Snow Badger


Title: Snow Badger – Autonomous Trenching Prospector

Sponsor: SSERVI

Background:  Lunar and Martian Exploration demand the use of planetary resources for success.  There is simply no way to ship all that is needed from the Earth. Acquisition of those resources requires, first and foremost, the knowledge of where those resources are located.  Remote sensing options exist, as do drilling probes, but there are drawbacks to each.  

The Project:  Leverage NASA Kennedy Swampworks efforts developing the RASSOR 2 and Mini-RASSOR mining robots to deploy a sensor system able to monitor the sides of a trench as it be being excavated.  System would verify remote probing, track resource production expectations and enhance the safety of the digger by monitoring the face or faces of the excavated trench for stability and commodity content. Sensors would be designed for the Mini-RASSOR robot.  The design is expected to make maximum use of additive manufacturing techniques to minimize launch weight of the system.

Expected Disciplines:  Prime – Electrical and Computer Engineering, Computer Science. 

Academic Expectations:  Students will design the sensors with their engineering process, providing, at a minimum, a Requirements Review, Preliminary Design Review, Critical Design Review and final product demonstration.  

Project Expectations:  Team(s) are encouraged to focus on novel approaches to short range sensing in a dusty environment.    

Nominal Team Size / Expected Hours:  4 to 6, working about 8 hours a week, for 2 semesters.  

Budget:  The goal is a low cost sensor suite.  SERVI will fund each team up to $TBD1.

Expected SME Availability:  FSI (Kevin Cannon) and Kennedy SMEs will be available for a weekly conference call.  The primary communications mechanism is E-Mail. Data products, and a team forum, will be provided in GitHub.com

Important Dates: Institutional dates only

Travel Requirements: Little or None

Additional Information:  FSI / FSGC maintain a 3D printer for team use if necessary.

Technical Constraints:  None