Lunares

Reconfigurable Robots for Extraterrestrial Exploration

Photo: DFKI GmbH
Photo: DFKI GmbH
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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: DFKI 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)
SCORPION
An Eight-Legged Robot for Hazardous Outdoor-Terrain (01.2001- 12.2005)
SpaceClimber
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.

Videos

Lunares: Rekonfigurierbare Roboter für extraterrestrische Explorationsvorhaben

Rekonfigurierbare Roboter für extraterrestrische Explorationsvorhaben

Mission-Sequence

1) Starting Position: Rover within reach of Lander's laser scanner.
1) Starting Position: Rover within reach of Lander's laser scanner.
2) After successful approach: Rover is autonomously equipped with payload by means of the manipulator arm of the lander
2) After successful approach: Rover is autonomously equipped with payload by means of the manipulator arm of the lander
3) Rover and Scout are moving together to the crater rim.
3) Rover and Scout are moving together to the crater rim.
4) Scout is let down by means of the docking adaptor.
4) Scout is let down by means of the docking adaptor.
5) Scout is getting out of the hook of the docking adaptor.
5) Scout is getting out of the hook of the docking adaptor.
6) Rover is storing the docking adaptor, while the Scout heads for the crater rim.
6) Rover is storing the docking adaptor, while the Scout heads for the crater rim.
7) Scout at the rim of the crater
7) Scout at the rim of the crater
8) Scout reaches crater bottom. Here it picks up a geological sample.
8) Scout reaches crater bottom. Here it picks up a geological sample.
9) Afterwards it climbs back to the Rover. Together rover and Scout head back to the landing unit.
9) Afterwards it climbs back to the Rover. Together rover and Scout head back to the landing unit.

Photo: DFKI GmbH

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