NASA Has Completed A Competition To Create Sensors For The Venus Rover
NASA has announced the end of a competition to create a system of mechanical sensors for the future Venus Rover AREE. Three finalists were selected from 572 projects, and 12 participants received incentive prizes. The winner of the competition was a project by a Cairo architect who proposed to dress the Rover's wheels in nets, placing a system of rollers and tubes in front of it, according to the NASA website.
The conditions on the surface of Venus — high temperatures and atmospheric pressure — are extremely unfavorable for long-term research by automatic devices that use electronic components. The record for the duration of work on Venus, set during the Soviet mission (more information about it can be found in the material "Reach for Venus"), was 127 minutes and has not yet been broken.
In February 2020, NASA announced a competition to create sensors for the Venus mechanical Rover AREE (Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments), the first stage of development of which under the NIAC (NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts) program ended in 2017. According to the plan, it will receive and store energy using a wind generator and a system of springs, and control will be carried out by a mechanical computer, while the parts of the device will be made of heat-resistant materials, and individual electronic components will be able to work in high temperatures; this will allow the device to survive for several months on the surface of Venus.
The goal of the contest "Exploring Hell: Avoiding Obstacles on a Clockwork Rover" is to create mechanical sensors that should ensure the safe movement of the device on the surface of the planet, detecting large rocks, crevices or steep slopes. A total of 572 applications were submitted from groups from 82 countries.
As a result, the winner was the project "Venus Feels" by the architect from Cairo, Youssef Ghali, who will receive an award of 15 thousand dollars. Its system consists of several rollers and tubes in front of the Rover, and all the wheels of the device are dressed in nets. The second place was taken by the project "Skid n' Bump — All-mechanical, Mostly Passive" from the team of engineers Team Rovetronics, their system consists of movable levers, they will receive a reward of 10 thousand dollars.
The third place was taken by the project "Direction Biased Obstacle Sensor-DBOS" from the Australian engineer Callum Heron (Callum Heron), which will receive an award of 5 thousand dollars: its system consists of levers and small rollers and is visually similar to the element of a combine harvester.
Two additional prizes of two thousand dollars were awarded to the projects "AMII Sensor "from the team from Latvia KOB ART and" ECHOS: Evaluate Cliffs Holes Objects & Slides " from the British engineer Matthew Reynolds, and ten other participants of the competition received certificates of commendation for their inventions.