How does the Mars 2020 rover's suspension and center of gravity compare to Curiosity's?

Space Exploration Asked on December 24, 2021

Gizmodo’s NASA Put Wheels on Its Mars 2020 Rover and Holy Crap This Is Actually Happening says:

The tube-like legs that support the wheels are constructed from titanium, and they’re similar to high-end bicycle frames in how they’re manufactured, according to NASA. The vehicle’s suspension system is known as a “rocker-bogie” system, having multiple pivot points and struts. When on uneven terrain, this configuration will enable the vehicle to maintain similar weights on each wheel to minimize tilt and keep the rover stable.

During the mission, NASA won’t allow the rover to venture on terrain with more than a 30-degree tilt. That said, the Mars 2020 rover is designed to handle a tilt of 45 degrees in any direction without tipping over, which is quite amazing—that’s half of a 90-degree angle!

Question: How does the Mars 2020 rover’s suspension and center of gravity compare to Curiosity’s? Are there substantial differences in the way it works or the heights of the CoG or are they fairly similar?

One Answer

How does the Mars 2020 rover's suspension and center of gravity compare to Curiosity's?

Perseverance uses the same basic chassis and suspension design as Curiosity, although some details have changed and some of the equipment carried is different; Perseverance masses 1025 kg against Curiosity's 899 kg.

The suspension design between the two is almost identical, as you can see from the side-by-side view in the video poster frame on this page.

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The wheels have been strengthened for Perseverance -- Curiosity's wheels got surprisingly torn up over the course of the mission. They are narrower and their diameter increased; that, combined with the increase in mass of the rover, I think means the CoG will be slightly higher, but not significantly so.

I don't know if Perseverance's suspension is tuned differently -- as usual, it's hard to prove a negative. I found many articles touting the strengthened wheels and no discussion of different suspensions.

Curiosity also has a 45-degree incline capability, and has demonstrated operation up a 31-degree slope.

Answered by Russell Borogove on December 24, 2021

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