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A Self-Sustaining, Boundary-Layer-Adapted System for Terrain Exploration and Environmental Sampling
This thesis describes the preliminary design of a system for remote terrain exploration and environmental sampling on worlds with dense atmospheres. The motivation for the system is to provide a platform for long-term scientific studies of these celestial bodies. The proposed system consists of three main components: a buoyancy-driven glider, designed to operate at low altitude; a tethered energy harvester, extracting wind energy at high altitudes; and a base station to recharge the gliders. This system is self-sustaining, extracting energy from the planetary boundary layer.
A nine degree of freedom vehicle dynamic model has been developed for the buoyancydriven glider. This model was used to illustrate anecdotal evidence of the stability and controllability of the system. A representative system was simulated to examine the energy harvesting concept.