Assessment of robotic recon for human exploration of the Moon

Terrence Fong, Andrew Abercromby, Maria G. Bualat, Matthew C. Deans, Kip Hodges, José M. Hurtado, Rob Landis, Pascal Lee, Debra Schreckenghost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Robotic reconnaissance ("recon") has the potential to significantly improve scientific and technical return from lunar surface exploration. In particular, robotic recon can be used to improve traverse planning, reduce operational risk, and increase crew productivity. To study how robotic recon can benefit human exploration, we recently conducted a field experiment at Black Point Lava Flow (BPLF), Arizona. In our experiment, a simulated ground control team at NASA Ames teleoperated a planetary rover to scout geology traverses at BPLF. The recon data were then used to plan revised traverses. Two-man crews subsequently performed both types of traverses using the NASA "Lunar Electric Rover" (LER) and simulated extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suits. This paper describes the design of our experiment, presents our results, and discusses directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1176-1188
Number of pages13
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Planetary rovers
  • Robotic exploration
  • Scouting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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