Title page for ETD etd-07262005-085830

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Morrow, Michael Thomas
URN etd-07262005-085830
Title A Self-Sustaining, Boundary-Layer-Adapted System for Terrain Exploration and Environmental Sampling
Degree Master of Science
Department Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Woolsey, Craig A. Committee Chair
Mason, William H. Committee Member
Schaub, Hanspeter Committee Member
  • boundary layer
  • internal actuation
  • inboard wing
  • Titan
  • terrain exploration
  • buoyancy-driven gliding
Date of Defense 2005-06-10
Availability unrestricted
This thesis describes the preliminary design of a system for remote terrain exploration and environmental sampling on worlds with dense atmospheres. The motivation for the system is to provide a platform for long-term scientific studies of these celestial bodies. The proposed system consists of three main components: a buoyancy-driven glider, designed to operate at low altitude; a tethered energy harvester, extracting wind energy at high altitudes; and a base station to recharge the gliders. This system is self-sustaining, extracting energy from the planetary boundary layer.

A nine degree of freedom vehicle dynamic model has been developed for the buoyancydriven glider. This model was used to illustrate anecdotal evidence of the stability and controllability of the system. A representative system was simulated to examine the energy harvesting concept.

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