Simon and the Husky robot at MDRS
Photo by Yajaira

By Simon Engler

Given the high success rate robotic platforms have had on Mars. It is considered likely that a manned mission to mars or moon would bring robotic platforms to assist in the exploration, collection, and analysis of the Martian planet. This project aims to bring a number of robotic platforms into this study for the purpose of determining the technical requirements for working with robotic platforms and equipment on Mars.

In a planetary environment, Humans will be wearing environmental suits that will encumber their ability to move, see, hear, and perceive their immediate surroundings. They will not be able to work with, or maintain a robotic platform in the same manner. Additionally, they will possibly be controlling robotic platforms remotely, and will encounter maintenance problems or other mishaps that cause them to have to leave the habitat and deal with the situation. This means conducting a Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) mission to the location of the robotic platform and either repairing the robot on site, or bringing back to the habitat for debugging.

This experiment will look at the large number of aspects dealing with Astronaut-Robot interaction and determine the complexities and challenges that astronauts face when working with robotic platforms. The durations and complexities that come with maintaining robotic platforms on a planetary environment will be examined and adapted to. The goal for this analog experiment is to develop a road map for future robotic design that will take these challenges into consideration.