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Testing rovers for human and robotic lunar exploration in the ESA/DLR LUNA analogue facility

Costantini, Martial and Schlutz, Jürgen and Casini, Andrea Emanuele Maria and Mittler, Petra and Fischer, Beate and Rometsch, Flavie and Cowley, Aidan and Ferra, Lionel (2021) Testing rovers for human and robotic lunar exploration in the ESA/DLR LUNA analogue facility. 72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2021), 25.-29. Oct. 2021, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. ISSN 0074-1795.

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Abstract

The European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) are actively preparing for human missions beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). In particular, the agencies are developing together the LUNA analogue facility to provide the space exploration community with a testbed to prepare for sustainable human presence on the Moon. In recent years, information technologies and robotics have evolved significantly. The present study focuses on the status of planetary exploration robotics development in Europe and identifies its important needs that are still unaddressed. The current work shows that a few enabling technologies have developed beyond what could be predicted a few years ago. Recently, computer vision and autonomous guidance, navigation and control (GNC) have both gained momentum in robotics. Unfortunately, verification and validation of these new technologies remain challenging today. Of the 28 interviewed organisations, none reported knowing a test environment that is both representative and allows repeatable experiments for computer vision or GNC. Technical tests are either done on computer simulation, where representativeness is hard to ensure, or via field simulation, where repeatability is hard to ensure. To enable representative and repeatable tests of computer vision or GNC integrated systems in LUNA, the present study found that three key needs must be addressed. First, it must allow its 600 m2indoor regolith landscape to be modelled to a desired shape. Second, it must enable experiments to be carried out under representative lighting conditions. Third, it must provide ground truth position tracking of experimental devices. LUNA will be outfitted to enable development regarding In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), rover navigation and teleoperations and excavation and drilling, and eventually lead to crucial experience and recommendations. This facility will notably be unique as both ESA and DLR will provide more than 30 years of experience with the International Space Station (ISS). In an open-hub concept, LUNA shall provide access for interested international partners, academia, industries and for education and outreach purposes. The present work describes the identified unaddressed needs of planetary space robotics developers, and how the design of LUNA was adapted to address them.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/144770/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)
Title:Testing rovers for human and robotic lunar exploration in the ESA/DLR LUNA analogue facility
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Costantini, MartialEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Schlutz, JürgenEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Casini, Andrea Emanuele MariaAndrea.Casini (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-3608-9724
Mittler, PetraPetra.Mittler (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Fischer, BeateBeate.Fischer (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Rometsch, Flavieflavie.rometsch (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5827-431X
Cowley, AidanEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, Germanyhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-8692-6207
Ferra, LionelEuropean Astronaut Centre (EAC), European Space Agency (ESA), Linder Höhe, D-51147 Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Date:2021
Refereed publication:No
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
ISSN:0074-1795
Status:Published
Keywords:Analogue facilities, Human SpaceFlight, Moon, Lunar exploration, Planetary robotics
Event Title:72nd International Astronautical Congress (IAC 2021)
Event Location:Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Event Type:international Conference
Event Dates:25.-29. Oct. 2021
Organizer:International Astronautical Federation (IAF)
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - FLEXhab miXed Reality (FLEX-XR)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Space Operations and Astronaut Training > Astronaut Training
Deposited By: Casini, Dr.-Ing. Andrea Emanuele Maria
Deposited On:21 Oct 2021 11:31
Last Modified:13 Dec 2021 09:58

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