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Modular Robotic System for Lunar Applications

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Modular Robotic System for Lunar Applications

Robots are the most important assistants for astronauts during extra-terrestrial missions. All successful exploration missions in the past have proven the importance and the durability that robots have in extreme environments. For our next step on the lunar surface, it’s essential to redesign a more complete and multifunctional robotic system that can provide support for astronauts during the construction, exploration, research and everyday life tasks. This research study aims to create a new framework for reconfigurable robotics, going beyond the “traditional” intransigent robot. Concepts of Modular applications have already manifested in Space Missions (ISS, MIR). Therefore, adoption of a modular framework for a robotic system, capable of reconfiguration for complex tasks and enhanced functionality is a highly plausible concept. The research idea derives from a previous study that explored a reconfigurable modular swarm robotic system for ISRU 3D printing for extreme environments [1]. This robotic modular framework will allow modules to re-configure and adapt in different scenarios (transportation, drilling, 3Dprinting, excavation), creating a more sustainable robotic system. The framework allows for redundancy and enhances the odds for success. In the event that one of the module fails, another module can replace it without risking the success of the mission. We will focus on the development of scaled robotic prototypes, emphasizing more towards the geometry, connectivity, mobility and its assembly strategies. The robots will be controlled via teleoperation and be assembled or disassembled with human assistance. [1] Irawan J., De Kestelier X., Argyros N., Lewis B., Gregson S. (2020) A Reconfigurable Modular Swarm Robotic System for ISRU (In-Situ Resource Utilisation) Autonomous 3D Printing in Extreme Environments. Impact: Design With All Senses. DMSB 2019. Springer, Cham

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