Hypothesized Surface: Robotic Explorer – Michigan State


Michigan State


Nickel Class (2020 – 2021)


Adam Speaks, Mechanical Engineering
Jacob Wallace, Mechanical Engineering
Jacob Klocko, Mechanical Engineering
Hannah Scott, Mechanical Engineering
Christian Stack, Mechanical Engineering


Dr. Brian Feeny, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, MSU
Dr. William Resh, Professor, Mechanical Engineering, MSU


The NASA Psyche Mission is set to launch in 2022 and arrive at the asteroid in 2026. It is an orbiter mission and will not land on the surface. It is possible to imagine, however, that after learning about Psyche from orbit, there may be scientists and engineers interested in proposing a subsequent mission to actually land on the asteroid to explore its surface. The capstone team will design a robotic rover capable of traversing a range of hypothesized surfaces and constraints that might be found at Psyche. Ideally, the robot rover should be able to adapt to these hypothesized surfaces mid-traverse. The hypothesized surfaces designed around: mostly flat metallic surface, flat metallic with metal and/or rocky debris, rough/high-relief metallic and/or rocky terrain, high-relief metallic crater walls.

This work was created in partial fulfillment of Michigan State University Capstone Courses. The work is a result of the Psyche Student Collaborations component of NASA’s Psyche Mission (https://psyche.asu.edu). “Psyche: A Journey to a Metal World” [Contract number NNM16AA09C] is part of the NASA Discovery Program mission to solar system targets. Trade names and trademarks of ASU and NASA are used in this work for identification only. Their usage does not constitute an official endorsement, either expressed or implied, by Arizona State University or National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of ASU or NASA.