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Recovery Policies for Safe Exploration of Lunar Permanently Shadowed Regions by a Solar-Powered Rover

arXiv preprint gplanetary_nav on Github

Olivier Lamarre, Shantanu Malhotra, Jonathan Kelly

Article published in the Acta Astronautica journal


With a solar-powered rover affected by random navigation delays, the safest way out of a PSR is dictated by the probability of survival of the rover, not the physically shortest path. Impact of faults on the safety of a solar-powered rover exiting a PSR. In subfigure A, the dashed line shows the path generated by a hypothetical risk-agnostic offline spatiotemporal planner. The blue arrow shows an action returned by a hypothetical online, risk-aware planner. A fault occurring early into the traverse (subfigure B) not only invalidates the offline plan, but in this case it also prevents the rover from being exposed to sunlight no matter where it exits the PSR (subfigure C). On the other hand, a risk-aware online planner can, by design, proactively account for stochastic faults (see blue path). In this conceptual example, the online planning methodology leads the rover to sunlight (subfigure D). Background image courtesy of NASA and Arizona State University. VIPER render courtesy of NASA.

Supplementary material: animation of recovery drives from the LCROSS crash site

The manuscript shows snapshots of simulation trials departing at different times from a specific location near the LCROSS crash site. The following shows complete animations of these traverses:

Departure from timestamp t0 (UNIX timestamp 1882218800s, August 23 2029 22:33:20 UTC):

Departure from timestamp t1 (UNIX timestamp 1882272800s, August 24 2029 13:33:20 UTC):

Departure from timestamp t2 (UNIX timestamp 1882377200s, August 25 2029 18:33:20 UTC):

Departure from timestamp t4 (UNIX timestamp 1882514000s, August 27 2029 08:33:20 UTC):


	title = {Recovery policies for safe exploration of lunar permanently shadowed regions by a solar-powered rover},
	volume = {213},
	issn = {0094-5765},
	doi = {10.1016/j.actaastro.2023.09.028},
	urldate = {2023-11-18},
	journal = {Acta Astronautica},
	author = {Lamarre, Olivier and Malhotra, Shantanu and Kelly, Jonathan},
	month = dec,
	year = {2023},
	pages = {708--724},

Space and Terrestrial Autonomous Systems Lab - University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies