Technologies Toward Lunar Crater Exploration - The Robotics Institute Carnegie Mellon University
Home/Technologies Toward Lunar Crater Exploration

Technologies Toward Lunar Crater Exploration

Tech. Report, CMU-RI-TR-07-40, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, April, 2007
View Publication


The primary challenge of descending steep, loose slopes is avoiding avalanche, tipover and maintaining control of locomotion. Theory suggests that for loose, granular soil, the strength lies under, not on, the surface. This has not hitherto been exploited for controlling robot descent. In order to take advantage of this, a prototype robot capable of utilizing sub-surface strength was developed and tested. Two unique features are low center-of gravity and an actuated plow capable of penetrating the ground for controlling descent and facilitating pivot. Tests show unprecedented control during descent on loose soil slopes up to 40 degrees. Avalanche sliding is reduced twenty-fold , pivot turning is improved threefold.


author = {Jason Ziglar and David Kohanbash and David Wettergreen and William (Red) L. Whittaker},
title = {Technologies Toward Lunar Crater Exploration},
year = {2007},
month = {April},
institution = {Carnegie Mellon University},
address = {Pittsburgh, PA},
number = {CMU-RI-TR-07-40},
keywords = {lunar, mobility, moon, plow, slip, rover, track, icebreaker, highlander},