Lunar Odyssey

LunaVeR

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Lunar rovers for exploration and prospecting that can be experienced in VR.

Summary

Advanced multi-functional units (rovers and robots) designed, built, launched, and deployed to one of the polar regions of the Moon selected for likely exploration and prospecting in view of future permanent outposts and settlement. The units will carry a range of equipment for scientific analysis, cooperative telerobotics, and resource assay, (e.g. searching for water, materials suited to ISRU, and possible exports like Helium 3).

The on-board electronics will include data, image and video communications along with Artificial Intelligence (AI) subsystems to permit partial automation. Additionally, the units will support direct teleoperation from Earth. The public will be encouraged to take part in ongoing explorations and operations with an innovative Virtual Reality (VR) system that will permit users on Earth to experience the Moon in near real-time based on returned data, images and video.


Discussion

Proposal: A Lunar uncrewed vehicle for surface exploration and site survey operations. Rationale: It has been earlier studied Lunar exploration could be well-served by aerial surveys of interesting locations on the Moon. With no atmosphere to really speak of on the Moon, it would be necessary to likely use some sort of "hopper" configuration, wherein a survey vehicle would launch itself on ballistic trajectories of relatively low altitude and evaluate the landscape passing by below. This sort of hopper concept is not in itself new, but it also has not been tried. The possibility of transporting and deploying such an exploration drone is now, in my opinion, much more likely than in previous years, and open to private implementation. Discussion Point: I am personally working through self-training on drone operation, in support of this possible line of inquiry and others possibly served by drone operations of this kind. Terrestrial quadcopter operation is not a direct analog for the physical realities of an airless environment, but would point to the development of logistics for a hopper exploration program. Disciplines needed, subject to revision: Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Control System Design
Similar to CubeSats https://www.astrobotic.com/2017/5/4/astrobotic-to-develop-cuberover-standard-for-planetary-surface-mobility (http://https://www.astrobotic.com/2017/5/4/astrobotic-to-develop-cuberover-standard-for-planetary-surface-mobility)


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