). This paper reviews highlights of those Apollo-era studies -- first, the determination and quantitative characterization of two terrestrial soils each successfully processed to provide a lunar soil simulant (LSS); then, the analysis of results from mobility tests conducted in LSS with several candidate LRV wheels and with several versions of the ELMS. The paper then describes capabilities developed since Apollo for use today in analyzing the mobility and soil-working potential of future US LRV's. These capabilities include judicious application of soil-running gear dimensional analysis relations, plus the use of computerized models to be modified from terrestrial to lunar applications for predicting vehicle mobility and bulldozer working capability (e.g., the Army Mobility Model and the Push-It Model, respectively). Future studies of lunar surface vehicle mobility capabilities must profit from two major lessons learned from Apollo--i.e., how to process and quantitatively describe LSS, and to appreciate that physical testing in LSS of proposed running gears and vehicles is a necessary part of lunar vehicle mobility studies. Making use of these capabilities and lessons learned, and backed by national will, the United States is in far better position today than twenty years ago to develop outstanding capabilities for traveling on and working the surface of the Moon.
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Appears in Collections:Miscellaneous Paper

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