Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2015.

First Advisor

Nik Djordjevic


The goal of this proof of concept planetary lander is to safely deliver an exploration rover to a planet surface. This lander was designed to be used as the last stage of landing in the existing entry, descent, and landing procedures used in previous Mars missions. The design improved upon past missions to Mars by reducing risk of failure during landing by utilizing a passive system with no electronics or control systems while also increasing landing site accuracy. These goals were accomplished by incorporating external crushable materials and internal damping systems. Five drop tests of our final design were completed. The test results can be used for scaling the components of the modular design to suit different planet conditions. Our scaled down test article design absorbed 7.40% of the energy absorbed by the previous Mars landing systems. The remote-controlled vehicle payload we used survived all of our tests. To scale up our design for a Spirit sized mission, we recommend using a crushable material design with 350 cylinders with the dimensions of 0.06 m radius, 0.00196 m thickness, and 0.1377 m height. Our design can be used for multiple payload landing applications, including care packages and supply deliveries.