A Robotic Return to the Moon

by A. Steve Johnson,
William E. Faller,
Alex Hoehn,
Marvin W. Luttges,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space II


An autonomous Lunar precursor mission is proposed as the first step to an effective, low cost return of man to the Lunar surface. The mission would use two self similar robotic vehicles and three experimental bio-volumes. The volumes are derived directly from the three lunar landers required to fulfill mission hardware delivery needs. The autonomous lunar vehicles are scheduled to establish 'ground truth', carry out resource exploration, develop sites and roads, and to provide resource recovery and processing support. By exchange of data, each vehicle would proceed to learn Lunar maps and pathways from the other. Delivered resources coupled with in situ resources would provide the reconfigured bio-volumes with the capability to carry out biological growth and waste processing demonstrations autonomously. The implementation of the Lunar Oasis by Automation and Robotics (LOAR) has immediate returns to the U.S. technology base in the crucial areas of automation and robotics.

Subject Headings: Moon | Automation and robotics | Unmanned vehicles | Space colonies | Space exploration | Recycling | Mapping | Biological processes

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