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Thread: 500lb capacity RC wheel loader - video

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    500lb capacity RC wheel loader - video


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    I wish we'd put a blade like this on a Mars rover. It'd be really cool to see below the weathered surface of that planet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Greene View Post
    I wish we'd put a blade like this on a Mars rover. It'd be really cool to see below the weathered surface of that planet.
    It probably wouldn't be cost-effective to make the rover powerful enough to drive a blade, especially when the sub-surface composition is not well known. More reasonable would be a revolving boring tool that could extract a plug of material which could then be analyzed layer by layer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Greene View Post
    I wish we'd put a blade like this on a Mars rover. It'd be really cool to see below the weathered surface of that planet.
    That would be really neat. Also suitable landing areas are a really big deal. The rockets fling every possible rock and stone under the landing area and cause a lot of damage. You can see it in some of the Apollo footage. The bottom of the craft becomes completely scoured from flying regolith after just a few seconds. I was working on a project that uses sunlight to melt Moon and Mars regolith into glass. It actually works pretty good. Were were able to make a bunch of different thing using a very simple process just by melting regolith down to glass. Beyond structural shapes and objects, you can "pave" a safe landing area. It would be highly beneficial to scrape down the area and get rid of the bigger rocks first (our process couldn't melt anything bigger than class A gravel).

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    Quote Originally Posted by nova_robotics View Post
    Were were able to make a bunch of different thing using a very simple process just by melting regolith down to glass. Beyond structural shapes and objects, you can "pave" a safe landing area..
    That's really cool, and I've actually played with the same thing! I got one of the Martian garden regolith simulant kits as a gift and melted some of it into glass using a big fresnel lens. Did you have cracking problems? Mine failed immediately on cooling whenever I tried to make anything bigger than a half dollar. Small world.

    The reason I want to see a blade on a rover goes back to Spirit. Near the end of its mission it had a busted wheel. Dragging it around caused a little trench behind the rover that wasn't more than an inch deep. In that trench we saw silica deposits unlike anything on the surface. I'd like to see more of what's under there. Drilling into rocks shows us what was captured when the rock was formed, and surface photograph show what things look like after millennia of weathering. There is a huge time gap in the middle that we can't see.

    (I am not a scientist or an expert.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Greene View Post
    That's really cool, and I've actually played with the same thing! I got one of the Martian garden regolith simulant kits as a gift and melted some of it into glass using a big fresnel lens. Did you have cracking problems? Mine failed immediately on cooling whenever I tried to make anything bigger than a half dollar. Small world.
    That's identical to what I was doing. I also thought I was being original. Guess not. I welded up a single axis tracking frame out of aluminum channel, dropped a fresnel lens in and started melting stuff. I was melting the same Martian Garden stuff, as well as a bunch of simulants from Exolith labs. The trick I've found with the Martian garden stuff is that it seems to melt twice. You really have to pound the heat to it. There's an initial liquifying where you *think* you're done, but really it's a trick. You continue to heat it for a while and it'll bubble away, then it'll do almost a second phase change when it stops gassing out, gets kinda gloopy and starts to glow red hot. So that's step one. If you try to let it solidify before this it's going to be extremely porous and as brittle as a soda cracker. Then you need to let it cool slooooowly. If it cools fast it's going to crack. Try to keep it hot for a good 15 - 20 minutes. I tried a few different things including using aerogel insulation, but that sticks to it and messes up the surface finish. What I found works better is just to move it a few inches behind the focal point of the fresnel lens and let it cool down while still being heated by the sun. We were able to make some decent sized objects that way. Stuff that's a few inches across anyway. Also if you haven't already, dip a screwdriver or other pokey metal thing in the liquid regolith, then pull it away. Mars fibreglass. It's actually pretty robust stuff. Gotta be applications for that. The Canadian Space Agency did not seem to think so, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elizabeth Greene View Post
    The reason I want to see a blade on a rover goes back to Spirit. Near the end of its mission it had a busted wheel. Dragging it around caused a little trench behind the rover that wasn't more than an inch deep. In that trench we saw silica deposits unlike anything on the surface. I'd like to see more of what's under there. Drilling into rocks shows us what was captured when the rock was formed, and surface photograph show what things look like after millennia of weathering. There is a huge time gap in the middle that we can't see.

    (I am not a scientist or an expert.)
    That's an interesting point. It seems like there's a lot of good science right at our fingertips. I wonder if we'll see any type of blade on any future missions. Or maybe they can intentionally drag one of Curiosity's wheels to recreate what you were saying about Spirit. Curiosity's wheels aren't looking too hot, and they might not want to risk breaking the light drivetrain. Or maybe now they can take some chances with that mission because they have Perseverance. Just intentionally drag a wheel and do some gardening. See what turns up.



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