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Resource Prospector Mission Operations Team Completes Simulation Activity 1
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Resource Prospector Mission Operations Team Completes Simulation Activity 1

The Resource Prospector (RP) Mission Operations Team has completed Simulation Activity 1 — a simulation of driving for lunar polar exploration. The simulations constitute part of a lunar polar exploration design capability, enabling mission operations concepts to be tested in simulation. Activity 1 tested “rails” driving, in which the team is driving between science stations. Science stations are areas for exploration. In rails driving, the focus is on getting to the next science station safely. Simulation Activity 1 focused on validation of rover average-speed models. To do this, the team measures driver-decision times, the number of images the driver requires to drive safely, and the driving distance per command.

Driving was conducted using the Visual Environment for Robotic Virtual Exploration (VERVE) tool, with a high-resolution simulated lunar terrain synthesized by the RP team to match our best models of rock and crater distributions in the lunar polar highlands environment. Situational awareness utilized the Web Applications for Resource Prospector (WARP) toolset, based on the Open Mission Control Technologies (Open MCT) platform, which is also in use for missions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

BACKGROUND: Resource Prospector was scheduled to be the first mining expedition on another world. Using a suite of instruments to locate elements from a lunar southern polar region, the planned rover was being designed to prospect for and excavate volatiles such as hydrogen, oxygen, and water from the Moon. Building on the findings of the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) missions that proved the existence of water on the Moon, Resource Prospector would have taken the next step to access those resources.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) program, Human Exploration Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD)

TEAM: ARC: Mark Allan, Dan Andrews, Robert Carvalho, Tony Colaprete, Matt Deans, Rick Elphic, Charles Hacskaylo, Andrew Henry, Sarah Hobart, Rusty Hunt, Scott Miller, Pete Richards, Pegah Saram, Mark Shirley, Jay Trimble, and Ryan Vaughn; KSC: Renee Formoso, Ryan O’Farrell, Jim Smith, and Emilio Valencia; JSC: Lyndon Bridgewater

POINT OF CONTACT: Jay Trimble, jay.p.trimble@nasa.gov

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