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Cave training for DLR rover Scout
Researchers from the DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Control have conducted extensive tests in a Bavarian cave with the DLR rover Scout. The rover will be used to develop exploration technologies for future missions in lava caves on the Moon and Mars.
Preparation for the cave test (Image: Sarah Lichtenheldt)
Huge, kilometer-long lava caves are suspected to have formed on the Moon and Mars billions of years ago as a result of volcanic activity. These tunnel and cave systems, especially on Mars, are of great importance to science. For there could be traces of former or even existing life. For conventional rovers, however, the steep, impassable crater walls have so far been inaccessible. With the help of "Scout", scientists from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) want to develop exploration technologies for these lava caves. To prepare the rover for future missions in lava caves on Mars and the moon, the
DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Control
Technology has now conducted a test with the Scout rover in an earthly cave in Bavaria.
DLR rover Scout overcomes obstacles (Image: Sarah Lichtenheldt)
The use of rovers in caves is still rare and an extremely challenging task for mobile robots. With their variety of shapes, these natural cavities offer a very challenging environment. In the cave, the rover was tested for potential improvements that will be incorporated into the next prototype. In the test, Scout had to cover a 50-meter horizontal distance, negotiating rocks, steps, narrow passages and a cold stream. "What is only a stone's throw on the surface is often a long and arduous distance in caves," reports project leader Dr. Roy Lichtenheldt of the DLR Institute for System Dynamics and Control.
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