Enabling Commercial Autonomous Space Robotic Explorers

08/12/2019 ∙ by Thomas Yuang Li, et al. ∙ 0

In contrast to manned missions, the application of autonomous robots for space exploration missions decreases the safety concerns of the exploration missions while extending the exploration distance since returning transportation is not necessary for robotics missions. In addition, the employment of robots in these missions also decreases mission complexities and costs because there is no need for onboard life support systems: robots can withstand and operate in harsh conditions, for instance, extreme temperature, pressure, and radiation, where humans cannot survive. In this article, we introduce environments on Mars, review the existing autonomous driving techniques deployed on Earth, as well as explore technologies required to enable future commercial autonomous space robotic explorers. Last but not least, we also present that one of the urgent technical challenges for autonomous space explorers, namely, computing power onboard.

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