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Front. Robot. AI
Sec. Space Robotics
Volume 10 - 2023 | doi: 10.3389/frobt.2023.1149080

Multi-Robot Cooperation for Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization

  • 1West Virginia University, United States

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This paper presents a cooperative, multi-robot solution for searching, excavating, and transporting mineral resources on the Moon. Our work was developed in the context of the Space Robotics Challenge Phase 2 (SRCP2), which was part of the NASA Centennial Challenges and was motivated by the current NASA Artemis program, a flagship initiative that intends to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon. In the SRCP2 a group of simulated mobile robots was tasked with reporting volatile locations within a realistic lunar simulation environment, and excavating and transporting these resources to target locations in such an environment. In this paper, we describe our solution to the SRCP2 competition that includes our strategies for rover mobility hazard estimation (e.g. slippage level, stuck status), immobility recovery, rover-to-rover, and rover-to-infrastructure docking, rover coordination and cooperation, and cooperative task planning and autonomy. Our solution was able to successfully complete all tasks required by the challenge, granting our team 6th place among all participants of the challenge. Our results demonstrate the potential of using autonomous robots for autonomous in situ resource utilization (ISRU) on the Moon and the effectiveness of realistic simulation environments for testing and validating robot autonomy and coordination algorithms.

Keywords: Multi-Robot Systems, aerospace robotics, Planetary rovers, Moon, autonomous lunar rover operations

Received:20 Jan 2023; Accepted: 02 Mar 2023.

Copyright: © 2023 Rocamora, Kilic, Tatsch, Pereira and Gross. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Jason N. Gross, West Virginia University, Morgantown, 26506-6201, West Virginia, United States