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The demonstration mission will take place between June 14 and July 10, 2021 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.

Video: Integration Tests for Demonstration Mission Space

Cooperative mapping in heterogeneous robotic team and autonomous sample-return shown at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2019 as well as localization and mapping with three agents in the Moon-analogue environment of the volcano Mt. Etna.

Publication accompanying the video:

Schuster, Martin J. and Müller, Marcus G. and Brunner, Sebastian G. and Lehner, Hannah and Lehner, Peter and Sakagami, Ryo and Dömel, Andreas and Meyer, Lukas and Vodermayer, Bernhard and Giubilato, Riccardo and Vayugundla, Mallikarjuna and Reill, Josef and Steidle, Florian and von Bargen, Ingo and Bussmann, Kristin and Belder, Rico and Lutz, Philipp and Stürzl, Wolfgang and Smísek, Michal and Maier, Moritz and Stoneman, Samantha and Fonseca Prince, Andre and Rebele, Bernhard and Durner, Maximilian and Staudinger, Emanuel and Zhang, Siwei and Pöhlmann, Robert and Bischoff, Esther and Braun, Christian and Schröder, Susanne and Dietz, Enrico and Frohmann, Sven and Börner, Anko and Hübers, Heinz-Wilhelm and Foing, Bernard and Triebel, Rudolph and Albu-Schäffer, Alin O. and Wedler, Armin (2020) The ARCHES Space-Analogue Demonstration Mission: Towards Heterogeneous Teams of Autonomous Robots for Collaborative Scientific Sampling in Planetary Exploration. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters, 5 (4), pp. 5315-5322. IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. DOI: 10.1109/LRA.2020.3007468 ISSN 2377-3766