Field Experiments in Robotic Subsurface Science with Long Duration Autonomy

Srinivasan Vijayarangan, David Kohanbash, Greydon Foil, Kris Zacny, Nathalie Cabrol and David Wettergreen
Conference Paper, Field and Service Robotics. Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics, Vol. 5, pp. 515-529, September, 2017

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A next challenge in planetary exploration involves probing the subsurface to understand composition, to search for volatiles like water ice, or to seek evidence of life. The Mars rover missions have scraped the surface of Mars and cored rocks to make groundbreaking discoveries. Many believe that the chance of finding evidence of life is expected to increase by going deeper. Deploying a system that probes the subsurface brings its own challenges and to that end, we designed, built and field tested an autonomous robot that can collect subsurface samples using a 1m drill. The drill operation, sample transfer, and sample analysis are all automated. The robot also navigates kilometers autonomously while making decisions about scientific measurements. The system is designed to execute multi-day science plans, stopping and resuming operation as necessary. This paper describes the robot and science instruments and lessons from designing and operating such a system.

author = {Srinivasan Vijayarangan and David Kohanbash and Greydon Foil and Kris Zacny and Nathalie Cabrol and David Wettergreen},
title = {Field Experiments in Robotic Subsurface Science with Long Duration Autonomy},
booktitle = {Field and Service Robotics. Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics},
year = {2017},
month = {September},
editor = {Hutter M, Siegwart R},
volume = {5},
pages = {515-529},
publisher = {Springer, Cham},
keywords = {Robotic Subsurface Science, Long Duration Autonomy, Atacama Desert, Autonomous Drilling, Zoe, Field Experiments},
} 2018-02-07T14:10:06-04:00