VAMEX3: AUTONOMOUSLY EXPLORING MARS WITH A HETEROGENEOUS ROBOT SWARM
In ASTRA Proceedings, (ASTRA-2023), 18.10.-20.10.2023, Leiden, European Space Agency (ESA), Postbus 299 2200 AG Noordwijk (The Netherlands), 2023. European Space Agency (ESA).
In the search for past or present extraterrestrial life or a potential habitat for terrestrial life forms, our neighboring planet Mars is the main focus. The research initiative ”VaMEx - Valles Marineris Explorer”, initiated by the German Space Agency at DLR has the main objective to explore the Valles Marineris on Mars. This rift valley system is particularly exciting because the past and current environmental conditions within the canyon, topographically about 10 km beneath the global Martian surface, show an atmospheric pressure above the triple point of water - thus, physically allowing the presence of liquid water at temperatures above the melting point .
The VaMEx3 project phase within this initiative aims to establish a robust and field-tested concept for a potential future space mission to the Valles Marineris performed by a heterogeneous autonomous robot swarm consisting of moving, running, and flying systems. These systems, their sensor suites, and their software stack will be enhanced and validated to enable the swarm to autonomously explore regions of interest. This task includes multi-robot multi-sensor SLAM, autonomous task distribution, and robust and fault-tolerant navigation with sensors that enable a redundant pose solution on the Martian surface.
swarm exploration, autonomous navigation, life on Mars, virtual twin