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Uni’s SnT rover advances to finals in ESA/ESRIC Moon competition

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Published on Thursday, 31 March 2022

SpaceR, a Space Robotics Research Group of the University of Luxembourg's Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT), was selected on 29 March for the finals in the ESA/ESRIC Space Resources Challenge. The primary goal of the challenge is to characterise and locate resources like water and metals with some ground truth measurements and produce an accurate map of a little impact crater a few hundred meters from the lander. The mission control room analyses the images (visual & multi-spectral bands) to make a first resource map to guide future missions.

SpaceR, led by Prof. Miguel Olivares Mendez, is part of a the LUnar Volatiles Mobile Instrumentation – eXtended Rover (LUVMI-XR) team, in cooperation with Space Applications ServicesDynamic Imaging AnalyticsCRPGimecLPRC and Tohoku University. Five teams have advanced to the final stage of the competition. The winning rover of the five finalists will be chosen in September 2022, and will explore and prospect on the Moon on an upcoming ESA mission.

The challenge of the first stage of the competition involved developing a robot capable of traversing an area of 2500 m², across diverse terrain, in order to locate and characterise resources. The final field test in September 2022 will take place at Luxembourg’s Rockhal venue, in Belval. Each finalist has been awarded €75,000 as part of a development contract with ESA to evolve their prototype in preparation for the final field test. The winning team will be awarded up to €500,000, and the chance to be a part of a robotics mission to the Moon.

ESRIC is looking forward to welcoming the five winners from this phase to Luxembourg, where they will compete in the lunar environment for this autumn’s second round.”, said Bob Lamboray, ESRIC’s strategic advisor and project manager. “Through the ESRIC prize, we will support the final winner to further mature their design and hopefully make it to the Moon in the near future.”

The other winning teams include ETH Zurich and University of Zurich from Switzerland, Mission Control Space Services from Canada, Łukasiewicz – PIAP from Poland and FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik from Germany.