Satellite Technology students take part in ESA CDF Study24.03.2021
In 2019 ESA asked for ideas to map and explore lunar caves on their Open Space Innovation Platform. A consortium of international scientists led by Prof. Dr. Andreas Nüchter (Informatics VII - Robotics and Telematics) submitted their idea of a spherical robot equipped with an immersive stereoscopic camera and a lidar system.
The mission concept envisions the DAEDALUS sphere (Descent and Exploration in Deep Autonomy of Lunar Underground Structures) to be lowered into a pit on the surface of the moon. As many of those pits are believed to be 'skylights' into lava caves, the sphere is then detached to explore the pit floor. After further developing their idea in a SysNova study, the team, including several SaTec students, was now invited to take part in a study (https://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Preparing_for_the_Future/Discovery_and_Preparation/ESA_plans_mission_to_explore_lunar_caves) organized by ESA's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF) at ESTEC in the Netherlands. In this study they had the opportunity to evaluate their concept together with space engineering experts.
A rendering of the design was featured as ESA's Technology Image of the week: https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2021/03/Lunar_cave_explorer