Date of Defense
Date of Graduation
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Venus continues to be a target of interest for the scientific community, as the similarities and differences to Earth pose intriguing questions about planetary evolution. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to gain a better understanding of Earth’s sister planet and has presented a challenge to interested undergraduate student teams to develop a in-situ robotic explorer and accompanying relay. The student team representing Western Michigan University has designed a long-term Venusian lander to both survive the harsh environment for an extended period and gather scientific data on the planet’s atmosphere and surface to be communicated back to Earth through the accompanying orbital relay. Subsystems for the lander and orbital relay such as power generation and temperature management were considered. Verification of the systems was obtained through hand calculations and computer software provided by Western Michigan University, such as MATLAB and Simscape. A Concept of Operations was created to reflect the general timeline of the mission and its various tasks being conducted. It was determined that until further technological advancements are made, the 90-day goal set forth by NASA cannot be met. With different approaches taken by the student teams, NASA can potentially use the designs from the competitions to inform the design of their own long-term Venusian lander.
Wales, Aidan, "Long Duration Venus Lander" (2021). Honors Theses. 3478.
Honors Thesis-Open Access