3D Robotics

3689492254?profile=originalFrom famed venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson:

A quad ‘copter from Chris Anderson, with Go-Pro underbody gimbal and a sensor array for landing that is so very clever in the repurposing of consumer hardware to replace expensive and heavy radar units like they used on Apollo. A great way to test the control algorithms for automated landing. Like Apollo, the landing would occur at lunar daybreak (maximum shadows for surface feature contrast, and a 14 day window of solar flux).

The tech challenge I am working on is how to survive the 14 day lunar night at -150°C. Batteries freeze rather destructively. The only Apollo instruments to survive the night had nuclear batteries (like Curiosity). I am thinking Solar Junction solar cells, Everspin rad-hard/soft-error-immune MRAM, and a super cap or maybe LiIon electrolyte from eSionic which might survive the temp cycling. Or perhaps a Solicore solid electrolyte from ORNL. Has anyone tested the other elements (processor, PCB interconnect) through those extreme temp cycles?

Part of a very fun update tour of Moon Express at NASA Ames today.

It's simulating something similar to this:


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  • I wonder if (MIT) Prof. Sadoway's liquid metal battery would be a potential solution for the long term power storage needs Vs nuclear batteries.

  • You use the same tricks as when you solved the problem of using propellers for lift on the moon! ;)

  • So how exactly do you use sonar on the moon? ;)

  • Distributor

    that's that's what we mean!


  • Chris,

    Can you tell us a bit more about the sensor array? Just curious if it's the MaxSonar or Optical flow, both or multiple of each? Cool to think I have pretty much the same thing before NASA! Good going to everyone at DIYDrones!

  • Chris,

    This is exactly the sort of thing that I mentioned in our earlier correspondence.  While your products are looked at as the desired end result for hobbists, they are at the same time providing great tools for the professionals, streamlining the R&D process, breaking down barriers to innovation.


  • We're extremely happy with the DIY ArduCopter at Moon Express ... it's turned out to be a fantastic GNC rapid development platform for our spacecraft engineers... we look forward to sharing/collaborating as we reach for the Moon!

  • Excellent and I'll be testing auto land over the xmas break. That will be fun :)

  • 3D Robotics
    That is pretty awesome! and yeah for auto land on 2.9 they won't need any more "testing".
  • Are they using our code, or just the hardware?

    If they are using the code, and testing automated landing, wait till they try 2.9!

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