Portable Utility Pallet

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The moon is an important stepping stone as humankind expands past the boundary of Earth’s atmosphere. A portable utility pallet (PUP) that harnesses solar energy and distributes it via charging ports will be an integral piece of infrastructure for lunar missions of the near future. This robust PUP design can withstand harsh cosmic conditions and provide consistent power.

The team developed the 1/6-scale PUP prototype with aluminum panels forming the body of the model. Inside the panels, a microcontroller is wired to various servo motors. Operated via an infrared remote, the servo motors drive the legs, solar boom and solar array using a clever pulley system. A simple flower origami solar array is mounted on the PUP, while a more experimental panel that utilizes Miura fold origami is demonstrated separately. This reliable, compact system sits comfortably on the uneven lunar surface, while harnessing the sun to distribute power to other assets.

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