Rover and drone preparing to explore lunar cavities on their own

On Mars, NASA is testing various collaboration possibilities between the two robotic instruments with the Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter. The purpose of these demonstrations is to see how the use of this pair could benefit future exploration of Mars and other worlds. At Isae-Supaéro in Toulouse, discussions focused on how to coordinate the work of the two exploration vehicles in full autonomy. In focus, the exploration and use of tunnels and lunar cavities as habitable bases.

search lava tunnel and in the caves moon And Mars could provide shelter and a human outpost safe from radiation and meteorites. If, first of all, Astronaut The modules that will bring them to the Moon will last much longer and require a permanent human presence. tough infrastructure, or even bases buried in the lunar subsurface or inside these natural lunar cavities. But, before considering being able to use them for human activities, exploratory work will be necessary to assess the reliability of these more or less deep tunnels and cavities. For security and logistics reasons, this work will not be done by humans but by robots.

Isae-Supaéro, in SaCLaB’s Advanced Spatial Concepts Laboratory, student project C. are developingcollaborative Nomad and drones (Corrodro). In the perspective of a human installation on the Moon, robots would intervene in support of critical activities (equipment monitoring, security, for example). CoRoDro aims to study and demonstrate the technical feasibility of ” System for navigation and autonomous operation robotic space, including the exploration of these tunnels. but not only », says Stephanie Lizzie-Destrez, teacher-researcher at Isai-Supaero, who oversees the CoRoDro project.

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This scientific study is one of twelve university technical projects selected in eight different countries as part of the IGLuna* 2021 initiative supported by the European Space Agency. That said, SaCLaB is not about this one aspect of exploration. possibilities ofApplication The futures are numerous and worries” future feature space Station – transportation of its supplies and crew,Optimization of trajectories, etc. – Leeexploiting the Moon’s resources, or onAnalysis of collaboration between crew and robots for critical and hazardous activities ».

Develop the interaction of a drone and a roverDevelop

Establish infrastructure such as habitats that can house humans, before and after sending humans to venture inside these cavities.” It will be necessary to send rovers and drones to ensure that the field does not present a risk to these astronauts. “. due to the lack ofAtmosphere, these drones will be different from commonly used drones because, typically, a freebies You need an atmosphere to fly. ” so they will be equipped with thrusters ».

Robotic exploration of these tunnels obviously cannot be done from outside, even from the surface,To revolve around Lunar or control center on Earth mainly because of communication related constraints. Today’s ” Existing robotic systems to accomplish these locations are remotely operated or supervisedhuman “. In the case of these tunnels and cavities, it will be necessary to use robotic systems on a much larger scale Swarajya, which will allow Scouting and mapping work ».

To achieve this, the CoRoDro team is working on the development of a specially designed system for the exploration of these tunnels. Focusing on autonomy of navigation and operation “with reference to a scenario where one” Drone maps a place and its environment, whichit transmits to the rover so that the latterAnalyze and select the most relevant points for traveling and conducting scientific experiments “. is to use the prevailing idea” Small Drones That Leap Inside These Tunnelss “. Able to map their environment (relief, distance) and exchange data with Mother Rover, they ” will be able to adapt their workload to the conditions without mentioning the control centers on earth ».

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Thanks to the mapping done by the drone, the rover is ” Able to choose the shortest route himself and able to schedule tasks along with any obstacles, or even remove some if necessary ».

Unsurprisingly, the autonomy of these drones ” key point of development “The position and communication between the drone and the mother rover are also areas of concern.” in tunnels, use Wi-Fi and future services CONSTELLATIONMoonlight, of’That are not around the moon possibly not possible, although it is under study and may be in the specifications ».

The aim of this project is to see how possible it is to rely on the work of robots to make decisions and move in complete autonomy.

The level of this autonomy will depend on algorithms, some of which must be generated automatically according to the drone’s needs. The first performance is planned for this summer.” outside the protected laboratory environment “So these algorithms will be tested in the field,” From July 16 to July 25 at an altitude of 2,000 meters on Mount Pilatus in Switzerland ».

CoRoDro aims to see that ” ByWhere it is possible to rely on robot work to move and make decisions in complete autonomy “, and determine which” The level of decision making is attributed toHumans specifically to react to unforeseen events: breakdowns, obstacles, errors… “. It is therefore ” Study of navigation and autonomous operation for robotic space systems ».

NASA and vice versa JPL perform on Mars Simplicity and tenacity, CoRoDro can be considered as the next step in demonstrating the utility and value of an aerial vehicle as a complement to a rover and how future exploration of Mars and other worlds could benefit from the use of the pair.

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