Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Space Studies

First Advisor

Pablo de Leon


In the near future, astronauts will explore new planetary surfaces in the Solar System. To enable peak performance, these astronauts will need to utilize all of the tools at their disposal. It is proposed that one such tool is a planetary surface rover designed specifically to assist the astronauts during their Extra-Vehicular-Activities (EVA’s).

This rover is designed and built to operate in concert with existing analog planetary surface infrastructure at the University of North Dakota (UND). This rover will be remotely controlled by an astronaut located on the planetary surface, enabling real-time operation and obstacle avoidance. The rover will act primarily as a relay for audio and video communications between the astronauts in the field and the Inflatable Lunar Habitat (ILH), or another planetary outpost. This rover will be designed to enable storage for tools and samples, freeing the astronauts from the tedious and physically demanding task of carrying items for long distances encumbered by an EVA suit. This thesis will describe the design of the rover and the rationale for each design decision. Upon completion of the rover, this thesis will report on the real-world performance of the rover, the effectiveness of the subsystems, and the lessons learned as a result of initial testing. Using the rover and the information obtained from this thesis, future astronaut-rover interaction studies will be conducted that will be important to the future of human planetary exploration.