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Our team designed a modified bulldozer blade that would be mounted on
the rover. Its main function would be to clear a path for easier movement of the treads of the rover across the Martian landscape. A secondary function would be excavation of difficult to reach minerals buried in the soil of Mars. This tool would also be useful in assisting with clear an area for habitat construction.
The bulldozer blade would be made of a titanium alloy. At the end of the blade there would be a very sharp digging and probing attachment. It would have the ability to move up and down for deeper digging. The blade would be able to turn or be straight so it could both push and shovel dirt. Using built in hydraulics it could be angled left or right to plow dirt and rocks out of the way of the rover. Rubber boots keeping Martian dust out would protect the hydraulic mechanism. It would be powered by a solar battery pack using power from the rover, plus a small backup panel of its own. The blade would be the size of a normal bulldozer blade, but lighter and stronger.
Because the surface of Mars is very similar to volcanic areas of Earth, this blade could be used and tested on the Earth’s surface. This tool could perform the same tasks of earthmoving and getting access to samples of minerals.
NASA Official: Mark León
Last Updated: May 2005
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