A few days before Christmas 1996, I got a parcel from
von Hoerner & Sulger,
a small German space company, which I didn't know before.
It contained a bottle of wine, a letter, and an article
from a local newspaper.
Nanokhod on a Test Surface (vH&S)
In the letter, they told me that they had used my
to develop the motor-control software for a little Mars car
prototype, and thanked me that I have made it available to
the public for free. They had validated several 8051 assemblers,
and found ASEM-51
to be the most reliable and best documented one.
The article contained further technical information.
The four motors of the Mars car Nanokhod are
controlled by an 80C154.
It also carries an alpha-proton spectrometer, an X-Ray spectrometer,
a Mössbauer spectrometer, a stereo camera, and a magnetometer.
With all this sophisticated equipment, the total weight of
Nanokhod is about 2.5 kg only!
The scientific instruments have been developed by the
Max Planck Institute of Mainz (Germany),
and the whole project was sponsored by the DARA
(Deutsche Agentur für Raumfahrtangelegenheiten).
Functional Parts of Nanokhod (MPI)
An Engineering Model of Nanokhod (ESA)
||The neat vehicle had been designed for mobile geochemical research in future
ESA and NASA space missions.|
The European Space Agency (ESA) planned to use
Nanokhod for the following space missions:
- the EuroMoon mission in April 2001
- the Mars Express mission in June 2003
- the BepiColombo mission to Mercury (2011)
All this has made me very proud!
Space is a harsh environment for humans, craft and software as well.
Therefore, only the best material and development tools can be used.
Solutions for a red planet.
Last revised: W.W. Heinz,
December 20, 2010