Phoenix Rover Research Apparatus


The purpose of this project was to help develop an apparatus to support research contributing to the Mars Phoenix Rover’s environmental sensors. Specifically, the researchers were interested in how Martian dust devils may influence water flux from the regolith to the atmosphere.

The project apparatus was a large tank was part of an experiment to and measure how much water is pulled through the Martian soil when exposed to a dust devil simulated with a vortex generator. The tank had to contain the water in the bottom and support material simulating the Martian soil.

The main challenge was minimizing the weight of the tank so that the change in mass of water could be accurately measured. After considering a variety of options a design based on aluminum honeycomb panels and aircraft construction was selected for the strong balange of mass and rigidity.

My Tasks

  • Liased with researchers to confirm requirments
  • Designed and detailed using Pro/E
  • Sourced materials and components
  • Generated drawing packaging for manufacture
  • Oversaw and supported construction