Reconfigurable Robots for Extraterrestrial Exploration

The aim of this project (funded by the DLR and BIG Bremen) is the evaluation of state-of-the-art robot technologies for future cooperative, heterogeneous, extraterrestrial missions with reconfigurable robots. In cooperation with our partners, a reconfigurable robot system consisting of a Lander (OHB) with manipulator, a Rover (EADS Astrium), and a climbing robot (DFKI) will be developed based on already existing robot systems. Its versatility and robustness will be tested and demonstrated in a replication of a crater exploration scenario.

Duration: 01.07.2007 till 31.12.2009
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: German Aerospace Center e.V.
Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
BIG Bremen
Grant number: The project Lunares is funded by the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) (grant no. 50RA0706) and the BIG Bremen (grant no. INNO1036A).
Partner: EADS Astrium GmbH, OHB System AG
Application Field: Space Robotics
Related Projects: AMOR
Acquisition of Moon Oxygen Resources (04.2007- 10.2007)
An Eight-Legged Robot for Hazardous Outdoor-Terrain (01.2001- 12.2005)
A Semi-Autonomous Free-Climbing Robot for the Exploration of Crater Walls and Bottoms (07.2007- 11.2010)

Project details

Photo: Jochen Mönch
Photo: DFKI GmbH

The aim of the Lunares project is to evaluate different state-of-the-art robot technologies that can be specifically employed for the exploration of lunar craters. In this project, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI GmbH) is cooperating in a partnership with Astrium GmbH and OHB-System AG.

A robot team consisting of a manipulator arm (Astrium), which is mounted on a lander (OHB-System), a rover (Astrium), and a legged robot (DFKI) will be tested in a realistic environment reproducing a lunar surface. This exploration scenario will serve as a "Proof of Concept" for future cooperative and heterogeneous lunar missions using reconfigurable robots.

Lunares will demonstrate how the already-existing robotic capabilities of the cooperating partners are able to support scientific exploration on a planetary surface, and how these can be combined in order to create a complete robotic system usable for different tasks ranging from autonomous in-situ examinations to remote-controlled actions from an existing control center.

To test these and future robotic systems, a realistic test environment reproducing a lunar crater will be set up, where the versatility and robustness of this reconfigurable robot system will be investigated and demonstrated.


Lunares: Reconfigurable robots for extraterrestrial exploration

Reconfigurable Robots for Extraterrestrial Exploration


Photo: DFKI GmbH



Design and Experimental Evaluation of a Hybrid Wheeled-Leg Exploration Rover in the Context of Multi-Robot Systems
Florian Cordes
Bremen, Germany, 2018. University of Bremen.


Performance Evaluation of an Heterogeneous Multi-Robot System for Lunar Crater Exploration
Sebastian Bartsch, Florian Cordes, Stefan Haase, Steffen Planthaber, Thomas M. Roehr
In Proceedings of the 10th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS2010), (iSAIRAS-10), 29.8.-01.9.2010, Sapporo, o.A., pages 30-37, Aug/2010.


Cooperating Reconfigurable Robots for Autonomous Planetary Sample Return Missions
Florian Cordes, Steffen Planthaber, Ingo Ahrns, Timo Birnschein, Sebastian Bartsch, Frank Kirchner
In ASME/IFToMM International Conference on Reconfigurable Mechanisms and Robots, (ReMAR-2009), 22.6.-24.6.2009, London, o.A., pages 665-673, May/2009. ISBN: 978-88-89007-37-2.


Scarabaeus: A Walking Robot Applicable to Sample Return Missions
Sebastian Bartsch, Steffen Planthaber
In Eurobot 2008, (EUROBOT-08), 22.5.-24.5.2008, Heidelberg, Springer, series Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 178-183, 2008.

Back to the list of projects
last updated 21.08.2023
to top