Abstract

BALLET (BALloon Locomotion for Extreme Terrain) is a new concept vehicle for robotic surface mobility on planetary bodies with an atmosphere. The vehicle is composed of a buoyant balloon with six evenly distributed suspended payload modules each serving as a foot for locomotion over inaccessible rugged terrain. While the physics of BALLET will apply on Venus and Mars, the environmental conditions and available component technology limit our consideration to Titan. We describe the concept in detail, its applications for science missions on Titan, mission deployment scenarios, analyses of the concept under varying environmental conditions, and simulations of its locomotion. The concept is shown to be feasible and provides a new approach for exploration of rugged lakes, dunes, shorelines, and cryovolcanic regions on Titan.

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