Robotics for space exploration
Professor Yang Gao, Head of the STAR Lab at the University of Surrey, has produced a white paper which states that research into robotic autonomy will make future space exploration more affordable.
The STAR Lab specialises in developing robotics solutions and autonomous systems that monitor and service spacecraft, remove space debris and explore new space frontiers and extra-terrestrial surfaces.
New space robots are to be equipped with new sensing techniques that will provide 3D-perception, and with the ability to climb, swim, dig, fly, sail, navigate and dock spacecraft without humans, as well as to interact with humans. All of this provides an explosion in the amount of information that can be gained from future space exploration, as robots will be able to collect more data this way than humans currently can.
European Space Agency (ESA) Astronaut Roberto Vittori who launched the paper, said: “The importance of this area of science cannot be understated”.
This same autonomous technology created to explore new celestial territories may have practical applications in the fields of healthcare, mining and agriculture, such as when systems used in the ExoMars rover were used to improve the efficiency of oil extraction.