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

Year: 2023-27
Project leader: Henriette Bier
Project team: Henriette Bier, Arwin Hidding, Vera Laszlo (RB lab); Luka Peternel (CoR lab)
Supervisors / Collaborators / Partners:  Kees Kaan (TU Delft); Advenit Makaya (ESA) and Volker Ruitinga (Vertico); Rene Rietmeijer (Dutch Growth Factory), Anna Metke (Space Resource Technologies), and Jessica Cobb (Mission Control)
Funding: 300K

Fig. 1: Rhizome 1.0

The ESA and Vertico co-funded project, Rhizome 2.0, focuses on the development of 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 demonstrates 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