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Rhizome 2.0: Scaling-up Capability of Human-Robot Interaction Supported Approaches for Robotically 3D-printing Extraterrestrial Habitats

Team: Henriette Bier, Arwin Hidding, Giuseppe Calabrese, Atousa Aslaminezhad, Vera Laszlo, and MSc students (RB lab); Luka Peternel (CoR lab).
Collaborators/ Partners: Advenit Makaya (ESA) and Volker Ruitinga (Vertico); Rene Rietmeijer (Dutch Growth Factory), Anna Metke (Exolith), and Jessica Cobb (Mission Control).

Rhizome2.jpg Fig. 1: Rhizome 1.0


Proposed research aims to develop a materially, structurally, and environmentally optimised 3D printed structure by means of Robot-Robot and Human-Robot Interaction (R/HRI) supported Design-to-Robotic-Production-Assembly and Operation (D2RPA&O). It will demonstrate the scalability of the concept developed in the ESA funded Rhizome study (Fig. 1) with the aim to (a) understand whether it is applicable to large ‘real life’ construction scale and (b) outline the associated challenges and proposed solutions. It advances knowledge and technology developed so far at Technical University Delft (TUD) in collaboration with industrial partner, Vertico, for the construction of a habitat in an empty lava tube on Mars. While the subsurface habitat has natural protection from radiation and profits from lesser temperature fluctuations its construction relies on a swarm of autonomous mobile robots equipped with various end-effectors. They are deployed to mine for materials used to 3D print building components that are assembled using R/HRI supported D2RP&A methods. The assembled structure hosts a Life Support System (LLS), which relies on D2RO methods. Both, habitat construction and inhabitation are powered by an energy system combining solar- and kite-power. The ultimate goal has been to develop an autarkic HRI supported D2RPA&O system employing In-situ Resource Utilisation (ISRU) for building subsurface habitats.

Additional info: https://ideas.esa.int/servlet/hype/IMT?userAction=Browse&templateName=&documentId=941256c1dd12f6338d97081aabbd148f