Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




ROBO SPACE
Germany's CESAR Crowned King Of Rovers In ESA's Robotics Challenge
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Nov 05, 2008


The CESAR robot, winner of the first ESA Lunar Robotics Challenge.

A robot rover designed by a Bremen university team has won an ESA contest to retrieve soil samples from a lunar-style terrestrial crater. Eight student teams fielded rovers during the event, their progress monitored by an advanced 3-D viewer already flight-tested in space and planned for eventual deployment on the Moon.

Craters surrounding the Moon's poles are a top 21st Century science target. Lunar researchers believe these craters may be 'cold traps', preserving ancient water ice deposits. Such ice would not only be an invaluable time capsule, it would also support manned lunar settlements. But the only way to verify the ice is there is to go fetch it, which is where rovers come in.

The bleak pumice landscape of Minas de San Jose within Tenerife's Teide National Park stood in for the Moon during the inaugural ESA Lunar Robotics Challenge (LRC).

Built within strict size, weight and power constraints, the rovers had to descend down the steep 40 degrees slopes of a 15-metre deep crater, grab 0.1 kg of specifically selected soil then carry it out again - all the while in darkness.

Working from a trailer camp 2000 metres up, each five-strong team was confronted with some distinctly non-lunar weather including heavy rain and clouds. In the event only one rover managed to complete the assignment -Bremen's three-wheeled CESAR (Crater Exploration and Sample Return) robot, duly judged LRC winner on 26 October.

The rovers were not the only hardware undergoing field testing. "The location was an excellent place to exercise the capabilities of the Erasmus Recording Binocular (ERB)," explained Massimo Sabbatini of ESA's Human Spaceflight Directorate.

"This innovative high-resolution stereo-video recorder will become part of the standard toolset of astronauts when surveying lunar areas."

Despite being more than 2000 km away from the European mainland the test site was kept linked with the internet by a satellite ground station provided by ESA's Telecom Directorate, which enabled remote team members to follow the event and even debug rover software as needed.

Francesco Feliciani of ESA's Telecom Directorate said: "The successful live transmission of the videos streams from the LRC proves that the technology is ready to be used in real life applications."

The broadband-quality transmission was made possible by the ESA co-funded AmerHis regenerative payload hosted aboard Hispatsat's Amazonas spacecraft. AmerHis works as an internet router in the sky.

Stefano Badessi also of ESA Telecom commented: "Our satellite terminal allowed those team members who could not be on the Teide in person to watch how their teammates were faring."

Jury member Richard Fisackerly paid particular attention to the control stations teams employed to communicate with their rovers. As part of ESA's Aurora Programme developing technology for manned and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars, Fisasckerly plans to apply the student experience into terminals planned for lunar astronauts to interact with robot assistants.

Adverse weather conditions affected preliminary trials and also meant two of the rovers - fielded by the University of Pisa and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna - were forced to perform the Challenge in daytime rather than at night.

This being so, the jury decided against formally ranking the teams but did compile a scoreboard to give feedback on strategic choices. LRC judge and organiser Gianfranco Visentin said: "We hope that this information will increase the wisdom of the teams for future competitions."

Also affecting scoreboard figures, the University of Surrey's SELENE proved unable to take part due to a mechanical failure while Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna's pESApod was shorted out by rainfall.

Lucio Scolamiero, member of the jury and co-proposer of the LRC, declared "Only six months ago most of the rovers were only at drawing board level. What the student teams have done in such a short time has been a challenge in itself, they all deserve to be considered winners of this challenge".

The eight rover teams will share their experiences on 14 November at a special session concluding ESA's 10th Workshop on Advanced Space Technologies for Robotics and Automation.

.


Related Links
Video footage of CESAR and the other rovers
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROBO SPACE
Cliffbot Goes Climbing
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Nov 04, 2008
Some of the most scientifically interesting sites on Mars are also some of the hardest to get to. Layered terrain exposed on the cliff faces of deep canyons. Gullies etched into the sides of ancient craters - possible evidence of the presence of liquid water on modern-day Mars. These are some of the locales that scientists would like to explore. But to the rovers that have been sent to ... read more


ROBO SPACE
India's moon mission enters lunar space

Aspiring lunar entrepreneurs contract for help from NASA

India's Lunar Probe Sends Its First Pictures From Space

NASA Ames Collaborates To Develop Robotic Lunar Lander

ROBO SPACE
NASA Hearing Daily From Weak Phoenix Mars Lander

NASA: Phoenix weak and getting weaker

Mission to Mars: Key health hurdle can be overcome, say scientists

Phoenix Goes Quiet

ROBO SPACE
New Spaceship Force Field Makes Mars Trip Possible

Neil Armstrong Gives Papers To Purdue Libraries

NASA, South Korea sign mutual statement

Harris' OS/COMET Product Chosen For Constellation Launch Control Program

ROBO SPACE
Souped-Up Rockets For Shenzhou

China Successfully Launches Research Satellites

China To Launch FY-4 Weather Satellite Around 2013

Shenzhou 7 Astronauts In Good Health

ROBO SPACE
Two US astronauts to cast votes from space

Expedition 17 Set To Undock Today

Expedition 18 Takes Charge

Expedition 18 Crew Docks With Space Station

ROBO SPACE
Student Experiments On Board REXUS 4 Launched

Russia Starts Preparations To Launch US Telecoms Satellite

New ASTRA 1M Satellite Ready For Launch On 6 November

SPACEHAB Sees Opportunity In Space Florida's Launch Complex

ROBO SPACE
MIT Researchers Find Clues To Planets' Birth

Young Earthlike Planets May Glow Brightly Enough To Be Found

Exotic Weather On Distant Worlds

Tides Have Major Impact On Planet Habitability

ROBO SPACE
NOAA-N Prime Satellite Arrives At Vandenberg For Launch

Intelsat Retires The Oldest Commercial CommSat

Kazakh Satellite Brought Back Into Orbit

The Sky Isn't Falling And That's A Problem




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement