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IRG Simulated Lunar Rover Field Test in California Desert

The Intelligent Robotics Group is currently conducting the “Mojave Volatiles Prospector” (MVP) robotic field test to study the use of in-situ prospecting instruments in a real-time robotic surface mission. During MVP, the ARC K-REX planetary rover is carrying two instrument systems: the “Neutron Spectrometer Subsystem” and “Near InfraRed and Visible Spectrometer Subsystem”. A science operations team at ARC is remotely operating K-REX in the Mojave Desert to search for water and to characterize its abundance and distribution in the Mojave. The experience, lessons learned, and results from MVP will inform development of future robotic missions to prospect for volatiles in permanently shadowed regions on the Moon.

BACKGROUND: The field test is designed as a high-fidelity lunar analog mission, with emphasis on field science and “high-tempo” science operations. The experience, lessons learned, and results from MVP will inform development of future robotic missions to prospect for volatiles in permanently shadowed regions on the Moon.

The Mojave Desert has similar water abundance to the lunar south pole, about 5% water by weight.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: The field test is supported by the SMD MMAMA program.

Contact: Terry Fong

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