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Amaris: A CubeSat-Based Land Rover

Team Amaris Objectives

To apply knowledge gained expand through 2 CSLI missions, WeissSat-1 and CapSat-1, to build a CubeSat-based lunar rover. To better understand ionized lunar dust behavior and address its adhesion to solar panels using Exolith Lunar Highland Simulant.


To evaluate electric and magnetic field strategies for mitigating dust accumulation on solar panels on the lunar surface.

Lunar Regolith

Primarily composed of abrasive and fine (<250 µm) particles; composed of several oxides, formed through repeated micrometeorite collisions with the lunar surface. They cling to equipment & electronics and shorten material lifetimes and reduces efficacy. They are toxic when inhaled and can damage spacesuits and essential equipment.

Lunar Dust Ionization Problem

UV Radiation ionizes lunar dust – particles have a positive charge

Electrostatic repulsion ‘levitates’ dust ~10 cm above the ground

Premise: Lunar Dust could be mitigated using electric and/or
magnetic fields (Laws of Electrostatics)

Inital Rover Design Considerations
  • Utilize CubeSat-based technology for all subsystems but propulsion
  • Tail dragger skis and 4 wheeled options considered; current plans
    involve 2 drive wheels and 2 free wheels for balance only
  • Based on 8 x 24-hour mission at Lacus Mortis (via Astrobotic’s
    Peregrine Lander)
  • To constrain costs, a 1U base (10 cm x 10cm x 10 cm) pre-deployment
    on surface) configuration was adopted
  • At deployment nitinol hinges will extend 1U rover into 0.5U x 1U x 2U
  • Camera and other sensors protected from dustup at landing
  • Deployment sequence (left to right) below:


Amaris Rover

First Stage Amaris Rover

Half Deployed Amaris Rover

Standard CubeSat subsystems will be used for EPS (triple junction cells, Li-ion poly batt, Power distribution system, ~2 GHz radio (to lander for relay to Earth), star tracker, visible camera, aluminum chassis, etc. Carbon Nanotubes for spoke material; aluminum wheels

Team Background

  • Wolverine CubeSat Team (at Weiss through 2020)
  • (WCDT) founded
  • Nine original members
  • First tethered and High Altitude Balloon (HAB) missions with telemetry
2016 – 2017
  • Submission to CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI)
  • Mission: examine in LEO extremophile bacteria
  • NASA CSLI – 2017 selection
  • 2nd successful HAB launch
  • WeissSat-1 successfully integrated, tested, and was launched by Dec. 3rd, 2018
  • NASA CSLI – 2019 selection (for 2nd CubeSat)
  • WeissSat-1 Final Report submitted to NASA
  • Formation of the Wolfpack CubeSat Development Team – working with Nebraska and N. Carolina for CSLI 2020 submissions


POLICY 2017-Present
  • Advocacy team formed to support and propose aerospace legislation
  • HR 109 2018 “WeissSat-1”
  • Sponsored by Rep. Brian Mast (FL-18th)
  • Reintroduced as H. Res. 85 Jan. 2020 as “Wolverine CubeSats in Education”
  • Attended Space Exploration Alliances Legislative Blitz (D.C.) 2016-2020
  • Attended Space Day event (Tallahassee) 2018-2020
  • Attended the AIAA CVDs (D.C.) 2018-2019
  • National Champion – Future Space Scholars Meet. Competed in Int’l event – Beijing, China 2019
  • World Champions (8thlarge group) NSS Space Settlement Contest – 2020 (out of 2,600+ entries, 14K+ students)
  • SmallSat 2016-2019 Presented ‘18, Poster ‘19
  • Int’l Astronautical Conf. Presented 2018, ‘19, ’20 – 10 papers total
  • Humans2Mars Summit 2017, 2018, 2019
  • Lunar and Planetary Conf Poster 2020
  • Int’l Space Dev. Conf. 2018, 2020 Debate champions 2018 9 spUN Debate teams ’20
  • Banquets – AIAA 2017, ‘18, ‘19, ’20 |Missileers 2017,’18,’19,’20  | Business Dev Board – Nat’l Engr Week 2018,’19,’20
  • Michigan Space 2019
  • AIAA SciTech 2018, 2020
  • Students created 25 cm x 25 cm x 10 cm Lexan box to test solar panel and chassis components with or without simulated regolith in a low vacuum environment
  • Exolith’s Lunar Highlands Simulant (LHS-1) from Orlando, FL
  • Local magnetic field created with a 10K Gauss (7.11 x 10-5 T) neodymium permanent magnet (& with lower strength electromagnets)
  • Multimeters measured electric field produced by power supply and V produced by solar panel in sunlight or lamp
  • Electric fields created using a DC Power Supply (0-30 V) and indium tin oxide (ITO) coated polyethylene sheets above/ below the solar panel. ITO panels are transparent and conductive.