© 2016

Planetary Rovers

Robotic Exploration of the Solar System


  • Discusses relevant planetary environments to rover missions, stressing the Moon and Mars

  • Includes a brief survey of previous rover missions

  • Comprehensively covers autonomous navigation, path planning and multi-rover formations on other planets

  • Presents a special case study on the exploration of Europa


Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Also part of the Astronautical Engineering book sub series (ASTROENG)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxix
  2. Alex Ellery
    Pages 1-35
  3. Alex Ellery
    Pages 37-57
  4. Alex Ellery
    Pages 59-69
  5. Alex Ellery
    Pages 71-132
  6. Alex Ellery
    Pages 133-197
  7. Alex Ellery
    Pages 199-262
  8. Alex Ellery
    Pages 263-300
  9. Alex Ellery
    Pages 375-418
  10. Alex Ellery
    Pages 419-470
  11. Alex Ellery
    Pages 471-512
  12. Alex Ellery
    Pages 513-539
  13. Alex Ellery
    Pages 541-561
  14. Back Matter
    Pages 563-702

About this book


The increasing adoption of terrain mobility – planetary rovers – for the investigation of planetary surfaces emphasises their central importance in space exploration. This imposes a completely new set of technologies and methodologies to the design of such spacecraft – and planetary rovers are indeed, first  and foremost, spacecraft. This introduces vehicle engineering, mechatronics, robotics, artificial  intelligence and associated technologies to the spacecraft engineer’s repertoire of skills. Planetary Rovers is the only book that comprehensively covers these aspects of planetary rover engineering and more. The book:

• discusses relevant planetary environments to rover missions, stressing the Moon and Mars;

• includes a brief survey of previous rover missions;

• covers rover mobility, traction and control systems;

• stresses the importance of robotic vision in rovers for both navigation and science;

• comprehensively covers autonomous navigation, path planning and multi-rover formations on other planets;

• introduces sample acquisition and autonomous science – with an emphasis on astrobiology – as the raison d’être of rover missions;

• presents a special case study on the exploration of Europa;

• discusses future rover concepts, including a brief exploration of the role of biomimetics.


Robotic rover design Rover avionics Rover locomotion ExoMars rover Autonomous navigation Robotic astrobiology missions

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

About the authors

Professor Alex Ellery is a Canada Research Chair in Space Robotics & Space Technology in the Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Department at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Physics, MSc in Astronomy and PhD in Astronautics & Space Engineering. He is also an alumnus of the International Space University. He is a Chartered Engineer and holds Fellowships at the Institution of Engineering & Technology, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and the Royal Aeronautical Society. He was formerly at the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey where he was awarded the George Stephenson medal by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (2005). He was formerly Chair of the Astrobiology Society of Britain (2005/2006).                          

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Planetary Rovers
  • Book Subtitle Robotic Exploration of the Solar System
  • Authors Alex Ellery
  • Series Title Springer Praxis Books
  • Series Abbreviated Title Springer Praxis Books(formerly: Springer-Praxis Series)
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Engineering Engineering (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-642-03258-5
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-662-56845-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-642-03259-2
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXIX, 702
  • Number of Illustrations 36 b/w illustrations, 119 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Aerospace Technology and Astronautics
    Automotive Engineering
  • Buy this book on publisher's site
Industry Sectors
Energy, Utilities & Environment
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


“It aims to be a complete overview of the design, implementation and control of planetary rovers, ranging widely from details of past rovers, through overviews of algorithm research into the process of bidding and managing projects for the European Space Agency (ESA). … it targets a wide audience from final year undergraduates to industry engineers involved with rover development – anyone involved in rover design. … I would recommend this book to anyone working or interested in the field … .” (Dr. Iain Wallace, The Aeronautical Journal, January, 2017)