NASA has demonstrated a resolve for a flagship mission in the coming years to revisit Venus and land instruments on the surface. Venus has a corrosive, high-pressure (~100 bar), high-temperature (470°C) environment. A motor drive is the major theme that runs through the most critical needs for optimum geological and atmospheric exploration on Venus.
An electronically-controlled motor, operating at 470°C/100 bar, is the single most significant demonstration of the ability to perform robotic Venus surface exploration and the ultimate objective of the project.
The ultimate outcome will be the first integrated motor drive subsystem suitable for the Venus surface.
The project will combine Honeybee Robotics’ DC motors with the JFET-R silicon carbide (SiC) technology developed by the NASA Glenn Research Center. Ozark IC’s high-temperature process design kit (PDK) for the JFET-R technology will be used to design an integrated stepper motor driver that can be serially controlled. Proof of concept will be demonstrated through prototyping, utilizing circuits designed by Ozark IC and fabricated by NASA Glenn. System performance will be estimated through high-fidelity simulation. The motor technology, packaging approach and SiC devices have been previously demonstrated to be operable at Venus surface temperatures, so combining these technologies is the next natural step in enabling actuation in these harsh environmental conditions.
The Objectives of Phase I are to Determine:
NASA has demonstrated a resolve for a flagship mission in the coming years to revisit Venus and land instruments on the surface. Venus has a corrosive, high-pressure (~100 bar), high-temperature (up to 500°C) environment. The proposed motor control electronic system is the next logical development step towards an enhanced mobility, actuation and manipulation capability on the Venus surface.
Obviously, any application that needs a very high temperature motor or actuator is a potential market.