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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

CRICKET: Cryogenic Reservoir Inventory by Cost-Effective Kinetically Enhanced Technology

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

CRICKET: Cryogenic Reservoir Inventory by Cost-Effective Kinetically Enhanced Technology
CRICKET will employ a novel mobility concept to explore permanently shadowed regions (PSR) on the Moon. The volatiles stored in lunar polar areas and on other bodies are important not only for science, but also for exploration in the context of in situ resource utilization (ISRU). CRICKET considers different architectures for simple, relatively inexpensive robots operating as members of a hive to explore PSR, locate areas where water ice is at or near the surface, and relays this information to Earth. CRICKET considers various approaches to moving about on the surface in this biomimetic approach: crawlers, hoppers, and small soccer-ball style buckey-bot concept in which several of the faces act as pads to propel the bot across the surface. In the APL Buckbot, one face is equipped with sensors to search for the presence of water and other volatiles as both free compounds and bound species. The CRICKET concept consists of three elements, each kept as simple as possible: an orbiter (the "queen" for delivery, location, and communication), a carrier (the "hive" for data collection, navigation, power, and dispersal on the surface), and the “crickets.” Each element is a reasonable extrapolation of existing cubesat and/or commercial technology. Each cricket carries a tiny SWIR and Far UV MEMS spectrograph, Xenon lamp, heating element “proboscis” and “whiskers” for characterizing the volatiles. We use multiple crickets to achieve a high-resolution map and to mitigate risk of failure. More »

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