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Resource Prospector Simulations Team to Begin Mission Operations Driving Simulations Over the Next Month
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Resource Prospector Simulations Team to Begin Mission Operations Driving Simulations Over the Next Month

The Resource Prospector (RP) Simulations Team, in the Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG), will be preparing the Driving Concept of Operations (ConOps) Simulator for some mission operations driving simulations over the next month in order to study the impact of kinematic steering constraints on the ability to drive the RP rover. The rover concept is a 4-wheel-steer vehicle with body-mounted solar panels. The solar panels must maintain a fixed angle to the sun to maximize power generation and this orientation constraint coupled with the limited steering range of the rover is expected to present a challenge to rover drivers. The experiment will evaluate driver performance on an Area of Interest Mapping (AIM) task while avoiding hazards and coping with lunar-relevant time delays.

The simulation environment is built on Gazebo and the Robotic Operating System (ROS), and has been developed in collaboration with the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF). The rover driving interface is built on IRG's Visual Environment for Robotic Exploration (VERVE).

BACKGROUND: Resource Prospector aims 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 is 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 plans to take the next step to access those resources.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD); and the Game Changing Development (GCD) program, Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). Generous facilities and operational support are provided by the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

SIMULTIONS TEAM: Simulations Development: Mark Allan, Laurence Edwards, Michael Furlong, Terry Welsh, and Uland Wong; Simulations Experiment: Robert Carvalho and Matt Deans


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