The European Space Agency (ESA) has presented a caving robot DAEDALUS, which will explore the lunar caves in the near future.
The caves are seen as places where participants in future missions can shelter and shelter from the harsh lunar conditions, as well as sources of raw materials – primarily ice, needed to obtain water and create rocket fuel.
The main problem is that the entrances to most caves are vertical sinkholes that are inaccessible to conventional rovers. But a robot of the DAEDALUS type, developed by engineers at the Julias-Maximilian University of Würzburg, will be able to cope with this task.
Having reached the surface of the Moon, DAEDALUS undocks from the delivery vehicle and extends special rods. With their help, he will be able to move, as well as remove obstacles and analyze lunar rocks. At the same time, it will be connected to the surface with a cable, which will turn into a Wi-Fi receiver and provide communication with the Earth. The robot will create a 3D model of the cave using lidar, and will also measure temperature and radiation.
So far, three DAEDALUS prototypes have been assembled to test the sensors and locomotion systems. The fourth is already much more functional and is a compact device with a set of additional functions and a high level autonomy.