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Robotic recon for human exploration: Method, assessment, and lessons learned

By
Maria G. Bualat
Maria G. Bualat
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Andrew Abercromby
Andrew Abercromby
2 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas 77058, USA
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Mark Allan
Mark Allan
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Xavier Bouyssounouse
Xavier Bouyssounouse
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Matthew C. Deans
Matthew C. Deans
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Terrence Fong
Terrence Fong
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Lorenzo Flückiger
Lorenzo Flückiger
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Kip V. Hodges
Kip V. Hodges
3 School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA
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José Hurtado, Jr.
José Hurtado, Jr.
4 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 79968, USA
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Leslie Keely
Leslie Keely
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Linda Kobayashi
Linda Kobayashi
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Rob Landis
Rob Landis
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Pascal C. Lee
Pascal C. Lee
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Susan Y. Lee
Susan Y. Lee
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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David Lees
David Lees
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Estrellina Pacis
Estrellina Pacis
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Eric Park
Eric Park
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Liam Pedersen
Liam Pedersen
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Debra Schreckenghost
Debra Schreckenghost
5 1012 Hercules Avenue, Houston, Texas 77058, USA
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Trey Smith
Trey Smith
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Vinh To
Vinh To
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Hans Utz
Hans Utz
1 National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California 94035-1000, USA
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Published:
December 01, 2011

Robotic rovers can be used as advance scouts to significantly improve scientific and technical return of planetary surface exploration. Robotic scouting, or “robotic recon,” involves using a robot to collect ground-level data prior to human field activity. The data collected and knowledge acquired through recon can be used to refine traverse planning, reduce operational risk, and increase crew productivity. To understand how robotic recon can benefit human exploration, we conducted a series of simulated planetary robotic missions at analog sites. These mission simulations were designed to: (1) identify and quantify operational requirements for robotic recon in advance of human activity; (2) identify and quantify ground control and science team requirements for robotic recon; and (3) identify capability, procedure, and training requirements for human explorers to draw maximum benefit from robotic recon during vehicular traverses and on-foot extravehicular activities (EVA). Our studies indicate that robotic recon can be beneficial to crew, improving preparation, situational awareness, and productivity in the field. This is particularly true when traverse plans contain significant unknowns that can be resolved by recon, such as target access and station/activity priority. In this paper, we first present the assumptions and major questions related to robotic reconnaissance. We detail our system design, including the configuration of our recon robot, the ground data system used for operation, ground control organization, and operational time lines. Finally, we describe the design and results from an experiment to assess robotic recon, discuss lessons learned, and identify directions for future work.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Analogs for Planetary Exploration

W. Brent Garry
W. Brent Garry
Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USA
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Jacob E. Bleacher
Jacob E. Bleacher
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Planetary Geodynamics Lab, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
483
ISBN print:
9780813724836
Publication date:
December 01, 2011

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