The Clangers will be annoyed.
The European Space Agency is investigating sending an army of autonomous rovers into underground caves and lava tubes on the Moon. Officials are assessing suggestions for the robotic exploration of tunnels as long as 50km carved by flowing lava during ancient geological activity. This would be part of ESA's European Large …
Friday 26th February 2021 13:41 GMT Chris G
I quite like the swarm idea, then you could equip individual rovers with more specific sensors rather than trying to cram as much sciencr as possible onto one large machine. I know in launch terms it may be less efficient but would increase flexibility and redundancy in the event of rovers that break down.
Saturday 27th February 2021 00:34 GMT MachDiamond
If the entrance is a skylight, it makes sense to lower in a laser range finder and do a scan. If the tunnel is long enough (TBD), construct an entrance ramp that rovers can drive down rather than using a crane. Build sealed sections a length at a time with airlocks installed at the far end to continue sealing sections and have a way to remove spoil while digging to lengthen tunnels. Spending all of the time and money to map a long tunnel is too much expense up front if the goal is to use them as habitats.
I like the idea of installing a recharging station in the tunnel that rovers can dock to for a recharge. Rovers should also be able to share power unit to unit.
Saturday 27th February 2021 02:26 GMT harmjschoonhoven
Delft Dynamics already developed their U-drone. An tethered underground drone for military reconnaissance. U-drone navigates with Australian SLAM (Simultaneous Location and Mapping) software.
The U-drone is one of the many products sponsored by the Dutch army.
One of Delft Dynamics' other products is a drone catcher. See the video.
Saturday 27th February 2021 14:30 GMT BristolBachelor
The atmosphere on the moon is very thin; not enough to clay, nor enough for "air" cooling. Plus the dust is so abrasive it will eat anything worth movement.
SLAM and auto navigation and obstacle avoidance are not the problem; we were doing that 15 years ago. The moon is the problem, and nothing that isn't designed specifically for it won't survive.
Monday 1st March 2021 16:52 GMT Mr Sceptical
Saturday 27th February 2021 03:14 GMT Gene Cash
"The European Space Agency is investigating sending an army of autonomous rovers into underground caves and lava tubes on the Moon."
That's the sort of shit I'd work on almost for free, if they're serious about it. I doubt they are though. This will be another powerpoint project forgotten by next year.
Saturday 27th February 2021 12:22 GMT Adair
If the lava tubes on the Moon (or Mars) are anything like the ones I've been in here on Terra then the probes would probably be better off being more like spiders. The interiors are usually full of seriously rough terrain, with roof falls, cracks, and precipitous ups and downs all along the way.
If the probe/s were free floating that would be ideal, otherwise it needs to be something that really can take just about anything in its stride - literally.
Monday 1st March 2021 14:21 GMT 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921
Monday 1st March 2021 14:32 GMT TomJo
Why explore these tunnels at all? Or is it where they want to build a lunar base?
We've got some cool ideas for exploring tunnels in stone ... There is hardly anything you can find there other than the tunnel itself.
I hope I am wrong. Otherwise, this is another pointless waste of time and resources.