Press Release


at 1/6 gravity

Moonwalk Marseilles pool simulations as preparation for the upcoming sear trials, photo: Alexis Rosenfeld, 2016

MOONWALK - Simulation - subsea Marseilles

Final test period for project MOONWALK – subsea Simulations, Marseilles
Moon simulations in Marseilles are underway. Since Monday the MOONWALK team has conducted pool tests; troubleshooting subsystems to ensure success for the subsea tests starting Monday. Conducted off-shore, in Marseilles bay, the subsea simulations pose a more volatile and challenging environment to demonstrate MOONWALK systems, technologies and procedures. 
Subsea Marseilles is the second simulation campaign related to the MOONWALK project. Simulations in Rio Tinto were completed in April. 
Testing MOONWALK systems, technologies and procedures in BOTH Rio Tinto and Marseilles is important because each environment shares certain characteristics particular to extra-terrestrial planetary bodies, such as Mars or Moon.

Together with pool tests that include all of the components above, the simulations provide important comparative data about technological components, astronaut/robot scenarios, analog simulations and lessons learned for actual space operations. 
MOONWALK Simulation campaigns, Astronaut-Rover interaction through gesture control
(left: Rio Tinto, photo: Bruno Stubenrauch, 2016; right: Marseilles pool tests, photo: COMEX, 2016)
The tests in Rio Tinto during April simulated Mars conditions. Scenarios using two team structures (astronaut-astronaut and astronaut-robot) focussed on geological field exploration, exobiology and time delay in communications. 
Complimentarily, tests in Marseilles utilize an underwater site which resembles a lunar environment both in natural terrain and reduced gravity conditions.
MOONWALK Marseilles Pool Tests, Astronaut-Tool interaction, photo: Comex, 2016
In both simulations, the following MOONWALK components are tested:
  • EVA suit - “Gandolfi-2” - designed for both (wet and dry) environments
  • Manual tools for EVA - Astronaut Rescue Tool, Astronaut Tether Control, Pantograph Sampling Tool, Foldable pick-up Claw
  • Small assistant-robot (scout rover) - “YEMO” - can assist the astronaut in EVA
  • Man Machine Interface (MMI) - is a robot control sub-system (gesture control) and a data interface integrated in the EVA suit (tablet).
  • Bio-Monitoring - the Astronaut’s stress levels will be monitored through observing their heart-beat. Also, sensors will be used to determine if the astronaut is getting into a potentially dangerous position, for instance if they could fall over in the reduced gravity environment.
  • EVA Information System - prototype computer installed on the EVA suit, allowing an Astronaut to visualize procedures, and Mission Control to monitor their progress. It permits exchanging voice, text, live video, annotated imagery, telemetry, and operate the Robot.
  • Mission Control Centre - all communications and bio-feedback data go to MOONWALK Mission Control Centre near Brussels (in subsea simulations information is simultaneously transmitted locally to the Minibex boat)
Pool tests this week were initiated to test individual subsystems in the reduced gravity environment and rehearsing the scenarios to be conducted subsea.
Sea Simulations next week will begin on Monday. The MOONWALK teams will set-up workplaces on the COMEX Minibex boat and there will be a Sea Operations briefing held. Tuesday afternoon, following the safety procedure test scheduled in the morning and the installation of material underwater, project MOONWALK will begin its final demonstration campaign of project MOONWALK. Astronaut to Robot scenarios will be conducted for two days and on Thursday, the final day of subsea simulation, Astronaut to Astronaut scenarios will be carried forth as a comparison scenario.
External research experiments

ADAPA 360 - 360-Degree VR Video Camera System for Space Suit and Helmet
Team: Ali Zareiee, ADAPA, Norway
Lunar Lander Pivot Beam Support System
(Astronaut and Rover Construct a Tool Shed Together)
Team: Aedel Aerospace Unipessoal, Portugal
SCALE: Shared Cognitive Architecture for Long-term Exploration
Team: Leslie DeChurch (Georgia Tech), Noshir Contractor (Northwestern), Jeff Johnson (U. of Florida); United States (NASA Behavioral Health & Performance)

Artist Astronaut Performance
Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, Simulation Astronaut and Professional Diver researching human performance and interactions of the Artist-Astronaut

On Wednesday 8. June 2016, the undersea diver will plant the new Moon flag, as part of our Children Competition, at the seafloor, designed by 12-year old, Leo Benjamin from Estonia. 
At the end of August, a summative evaluation of project MOONWALK will be delivered examining the project outcomes, including a goal-based evaluation.
MOONWALK is an exciting step further into the future of human space exploration, where humankind pairs with technology to transcend known boundaries.


Project Coordinator

Technical Manager

German Centre for Artificial Intelligence  (DFKI) Bremen, Germany
Marseilles, France
Airbus Group
Newport, UK
LIQUIFER Systems Group
Vienna, Austria
Space Applications Services
Zaventem, Belgium
NTNU Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space
Trondheim, Norway
Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA) - Centro de Astrobiological (INTA-CSIC)
Madrid, Spain

Dr. Thomas Vögele
DFKI, Bremen, Germany

Dr. Peter Weiss
COMEX, France

Dr. Barbara Imhof
LIQUIFER Systems Group, Vienna, Austria
+43 1 218 85 05

Project MOONWALK, is a 3-year cooperative Research & Development project funded by the European Commission under the Space theme of the 7th Framework Programme and aims to compare the performance of different compositions of astronaut-robot teams over multiple tasks and operational scenarios, in two Analogue environments.
Copyright © 2016 LIQUIFER Systems Group GmbH, All rights reserved.

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