DescriptionTumbleweed is the concept of a spherical rover to be
deployed on Mars.
Principal Investigator (PI)

Julian Rothenbuchner |

Organisation University of Technology, Vienna

Moritz Stephan, Stanford University; Wurlitzergasse 93/23, 1170 Vienna

Dominik Schmidt, University of Technology Vienna; Hietzinger Hauptstr. 69/3, 1130 Wien, :

Amelie Finan, University of Vienna; Bernhard Schilcher Straße 18, 2000 Stockerau

Josef E. Pürmayr, Sir Karl Popper school; Wiedner Gürtel 68, 1040 Vienna;




Tumbleweed is the concept of a spherical rover to be deployed on Mars. They are designed to be spheres of a
diameter of 5 m equator-wards by Martian winds. One Tumbleweed consists of a sturdy aluminum/composite
outer frame and sails arranged to provide optimal air resistance. Solar cells on the sails provide power. Sensors
and electronics are attached to the outer frame. The first Tumbleweed prototype was already participating in
the AMADEE-18 mission. The research questions for the AMADEE-20 experiment can be summarized as:

1) What is the performance of the solar cells perform under operational conditions? Specifically, what is
the effect of the constantly changing illumination angle caused by the rover’s movement
and different times of day?
2) What is the distribution of abrasion on the Tumbleweed’s structure? Surface abrasion is
expected to be one of the main factors limiting the structural lifespan of a Tumbleweed
Rover. The aim is to find out more about the rate and distribution of this abrasion. The
test shall be conducted in sandy as well as increasingly rocky environment.
3) How does the Tumbleweed’s speed and direction of movement vary under different
wind conditions?

Experiment Data


pictures of wring issues

2021-10-17repair pics
2021-10-18troubleshooting pics
2021-10-19Pictures and Video
2021-10-202xVideo, 5 pics,
2021-10-227 pictures
2021-10-242 videos
2021-10-291 video


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