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A Framework for Designing Excavating Rovers in Low-Gravity Environment Using Project Chrono

EasyChair Preprint no. 13286, version 2

Versions: 12history
2 pagesDate: May 17, 2024


To establish a sustainable human habitat on the lunar surface, NASA embraced an In-Situ Resrouce Utilization (ISRU) paradigm to harness natural resources, such as minerals and ice water, for oxygen extraction, fuel production, and habitat construction. NASA is evaluating a robotic excavator, Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) and similar designs for efficient regolith extraction and transport. During the digging phase, RASSOR uses two counter-rotating bucket drums on the opposite arms to provide minimum reaction force in both horizontal and vertical direction, allowing a lightweight design. The rover then raises its drums when traveling to the dump location, where it unloads by rotating the drums in opposite directions. Additionally, the drums can assist mobility over steep terrain with both drums in contact with the soil. Autonomous policies are being developed for various tasks to reduce power consumption and improve traction. Gazebo has been used previously to simulate the lunar environment; however, Gazebo does not provide support for modeling and simulating deformable terrain, necessary for capturing the interaction between the regolith and the drum. To address this, an open-source multi-physics simulation platform, Project Chrono, is used to provide the simulation framework for the rover and its interaction with the lunar terrain at different levels of fidelity.

Keyphrases: Discrete Element Method, Excavation, ISRU, Terramechanics

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Luning Bakke and Zhenhao Zhou and Ruochun Zhang and Radu Serban and Dan Negrut},
  title = {A Framework for Designing Excavating Rovers in Low-Gravity Environment Using Project Chrono},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 13286},

  year = {EasyChair, 2024}}
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