November 2013 – October 2016
European Union – 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (EU-FP7), in the frame of Space
MOONWALK develops innovative technologies for cooperative human-robot space exploration (robot-assisted Extravehicular activity (EVA)). It uses and develops further European infrastructure and validates new technologies for use under simulated extraterrestrial planetary conditions (low gravity, extreme environmental conditions). Astronauts equipped with an extravehicular activity (EVA) suit and special tools for EVA activities (e.g. exobiology sampling) are supported by a small assistant-robot (rover). The project develops an innovative user-friendly human-machine-interface (HMI) for efficient robot control under restricted conditions (movement restriction through EVA suit, low visibility, etc.). The HMI is comprised of robot control-by-gesture and a data interface integrated in the EVA suit. The robot is equipped with autonomous behaviour and is able to assist the astronaut in EVA activities (e.g. exobiological sampling), with a minimum of user interaction.
To simulate the low-gravity conditions of the moon, the MOONWALK robot-astronaut team was tested in a mission simulation at subsea Marseilles. To simulate extreme environmental conditions and specific exobiological conditions to be found on Mars, the robot-astronaut team tests MOONWALK systems and technologies at Rio Tinto in Spain.
Executive Summary (pdf)
Consortium partners DFKI Robotics Innovation Center (RIC) – Germany / COMEX – France / EADS UK – United Kingdom / LIQUIFER Systems Group – Austria / Space Applications Services – Belgium / NTNU Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space – Norway / INTA Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial – Spain
LIQUIFER team Barbara Imhof, Waltraut Hoheneder, Bob Davenport, Stephen Ransom, René Waclavicek, Susmita Mohanty, Molly Hogle
Image credit: MOONWALK Consortium