Copyright ‹ 2003 by Ronald L. Bennett. Published by The Mars Society with permission
Using Wind Energy to Pull A Surface Rover on Mars, Venus, or Titan
Ronald L. Bennett
Arrow Space Innovations
PO Box 9256
Surprise, AZ 85374
A balloon high above a surface rover tethered to a dragchute just below has enough energy from the wind to pull a rover on Mars for hundreds of kilometers. All the semi-autonomous rovers sent to Mars planned for the future are restricted by the places they can land, by the terrain they can climb, by the slope of the surface, by the obstacles they may encounter and in the amount of space they can travel in. Yet simply by using the wind to sail across its surface a rover on Mars can go where no rovers could ever go before and much further than can be imagined. Some terrestrial tests on this new device we call the Windsurfer were performed by using several different methods listed below. In the following pages we will describe how this way of tapping into the natural force from the wind on the atmospheric-rich worlds of Mars, Venus and Titan can be done with a minimal amount of resources and cost. We will show how even the wind in the thin Martian atmosphere is dense enough to push a Windsurfer, thereby driving a rover on its surface, for hundreds of kilometers.