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Feasibility Study on the Development of Lunar Environment Simulator

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Feasibility Study on the Development of Lunar Environment Simulator

Previous ESA Studies, such as the LUNA study 'Artificial Analogue Concepts for Preparing Robotics and Human Exploration on the Moon' identified gaps in European infrastructures to simulate surface operations with lunar soil (simulant) in a vacuum. There exist several vacuum chambers or terrain models such as the coming EAC LUNA facility which can be used for testing equipment either in a vacuum or on a simulated lunar terrain, but not both.

The here presented enhanced Hydrosphere Lunar Surface Simulator can be an additional asset in this orchestra of facilities. It offers the possibility to simulate lunar surface operations on a medium size scale (five metres in diameter) under vacuum conditions.

The proposed facility is an existing installation located in southern France which is currently being enhanced. It served initially as diving simulator for COMEX and was also used for space projects in the past where it was listed as ESA Ground Based Facility.

Together with ESA’s LUNA facility, and other testbeds in Europe, it can increase European capacity to develop and test various items for future lunar surface operations.

Executive summary