/Strategic Autonomy for Reducing Risk of Sun-Synchronous Lunar Polar Exploration

Strategic Autonomy for Reducing Risk of Sun-Synchronous Lunar Polar Exploration

Nathan Otten, David Wettergreen and William Whittaker
Conference Paper, Field and Service Robotics, pp. 465-479, September, 2017

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Sun-synchronous lunar polar exploration can extend solar-powered robotic missions by an order of magnitude by following routes of continuous sunlight. However, enforcing an additional constraint for continuous Earth communication while driving puts such missions at risk. This is due to the uncertainty of singularities: static points that provide weeks of continuous sunlight where communication blackouts can be endured. The uncertainty of their existence and exact location stems from the limited accuracy of lunar models and makes dwelling at singularities a high-risk proposition. This paper proposes a new mission concept called strategic autonomy, which instead permits rovers to follow preplanned, short, slow, autonomous drives without communication to gain distance from shadow and increase confidence in sustained solar power. In this way, strategic autonomy could greatly reduce overall risk for sun-synchronous lunar polar missions.

BibTeX Reference
author = {Nathan Otten and David Wettergreen and William Whittaker},
title = {Strategic Autonomy for Reducing Risk of Sun-Synchronous Lunar Polar Exploration},
booktitle = {Field and Service Robotics},
year = {2017},
month = {September},
editor = {Marco Hutter and Roland Siegwart},
pages = {465-479},
publisher = {Springer International Publishing},