The Eve Rover 1 has arrived on the surface of Eve. The descent was much better than the Duna Rover earlier. Eve Rover’s final descent speed was less than 2 meters per second, well within the rover’s impact tolerance. The parachute upper structure jettisoned at 2 meters above the surface instead of 10, as the Duna Rover did and experienced problems. The parachute upper structure floats away and the Eve Rover sets down on Eve.
The Eve Rover, which is set to explore the surface and lower atmosphere of Eve set down in the mid-land regions of Eve. “The landing site was ideal because it had flatlands and lakes nearby and as a bonus there is a large crater that has been there for over 100 million years. There is plenty of science to keep us busy” said Rush Kerman, EECOM specialist in RUD Mission Control.
The rover didn’t arrive unscathed though. A motor in one of its wheels is not responding to commands from mission control and three of the four solar panels have failed. Both failures are blamed on the greater than estimated temperature and atmospheric pressure. “We have never operated a robot in such an environment before. We are lucky it is even still working” said Roger Kerman from RUD Mission Control.
The atmosphere on Eve is five times thicker than the atmosphere on Kerbin and the temperature is a whopping 180 degrees Celsius in the sunlight. This presents a lot of problems with electronics, such as the ones onboard the rover.
The rover’s primary mission is to use short range, high resolution radar to scan the density and composition of the ground between the surface and the kethane deposit below the surface that the rover landed on. If drilling is feasible, RUD may send kethane extraction missions to Eve to harvest the precious material.
Some scientists aren’t all that optimistic about the feasibility of harvesting kethane from Eve. “The large amount of gravity and high atmospheric density on Eve makes a surface launch extremely challenging. The amount of fuel required to get a craft off of the surface of Eve is twice what we would need to get it off of the surface of Kerbin.” — Bill Kerman, RUD
Regardless of kethane, however, it is important that we understand the science behind Eve. Eve is a very stormy planet with high temperature and thick atmosphere. Understanding weather and atmosphere on Eve will increase our understanding of our own weather on our own planet.
What excites you about this rover’s arrival on Eve?