Benefits Offered by a Network of CubeSat-Class Rovers for Planetary Cave Exploration. Fraeman, A., Wyatt, E. J., Lazio, J., Castillo-Rogez, J., Chien, S., Herzig, S., Gao, J., Alibay, F., Belov, K., Ellison, D., Kim, H., Troesch, M., & Walsh, W. In Low Cost Planetary Missions Workshop, Pasadena, CA, August, 2017.
abstract   bibtex   
The past decade has seen increasing interest in planetary cave exploration. Dozens of skylights have been found on Mars by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and hundreds on the Moon from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Pictures of lunar caves display stratification that provide an in-place record of the Moon's magmatic evolutionary history Martian caves may represent astrobiological sites that have offered shelters for past and possibly current life, and could serve as volatile traps that record Mars' climate evolution. Caves on both the Moon and Mars are exciting prospective habitats for future crewed missions because they likely offer radiation protection and a stable temperature environment Robotic planetary cave exploration would be challenging for a multitude of reasons. Uncertainty in the target terrain requires robust mobility systems Communication between assets within a cave and to the surface would be difficult due to the chaotic signal propagation. The absence of sunlight requires all power needed for instrument operations, data processing and communication to be brought into the cave We focus on utilizing a variety of assets to mitigate challenges related to communication and instrument operations while optimizing data acquisition and science data retrieval via an organized network We developed a set of science objectives and requirements for a reconnaissance mission concept to a Martian cave focused on mapping the cave geometry, composition, and measuring the temporal and spatial variability of cave environmental conditions (temperature, radiation and humidity). The proposed payload leverages recent or emerging miniaturized instruments developed for CubeSat-class deep space missions. The mild radiation and thermal environment expected in caves justifies the use of CubeSat-class instruments while the multiple assets provide redundancy We studied heterogeneous architectures where responsibilities (science telecom) are distributed among assets. The conceptual DuAxel rover is assumed to be the carrier and telecom relay to the Martian orbiters and may also offer a computing node to support the smaller assets' semi-autonomous navigation inside the cave. Our study includes trade-offs between potential power sources, homogeneity and heterogeneity of the assets, as well as distribution of science instruments to optimize cost and achieved benefit.
@inproceedings{castillo-rogez-fraeman-herzig-et-al-2017,
  author = {A. Fraeman and E. J. Wyatt and J. Lazio and J. Castillo-Rogez and S. Chien and S. Herzig and J. Gao and F. Alibay and K. Belov and D. Ellison and H. Kim and M. Troesch and W. Walsh},
  title = {Benefits Offered by a Network of CubeSat-Class Rovers for Planetary Cave Exploration},
  booktitle = {Low Cost Planetary Missions Workshop},
  year = {2017},
  month = {August},
  address = {Pasadena, CA},
  abstract = {The past decade has seen increasing interest in planetary cave exploration. Dozens of skylights have been found on Mars by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and hundreds on the Moon from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. Pictures of lunar caves display stratification that provide an in-place record of the Moon's magmatic evolutionary history Martian caves may represent astrobiological sites that have offered shelters for past and possibly current life, and could serve as volatile traps that record Mars' climate evolution. Caves on both the Moon and Mars are exciting prospective habitats for future crewed missions because they likely offer radiation protection and a stable temperature environment Robotic planetary cave exploration would be challenging for a multitude of reasons.  Uncertainty in the target terrain requires robust mobility systems Communication between assets within a cave and to the surface would be difficult due to the chaotic signal propagation.  The absence of sunlight requires all power needed for instrument operations, data processing and communication to be brought into the cave We focus on utilizing a variety of assets to mitigate challenges related to communication and instrument operations while optimizing data acquisition and science data retrieval via an organized network We developed a set of science objectives and requirements for a reconnaissance mission concept to a Martian cave focused on mapping the cave geometry, composition, and measuring the temporal and spatial variability of cave environmental conditions (temperature, radiation and humidity). The proposed payload leverages recent or emerging miniaturized instruments developed for CubeSat-class deep space missions. The mild radiation and thermal environment expected in caves justifies the use of CubeSat-class instruments while the multiple assets provide redundancy We studied heterogeneous architectures where responsibilities (science telecom) are distributed among assets.  The conceptual DuAxel rover is assumed to be the carrier and telecom relay to the Martian orbiters and may also offer a computing node to support the smaller assets' semi-autonomous navigation inside the cave. Our study includes trade-offs between potential power sources, homogeneity and heterogeneity of the assets, as well as distribution of science instruments to optimize cost and achieved benefit.},
  project = {CaveRovers},
}

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