Heterogeneous Robotic Teams for Exploration of Steep Crater Environments
Florian Cordes, Frank Kirchner
In Planetary Rovers Workshop, (ICRA-10), 03.5.-08.5.2010, Anchorage, Alaska, o.A., May/2010.
This paper describes three projects that are concerned with the exploration of the interior of steep craters, with special focus on exploring lunar craters with heterogeneous robotic teams. Within the project LUNARES (Lunar Exploration System), a terrestrial demonstrator for a lunar sample return mission has been created. The task of fetching a soil sample from within a permanently shadowed lunar crater had to be accomplished by a heterogeneous team of robots consisting of a wheeled rover and a legged scout. By means of different locomotion principles, the unique skills of these systems have been combined in order to increase the overall performance in the team. The follow-up project RIMRES (Reconfigurable Integrated Multi-Robot Exploration System) develops a rover and a six legged scout in a codesign process. The key idea remains: Robots with different locomotion capabilities cooperate as a team, in order to explore permanently shaded craters at the lunar poles. The third project, SpaceClimber, focusses on developing a six-legged freeclimbing robot for crater environments. The SpaceClimber robot is likely to be used as antetype for the scout system in RIMRES. For more detailed information on the projects, references are provided.