Space Applications Services uses Virtual Reality to help scientists plan the journey of LUVMI-X on the Lunar Surface
Believed to exist in or near the cold permanently shadowed regions (PSR) at the lunar poles, the possibility of water ice on the surface of the Moon is an item of major interest. Harnessing the water, as well as other mineral resources available in the Lunar Regolith such as Oxygen, would enable humankind to sustainably expand into space.
The LUVMI-X Lunar rover is a lunar mobility platform being designed and prototyped by Space Applications Services in Belgium, to provide modular mobility to a variety of payloads on the lunar surface while maintaining a footprint small enough to fly on commercial or agency lunar lander missions, with a launch planned for 2024.
In its core reference mission, LUVMI-X is configured to visit the Lunar poles to detect Lunar resources, hosting a novel compact volatiles sampler designed by the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and OHB System AG, a volatiles analyser by the Open University, a LIBS spectrometer by Laser Zentrum Hannover/German Space Center/OHB, a radiation detector by TUM, a light-field camera technology demonstrator by Dynamic Imaging Analytics, and proof of concept propellable and deployable payloads.
The rover features two payload bays (fore and aft) capable of hosting up to 24 U (12 U x 2) worth of instruments and experiments developed by Earth-based lunar explorers, or samples and other equipment, depending on the mission type. They will be either accommodated on LUVMI-X’s standardized payload bay (based on CubeSat-like volumes), or custom interfaces or containers.
The rover is currently being designed and prototyped along with its state-of-the-art payload suite. The LUVMI-X team has been using Virtual Reality (VR) to assess and communicate across the team the concepts of operations of the rover, and at the same time to engage the public and our explorers of the future, in the field of space exploration.
Space Applications Services prepared a sneak peek into the VR tool, showcasing the mobility and payload capabilities of the rover.
The LUVMI-X project is co-funded by the European Commission through its Horizon 2020 programme under grant agreement #822018