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Multi-Robot Planetary Exploration Architectures, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

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Multi-Robot Planetary Exploration Architectures, Phase II
Space policy direction is shifting, particularly with respect to human goals. Given the uncertainty of future missions to the moon, Mars, and other bodies, a tool that allows for informed analysis of the option space is particularly relevant. Aurora Flight Sciences and MIT propose to further develop the Multi-Robot Planetary Exploration Architecture (MRPEA) methodology, a suite of software tools and analysis algorithms developed to provide decision aides to architecture planners of planetary surface exploration missions. MRPEA provides 1. A logical and graphical representation of the system space (e.g. interrelated decision variables with constraints), 2. Structural reasoning for rapid exploration of architectural spaces, 3. Simulation, and 4. Results viewing for a set of feasible architectures. Given the robots available or predicted to be available, the expected duration, and the mission goals, our methodology provides analysis results such as knowledge benefit-vs.-mass Pareto front graphs, to allow the designers to provide the best possible architecture for the planned mission or missions. The MRPEA analysis methodology primarily addresses the planning requirements of planetary surface missions, providing useful analyses of the many elements of the architectural decision space; in addition, the principles and techniques developed to analyze and select multi-robot architectures on planetary surfaces can also be applied to future fractional satellite systems, an area of increasing interest. More »

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