The Right Path: Comprehensive Path Planning for Lunar Exploration Rovers


This text presents a comprehensive path-planning methodology for lunar and planetary exploration rovers. During this methodology, two new parts are introduced as evaluation indices for path planning: 1) determined by the rover design and a couple of) derived from a target surroundings. These are defined as the rover's internal and external parts, respectively. In this text, the rover's locomotion mechanism and insolation (i.e., shadow) conditions were considered to be the 2 elements that ensure the rover's safety and energy, and therefore the influences of those parts on path coming up with were described. To examine the influence of the locomotion mechanism on path coming up with, experiments were performed using track and wheel mechanisms, and the motion behaviors were modeled. The planned paths of the tracked and wheeled rovers were then simulated primarily based on their motion behaviors. The influence of the insolation condition was considered through path plan simulations conducted using varied lunar latitudes and times. The simulation results showed that the inner part can be used as an analysis index to plan a safe path that corresponds to the traveling performance of the rover's locomotion mechanism. The path derived for the tracked rover was found to be straighter than that derived for the wheeled rover. The simulation results additionally showed that path coming up with using the external component as an additional index enhances the ability generated by solar panels beneath various insolation conditions. This path-designing technique was found to possess a large impact on the number of power generated in the morning/evening and at high-latitude regions relative to within the daytime and at low-latitude regions on the moon. These simulation results suggest the effectiveness of the proposed pathplanning method.

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