Our friends from the Austrian Space Forum are working hard to pave the way for future human Mars expeditions. The newest entry in their impressive field simulations & expeditions list is the AMADEE-15 project, a two-week Mars simulation mission on a rock glacier in the Kaunertal, Austria. Team Puli is happy to be part of this mission, after our successful Moroccan desert test and Mission Maunacast!
As Puli fans already know, our rover loves rocky terrains, so it was a straigthforward decision for us to participate in AMADEE-15 with the Puli rocks! project. But we plan to do much more than climbing rocks:
Human on site exploration can be assisted by remotely controlled scouting rovers, enhancing the area to be surveyed. This gives rise to higher chances to collect relevant scientific information and samples. In the PULI ROCKS experiment the Puli rover will systematically search and map predefined areas, sending back images and position data to the Mission Support Centre and the rover Mission Control. A specifically trained Mission Control team, supported by at least one offline or MSC science analysis team , will look e.g. for potential meteorite specimens, or any specific rocky samples of interest. If a possible candidate is identified, the information will be given the Field Crew, who can decide to pick up the sample immediately or in a follow-up targeted exploration tour. The resulting imagery and map data can be analysed in a post-mission phase in more detail.
On the technical and engineering side, navigation and mobility capabilities on rough terrain, distance measuring via image analysis, power supply system performance of the rover, (relatively) low bandwith communication and Mission Control operations procedures will also be tested.