The demonstration mission will take place between June 14 and July 10, 2020 on Mount Etna (Sicily, Italy). The analog mission consists of three parts that focus scientifically on geological research and radio astronomy, which are relevant scenarios for future exploration activities.
The first two scenarios examine technical and operational aspects of geological in-situ analysis and sample return.
The first scenario focuses on a cooperative, heterogeneous team of two wheels (LRU1 and LRU2) and a flying drone (ARDEA), which explores places of interest completely autonomously and carries out scientifically triggered spectral remote images, LIBS spectroscopy as well as sample selection, analysis and collection tasks.
In the second scenario, another robot, the Interact-Rover, will monitor the locations under the supervision of a control room in the ESOC (European Space Control Center) in Darmstadt, Germany. Focus is on the interaction of a trained astronaut with the operations and science teams in a control room on Earth, while a sophisticated rover is controlled remotely with a robotic arm. The shared autonomy with visual and haptic feedback is used to improve the astronaut's ability to operate the rover. In addition, a second scout rover will provide the communication connections that are required for the haptic feedback of the Interact rover during the teleoperation.
The third scenario demonstrates the installation and maintenance of a low-frequency radio antenna field with the LRU rovers and the ARDEA drone. The array consists of four antenna elements and contains a new technology for precise positioning based on radio communication.