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Proposed Standards and Tools for Risk Analysis and Allocation of Robotic Systems to Enhance Crew Safety during Planetary Surface Exploration
ISSN: 1946-3855, e-ISSN: 1946-3901
Published July 12, 2009 by SAE International in United States
Citation: Mulugeta, L., Bodkin, D., Chasseigne, R., Demel, M. et al., "Proposed Standards and Tools for Risk Analysis and Allocation of Robotic Systems to Enhance Crew Safety during Planetary Surface Exploration," SAE Int. J. Aerosp. 4(1):476-487, 2011, https://doi.org/10.4271/2009-01-2530.
Several space agencies have announced plans to return humans to the Moon in the near future. The objectives of these missions include using the Moon as a stepping-stone towards crewed missions to Mars, to test advanced technology, and to further exploration of the Moon for scientific research and in-situ resource utilization. To meet these objectives, it will be necessary to establish and operate a lunar base. As a result, a wide variety of tasks that may pose a number of crew health and safety risks will need to be performed on the surface of the Moon. Therefore, to ensure sustainable human presence on the Moon and beyond, it is essential to anticipate potential risks, assess the impact of each risk, and devise mitigation strategies. To address this, a nine-week intensive investigation was performed by an international, interdisciplinary and intercultural team on how to maximize crew safety on the lunar surface through a symbiotic relationship between astronauts and robots.
To identify if and how robotic systems may be employed to enhance safety, it was necessary to establish a standardized risk assessment criteria. Risk assessment criteria used by space agencies and health and safety institutions from around the world were combined and integrated to meet this requirement. In addition, a decision tree was developed to rapidly identify robotic platforms that will enhance crew safety during tasks that require astronaut participation. Using these tools it was possible to appropriately identify the impact of each risk on crew safety in terms of the probability of occurrence (likelihood) and consequence (severity), and generate a list of robotic platforms to improve crew safety. Furthermore, the risk assessment criteria and robotic decision tree are extensible to lunar and Mars exploration missions regardless of mission architecture.