Robotic  Lunar  Exploration  Program  V2
Real-time 3D Dynamic Simulations

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The following is a real-time 3D simulation of NASA's proposed Robotic Lunar Exploration Program (RLEP2) surface mobility system. This simulation was produced for the RLEP2 surface mobility trade studies team during pre-phase A in Spring 2006. The team was centered at NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with participation from the Applied Physics Lab of Johns Hopkins University, NASA Ames Research Center, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA's Glenn and Langley Research Centers and other outside participants including Red Whittaker of Carnegie Mellon University and the Raytheon company.

The goal of DigitalSpace's RLEP2 simulations was to produce a running design analog of the largest (and heaviest) of the three proposed rovers for a 2011-2012 south polar crater exploration mission. We created a simulated "Moon yard" using guidance from JPL and their "Mars yard" and included slopes at various angles, rock obstacles and negative hazards (micro craters) and then drove the real time 3D concept vehicles using simulated physics. This simulation was used during TeamX at JPL and during the mid-term review and contributed to the down-select of several design elements for the surface mobility system including articulated suspension, a braking plow and placement of RTG, drill and science packages.

The dual goals of the proposed mission were to "find the light and touch the ice" with a lander to set down on the Lunar south pole (possibly at the rim of the Shackleton crater) and deploy a rover which would then traverse the crater wall to the crater bottom and perform surface sampling and deep drilling to look for evidence of water ice. The discovery of significant amounts of water ice on the moon could lead to its future use for crew and mission consumables providing life sustaining water and feed stock for in-situ propulsion fuel manufacturing. In this simulation, we have created a drive-able (by keyboard or joystick) virtual rover which has controls for speed and motor torque, and can be articulated into higher or lower centers of gravity depending on driving hazards and to enable drill placement. Gravity can also be set to Lunar, Terrestrial or zero gravity.

Feel free to view the movies, still images and download and run the full simulation of this vehicle and terrain at the links below. We would be happy to receive your comments on this design simulation.


Movies of the Simulation

Robotic Lunar Exploration Program V2 Obstacles

Robotic Lunar Exploration Program V2 Tools



Files for the Simulation

Don't have Digital Spaces? click here

Digital Spaces - System Requirements



Documentation for the Simulation

RLEP2 Environment usage guide



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