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Robotics Institute Seminar, Friday, December 4, 1998
Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh PA 15213-3891
412/268-8525 . 412/268-5576 (fax)

This page is provided for historical and archival purposes only. While the seminar dates are correct, we offer no guarantee of informational accuracy or link validity. Contact information for the speakers, hosts and seminar committee are certainly out of date.

Drilling for Lunar Ice: Rover and Lander Design for the Icebreaker Mission

The Students of the 1998 Mobile Robot Design Course
The Robotics Institute
Carnegie Mellon University

Place and Time
Adamson Wing, Baker Hall
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm

In 2002, the Icebreaker mission will land a mobile robot, called Polaris, in the Gioja crater (83.3N, 2.0E) near the north pole of the Moon. The robot will deploy instruments to confirm the presence of subsurface water ice deep within permanently shadowed areas, known as cold traps. In multiple sorties into the cold traps, Polaris will use a cryogenic drill to acquire samples to be analyzed by onboard tuned laser diode detectors. Over three months and from numerous sites, Polaris will transmit scientific data and visual images back to Earth.

Sorties into the permanently dark regions require navigation using teleoperation, limited range imaging, dead reckoning, track following, horizon landmarks, and 50 meter resolution global maps. The rover must traverse kilometers of temporary dark, enter the cold trap, drill, and return to the light to recharge. After many sorties during the approximately 350 hour lunar day, during which the sunlit area migrates from the west side of the crater to the east, the rover must end up near where it began, to position itself for the next lunar sunrise.

As part of Red Whittaker's Mobile Robot Design Course, a group of 12 students undertook the design of a lunar rover and lander for the Icebreaker mission. During this seminar, they will present their work, which has been reviewed by the aerospace industry.

Speaker Biography
The Mobile Robot Design Course team is a group of 12 students from the Robotics and Computer Science departments participating in Red Whittaker's 16-861 Robotics course. Alex Foessel and Richard Blomquist are the group's TA's.

Two members of the design team have space industry experience in mechanism and structural design (JPL, Pathfinder), and astrodynamics (Hughes Communications). Others have first-hand experience in robotics systems (Pandora), GNC (Nomad), and computation. Throughout the semester the design team, with external contributors and reviewers from around the country, have iterated upon the design of a viable lunar rover/lander system. The result is a 90 kg rover capable of surviving the severe lunar environment of dust, radiation, and extreme temperatures.

Speaker Appointments
For appointments, please contact the host, Richard Blomquist, at rsb@ri.cmu.edu.

Return to Robotics Institute homepage.

This page can be found on the world wide web at http://www.ri.cmu.edu/seminar/1998.fall/1998.december.4.html.
Maintained by Salvatore Domenick Desiano (sal@ri.cmu.edu).