Date: April 14, 2011
Creator: Mischo, Michael; Knott, Jeremy; Davis, LaTonya; Kendrick, Mario & Namuduri, Kamesh
Description: This paper discusses research on lunar surface navigation and exploration. Abstract: Sending humans to other worlds is very costly and dangerous so first voyages are often made by machines. While machines are very cost effective they must be capable of performing many tasks in an environment where help may not be close or on the same planet at all. Our closest terrestrial body, the moon, is around 238,857 miles away and takes about eight seconds to send a message making remote control of these machines difficult and slow. The authors' approach is to have the system be completely autonomous and absent of human control. To accomplish complete automation, the first problem is to have the system navigate the terrain. This system is equipped with a stereoscopic camera and a visual frequency scanning laser to provide a robust sensor system for object detection and obstacle avoidance. In combination the stereoscopic cameras and the scanning laser can define the surrounding environment in very high detail, enabling the system to easily navigate through it. The implications of this technology could lead to less costly EVAs, lower risk to personnel, and ground level navigation and mapping of extra terrestrial terrain.
Contributing Partner: UNT Honors College