| Event Information
Robotic Interactions with Extraterrestrial Bodies
Space exploration is greatly enriched by direct physical interactions with the bodies we wish to study. This talk presents research on robotic systems for two such interactions: digging productively on the Moon and driving efficiently on Mars. Planetary excavators, low mass machines operating in reduced gravity, have little weight available for producing traction or plunging tools. Productive lightweight excavation requires novel robot configurations that take this into account. This talk presents research that for the first time subjects excavators to gravity offload while they dig, to identify appropriate excavation techniques. For robots that rove on Mars, the loose granular regolith can at times be energy-sapping and unpredictably hazardous. This work presents a novel experimental technique for visualizing and analyzing soil flow in richer detail than possible before, enabling a more fundamental understanding of wheel-soil interactions. It also develops a quantitative expression for determining efficient grouser spacing for rover wheels.
This Event is For: Graduate • Faculty