Scope of Sun-Synchronous Rovers in Space Exploration: A Review
Mobility is forever desired to serve crucial purposes of transporting payloads, traversing new terrains, etc, which
comes at the expense of energy. This makes ‘energy’ a determining factor for the successful accomplishment of space
explorations. Therefore, there is a need to shift our reliance from conventional energy sources to modern, viable and
renewable alternates. This paper describes optimized trade-off between power prediction, harvest & utilization for solar
powered exploration missions. It reviews contrast between conventional uni-junction cells and its successors, modelled for
overall absorption of the whole spectrum. The paper presents a visual map of all the possible inter-dependencies and
linkages among solar, environment and rover parameters, which is decisive in computing distinct set of energy efficient
routes for sun-synchronous navigation. Machine learning approaches to deduce intelligent algorithms are discussed, with
emphasis on solar ephemeris as a tool for energy efficient path planning and intelligent maneuvers. The concept of sun
synchrony is applied to compute and compare the different choices of traverse as equatorial, polar and circuital, for different
terrestrial surfaces- Earth, Moon, Mars and Mercury, based on their orbital characteristics.
Keywords- Exploration rovers, Solar arrays, Autonomy, Sun-synchrony, Tele-operation.