CESAR: A lunar crater exploration and sample return robot

Jakob Schwendner, Felix Grimminger, Sebastian Bartsch, Thilo Kaupisch, Mehmed Yüksel, Andreas Bresser, Joel Bessekon Akpo, Alexander Dieterle, Steffen Schmidt, Michael Seydel, Frank Kirchner

In: Intelligent Robots and Systems. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS-09) October 10-15 St. Louis MO United States Seiten 3355-3360 ISBN 978-1-4244-3803-7 10/2009.


Suspicion of water ice deposits in the lunar south-polar region have sparked new interest into the earth's smaller companion, and robotic crater sample return missions are being considered by a number of space agencies. The difficult terrain with an inclination of over 30°, eternal darkness and temperatures of less than -173°C make this a difficult task. In this paper we present a novel, bio-inspired light-weight system design, which demonstrates a possible approach for such a mission. The robot managed to come first in the Lunar Robotic Challenge (LRC), organised by the European Space Agency (ESA) in October 2008. Using a remote operated robot, we demonstrated to climb into and out of a lunar-like crater with inclination of more than 35° on loose substrate, and performed the collection and delivery of a 100g soil sample without the aid of external illumination.

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence