Hybrid Robotic Habitat for Lunar Exploration
January 10, 2005
Authors: David Smitherman, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Masoud Rais-Rohani, Mississippi State University; Daniel Dunn, Undergraduate Student Research Program, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center; Don Perkinson, Sverdrup Huntsville AL.
Abstract: During the summer of 2004, several studies were conducted in the Advanced Projects office at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) related to the development of walking habitats for lunar exploration. This work included conceptual designs for a walker based on existing technology for the robotics as well as the International Space Station (ISS) hardware for pressurized modules; engineering simulations for the overall architectural configuration and mission architecture development; preliminary designs for the pressure vessel and shielding using new composite technologies (as opposed to aluminum); and, ongoing development of computer models containing mass statements for various architecture options. This paper provides a brief summary of some of the key findings from these studies, and identifies areas for future work that will lead to more robust lunar exploration architectures in the future. In conclusion, it is recommended that lunar walking technology be developed for future exploration missions and that polyethylene and carbon reinforced polymer composite materials be used to develop lightweight structures and space environmental shielding.
In recent years, there has been interest in mobile habitat concepts for lunar exploration as opposed to traditional fixed base sites as used during the Apollo missions (Cohen 2004a). One of these concepts is depicted in Figure 1, where a cluster of modular habitats called Hab-Bots (Mankins, 2001), form a lunar base. The idea is that the modularity will create efficiencies in production and maintenance of the system; and their mobility will allow reuse of the assets by moving them remotely from site to site in support of ongoing exploration activities. During the summer of 2004, this concept was explored further by incorporating a few other constraints. These constraints included designing a mobile habitat architecture that could be launched on current or near-term expendable launch vehicles; state-of-the-art robotic systems; International Space Station (ISS) derived components for compatibility; and non-metallic structures, to the greatest extent possible, for improved environmental shielding. This paper provides an overview of that activity and the new feasible architectures derived from ISS systems.
Full paper availability at:
NASA Technical Report Server: https://sti.nasa.gov/
American Institute of Physics: https://aip.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1063/1.1867232