Human Exploration of Asteroids, the Moon and Mars Using Robotic Arm-Equipped Pressurized Vehicles

Pascal Lee, Sean Dougherty, Tom McCarthy, Terrence W. Fong, Steve Hoffman, Ed Hodgson, Kira Lorber, Robert Mueller, John Schutt, Jesse Weaver, and Luis Alvarez
Earth and Space, April, 2012.


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Abstract
During the 2011 summer field campaign of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project at the Haughton impact crater site on Devon Island in the high Arctic, field tests were conducted of the use of a robotic arm system integrated to Humvees serving as analog pressurized vehicles for the human exploration of near-Earth asteroids, the Moon, and Mars. The goal of these field tests was to begin assessing how field geology, including sample acquisition, might in some cases be conducted effectively from the confines of a pressurized vehicle (in intra- vehicular or IVA mode) without the crew having to always go out on EVA. Preliminary findings suggest that, particularly at sites where rocks and soils available for sampling occur mostly as loose rubble or “float” (as with planetary regoliths), the use of a robotic arm can allow efficient collection and characterization of high quality samples. An important implication of the finding for future space exploration architecture development, if confirmed through further field tests, is that the number and frequency of EVAs needed for sample acquisition during planetary vehicular traverses might be reduced from current assumptions. Wear and tear on EVA suit and suit-port systems, mission operations complexity, crew exposure to space radiation, and planetary protection concerns, might all be significantly reduced if robotic-arm assisted sample acquisition in IVA mode became available as an effective option for science operations.

Keywords
planetary exploration, planetary robotics, crew rover

Notes

Text Reference
Pascal Lee, Sean Dougherty, Tom McCarthy, Terrence W. Fong, Steve Hoffman, Ed Hodgson, Kira Lorber, Robert Mueller, John Schutt, Jesse Weaver, and Luis Alvarez, "Human Exploration of Asteroids, the Moon and Mars Using Robotic Arm-Equipped Pressurized Vehicles," Earth and Space, April, 2012.

BibTeX Reference
@inproceedings{Fong_2012_7337,
   author = "Pascal Lee and Sean Dougherty and Tom McCarthy and Terrence W Fong and Steve Hoffman and Ed Hodgson and Kira Lorber and Robert Mueller and John Schutt and Jesse Weaver and Luis Alvarez",
   title = "Human Exploration of Asteroids, the Moon and Mars Using Robotic Arm-Equipped Pressurized Vehicles",
   booktitle = "Earth and Space",
   publisher = "ASCE",
   month = "April",
   year = "2012",
}