Deployment of a swarm of CubeLands
Mars presents a dynamical environment that cannot be fully described by measures taken by a small number of probes. However, current Martian missions are very costly and do not allow to cover large region of its surface. In order to get a more comprehensive view of Mars climate evolution, we propose to rely on miniaturized landers, called CubeLands that could be deployed on large strand of Mars surface via drones. Those landers will include several scientific instruments such as a thermometer, a light/radiation, pressure, CO2, wind or magnetic field sensor in order to characterize the environment and provide new insights into its evolution.
In contrast with CubeSats which could deploy large solar panels and antennas, CubeLands are affected by the planet gravity. Therefore, we propose to rely on ultra-low power RF transceiver to reduce the power consumption and be able to use a single solar panel covering one of the CubeLand side. However such transceivers have a much lower range which implies that Cubelands could only communicate with nearest neighbors. A transmission algorithm will therefore be included in each lander in order to transmit, via the CubeLands network, their information to the deployment unit which in turn could transfer the set of data to the Earth. The concept will be tested at the MDRS via the deployment of a dozen of landers via a drone. The electronic system will be based on the Arduino platform and include sensors, a solar panel, a charging unit, a battery for data collection during the night and a transceiver for data transmission to the main unit via the landers network.