Credit: Ding L., et al.

Data and images collected by China’s Yutu-2 rover indicate it has experienced varying degrees of mild slip and skid. The lunar terrain trod by the six-wheeled, off-road robot, is relatively flat at large scales but scattered with local gentle slopes.

“Cloddy soil sticking on its wheels implies a greater cohesion of the lunar soil than encountered at other lunar landing sites,” reports Ding Liang with the Harbin Institute of Technology.

The Moon machinery uses four steering motors on the corner wheels with a meshed surface.

Credit: Ding L., et al.

Cloddy soil, gel-like rocks

Researchers from Harbin Institute of Technology and Beijing Aerospace Control Center analyzed the locomotive data and images collected by Yutu-2, presenting their findings in the peer-reviewed journal, Science Robotics.

China’s Chang’E-4 mission successfully targeted the Moon’s farside and deployed the teleoperated Yutu-2 rover to investigate inside the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin. The robot has encountered cloddy soil, gel-like rocks, and fresh small craters inside the Von Karman crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin.

Credit: Ding L., et al.

 

Rolling past designed lifetime

The Moon mission – a lander and the rover – touched down on January 3, 2019. The rover has operated for three years, rolling past its initial three-month designed lifetime.

 

Researchers used the rover wheel as a trenching device to approximate the properties of the lunar soil.

Cover photo credit: Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC)

Ding Liang, the paper’s first author, State Key Laboratory of Robotics and System, Harbin Institute of Technology, said that the findings are helping shape in-depth studies for China’s subsequent lunar missions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read the study – “A 2-year locomotive exploration and scientific investigation of the lunar farside by the Yutu-2 rover” – go to:

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scirobotics.abj6660

Leave a Reply