Interactive Sim EMIS Paper VehicleConcept CO2 compressor concept Finite Element Model about us

Areology is the Mars equivalent of Geology. This is an initial development of a simulation, in support of science and vehicle integration, prior to any detailed design. The vehicle is unusual, and is targeted at enabling subsurface mapping of Mars. It is an autonomous vehicle to hop over the Mars surface, looking for briny groundwater, based on electromagnetic induction sounding.

The Martian atmosphere is much thinner than our terrestrial atmosphere, so repeated aero sorties with any significant payload is impossible. Our vehicle - which admittedly looks like a flying saucer, is a cold propellant rocket. It compresses the thin Martian CO2 atmosphere to form a propellant. This propellant is enough to let the vehicle make a 15 meter hop every day or two.

The simulation software optimizes a flight path, based on points you chose to define. Below is a distance optimized hop plan. You can generate your own, through a valley with the Interactive Sim. If you're not careful though, the simulation will go a bit crazy - as simulations are often wont to do.

To support early concept issues, we have used our FE First design approach. - FE First. The design process is to generate a simple FE model, in advance of the CAD model. This approach offers early weight saving opportunity. A truly minimal structure is developed, and only necessary structural additions are made. It is easier to add structure at preliminary design stage, than to remove it at detailed design stage. And of course, the FE information in being incorporated into the simulation - to support scientific mapping strategies.


  • mapping of subsurface briny water with EMIS
  • drill to 1 meter at promising locations
  • significant design issue: emi noise

Vehicle Concept

  • non-metallic
  • 5 kg compressed CO2 as propellant
  • hop traverse goal: 15m
  • diameter: 1 meter
  • power: solar
  • hop duration: 5.6-7.5 sec
  • mass: 100 kg

Distance Optimized

Mission Planning & Op's