ESA title
Legged Exploration of Aristarchus Plateau  - SciSpacE

Legged Exploration of Aristarchus Plateau 

Future lunar exploration missions will target regions that hold significant potential for scientific discovery and In Situ Research Utilization (ISRU). Among these targets are partially collapsed lava tubes (pits), volcanic rilles, vents, and fresh impact craters. Various of those targets are approachable on the Aristarchus plateau, a site with a uniquely rich geology. However, many relevant outcrops and sampling sites across the plateau are extremely difficult – or impossible – to reach with traditional, wheel-based robots due to the rough surface, terrain relief, slopes >25°, or generally uncertain soil properties. On Earth, a new generation of versatile legged/wheel-legged robots has recently demonstrated its ability to navigate such challenging terrain, climbing over obstacles and traversing steep inclines, effectively unlocking regions unreachable by traditional, wheeled robots.

The Topical Team is composed of a cross-disciplinary representation of the lunar community with a strong interest in mobility solutions as part of addressing key lunar science exploration goals in difficult to reach and rugged terrain areas, which can greatly help to inform ESA’s science preparations and advancements of concept studies.