ESA launches latest program to test twin robotic rovers for Moon mission

The European Space Agency will conduct a new program that will test the collaborative functions of two lunar robotic rovers

The European Space Agency (ESA) will launch a new project aimed at testing how well two robotic rovers work with one another. The project will be conducted in preparation for future missions to the Moon.

The upcoming project will be carried out through a collaborative effort between ESA's Technology Development Element program and Comex, a tech company based in France. Dubbed as Trailer, the project will involve testing the teamwork of two robotic rovers.

Testing Robots With Trailer

Trailer Program
ESA's Technology Development Element (TDE) has signed a contract on the development of the TRAILER robotic system with COMEX, France. TRAILER is a two-year project to test a novel architecture of robotic cooperation based on a tandem of two rovers for lunar surface exploration missions. ESA

The Trailer program was conceptualized by ESA and Comex as the space agency prepares to work with NASA in exploring the Moon. Through the new program, researchers from the ESA will develop a system that will allow humans to control robots stationed on the Moon.

The system will be designed to work from Earth or from an orbiting station such as the Lunar Gateway, which will be developed under NASA's Artemis program. For the Trailer program, the ESA aims to determine how well two remote-controlled robots will work together as they carry out various tasks on the lunar surface such as collecting samples and exploring new regions.

Tractor And Wain

xEMU Suit
NASA's new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit spacesuit NASA

The two rovers that will be used under the Trailer program are known as Tractor and Wain. According to the ESA, each rover has unique sets of features and capabilities that will enable them to effectively carry out their tasks.

For instance, Tractor is designed for optimum locomotion and navigation in order to allow it to easily traverse the lunar surface. Wain, on the other hand, is equipped with the necessary instruments to carry out sample collection and analysis.

As noted by the ESA, the purpose of Trailer and its rovers is to develop an efficient system that will enable humans to effectively control robots on the Moon. This will serve as a valuable asset in the agency's plan to establish a human settlement outside Earth. "Robotic explorers are vital for searching for elements that could support a human presence on these extraterrestrial surfaces," the agency stated. "These scouts will be operated either from Earth or from a base in lunar orbit and they will need to perform certain tasks in autonomy."

Related topics : Nasa