Valles Marineris Explorer – Robust Ground Exploration

Development and provision of a highly mobile and robust rover and walking robot for the integration into a multi-robot exploration team.

Duration: 01.09.2022 till 31.08.2025
Donee: German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence GmbH
Sponsor: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
German Aerospace Center e.V.
Grant number: 50NA2204B

University of Bremen - Cognitive Neuro Computer Science

University of Bremen - High-Performance Visualization 

Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg – Radio Technology

Application Field: Space Robotics
Related Projects: VaMEx-APO
Valles Marineris Explorer – Absolute and Fail-Safe Position and Orientation Estimation (09.2022- 08.2025)
Autonomous Non-wheeled all-Terrain rover (01.2021- 10.2022)
Environment Modelling and Navigation for Robotic Space-Exploration (10.2014- 12.2017)
Cooperative Robots for Extreme Environments (03.2021- 02.2023)
Semi-autonomous cooperative exploration of planetary surfaces including the installation of a logistic chain as well as consideration of the terrestrial applicability of individual aspects (05.2013- 12.2017)
Related Software: Rock
Robot Construction Kit

Project details

Artemis has a passive suspension system that provides excellent mobility in unstructured terrain. (Photo. DFKI)
CREX ist the walking system within the exploration team to explore hard-to reach areas. (Photo: DFKI)

The goal of the VaMEx initiative is the development of an autonomous, heterogeneous robot swarm for the exploration of the Valles Marineris on Mars. Driving, walking, and flying systems will use their advantages to cooperatively explore a large area with different environmental characteristics.

The VaMEx-RGE (Valles Marineris Explorer - Robust Ground Exploration) project aims to further develop ground-based mobile units and their navigation technologies. In particular, aspects of multi-robot localization, mapping and navigation, cooperative decision making, exploration, and mission planning will be considered, and advanced robotic platforms and sensor systems will be explored.

For safe navigation in unstructured terrain, an increase of the robustness of the walking robot CREX and the exploration rover ARTEMIS on different levels is aimed at. For this purpose, hardware adaptations will be made and the low-level control and locomotion control of the systems will be optimized. Furthermore, both mechanical and electrical interfaces will be provided in order to integrate additional sensor modalities. The robot-specific provision of motion estimation and mapping will also be made available for the integration into the swarm, as well as the possibility of specifying waypoints for the systems, which are then safely traversed.



Leon Cedric Danter, Joachim Clemens, Andreas Serov, Anne Schattel, Michael Schleiss, Cedric Liman, Mario Gäbel, Andre Mühlenbrock, Gabriel Zachmann
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).

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last updated 04.01.2024
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