Tool for EVA or Robotic Planetary Sampling
Astronauts on EVA use specially designed tools to offset the loss of dexterity due to their gloves. The Apollo astronauts used scoops, tongs, rakes, and hammers to collect lunar samples. In addition to such tools, future manned missions to the moon and Mars will utilize robots for sampling and survey activities. The Space Systems Lab is developing a tool that can be used as both crew aid and robotic end-effector for scientific sample collection. The Tool for EVA or Robotic Planetary Sampling (TERPS) is a prototype used to study the feasibility and application of this “single-tool” idea.
TERPS consists of a motor driven set clam-shell scoops and drill*. The scoops can be used as typical scoops for collecting soil and small rocks, or as a gripper for grasping/holding larger rocks or instruments. The drill will be used for rock chipping/cutting and coring. TERPS could be mounted to the end of a manipulator for robotic applications or to a post or walking stick for EVA (crew aid) applications. Currently, the SSL is validating the sample collection performance, evaluating the system as a crew aid, and testing methods of collecting scientifically useful data about a sample based on motor/scoop/drill action.
* The current system (shown in pictures) does not yet include the drill
Project advisor: Dr. David Akin
Lead graduate student: David Gruntz
The Tool for EVA or Robotic Planetary Sampling (TERPS) is under development at the University of Maryland Space Systems Laboratory, part of the Aerospace Engineering Department and the A. James Clark School of Engineering. This research is supported through the Institute for Dexterous Space Robotics.