Thermal Vacuum Testing

Thermal vacuum testing of components and assemblies is essential during the design, prototyping, and pre-integration of a Moon rover to ensure that its electronics and materials will operate at the pole of the Moon, where temperatures can swing 250 degrees from hot to cold, but electronic temperatures must be moderate. This requires a chamber that … Continued

Active Thermal Management

The rover must actively regulate its interior temperature while polar surface temperatures vary by 250 degrees and solar-electric power generation varies from zero to 70 watts. Although the rover has impressive passive thermal regulation, it could not possibly maintain its electronics at the even, moderate operating temperatures without (1) determining the temperatures of its electronic … Continued

Thermal Safety during Occultation

Occultation means to hide or conceal from light.  In space these are most commonly due to partial or total eclipses.  During MoonRanger’s mission, one occultation is expected to occur over 24 hours when a high, distant hilltop partially blocks light reaching the rover.  During this period the robot’s solar array only generates reduced power, and … Continued

Thermal Considerations of Polar Roving

On the south pole of the Moon, shadowed regions exhibit temperatures as cold as -210˚C and illuminated solar panels reach temperatures up to 70˚C. These extremes of cold and hot must be moderated from -10˚C to 35˚C  internally to ensure functionality of batteries and electronics. The technology, design and process to achieve this essential thermal … Continued

3D Model for Sewing MoonRanger Insulative Blanket

Figure 1. The 3D-printed MoonRanger look-alike that will be used as a form around which the robot’s multi-layer insulation ‘blanket’ will be ‘sewn’. Despite freezing shadows on the Moon, rover batteries and electronics have to remain at a moderate operating temperature. This is like a human maintaining internal body temperature at 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit in … Continued