robots for planetary exploration

During recent years the European Space Agency (ESA) has started to develop concepts for micro-rovers for planetary missions. An ESA Technology Research Program (TRP) activity "Micro-Robots for Scientific Applications" has been dedicated to this subject. Within an interdisciplinary group of space companies and research labs new designs of micro-rovers have been investigated. Two concepts, a simple and robust one called Nanokhod and an innovative one called SpaceCat, were selected and functional breadboard models were developed and tested. After completing the design of the robot, we evaluated its performance at the aerospace facilities of ESA in Cologne, Germany.

Design and Control of an Innovative Micro-Rover. Lauria, M., Conti, F., Mäusli, P.-A., van Winnendael, M., Bertrand, R. and Siegwart, R. (1998) In Proceedings of the Fifth ESA Workshop on Advanced Space Technologies for Robotics and Automation, The Netherlands, December 1-3

Spacecat, A Micro-Rover based on an Innovative Locomotion Concept. Lauria, M., Conti, F. and SiegwartR., In Video Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Detroit, USA, May 10-15, 1999.