Guidance, Navigation and Control of Asteroid Mobile Imager and Geologic Observer (AMIGO)

Greg Wilburn, Himangshu Kalita, Aman Chandra, Stephen Schwartz, Erik Asphaug, Jekan Thangavelautham

The science and origins of asteroids is deemed high priority in the Planetary Science Decadal Survey. Major scientific goals for the study of planetesimals are to decipher geological processes in SSSBs not determinable from investigation via in-situ experimentation, and to understand how planetesimals contribute to the formation of planets. Ground based observations are not sufficient to examine SSSBs, as they are only able to measure what is on the surface of the body; however, in-situ analysis allows for further, close up investigation as to the surface characteristics and the inner composure of the body. To this end, the Asteroid Mobile Imager and Geologic Observer (AMIGO) an autonomous semi-inflatable robot will operate in a swarm to efficiently characterize the surface of an asteroid. The stowed package is 10x10x10 cm (equivalent to a 1U CubeSat) that deploys an inflatable sphere of ~1m in diameter. Three mobility modes are identified and designed: ballistic hopping, rotation during hops, and up-righting maneuvers. Ballistic hops provide the AMIGO robot the ability to explore a larger portion of the asteroid's surface to sample a larger area than a stationary lander. Rotation during the hop entails attitude control of the robot, utilizing propulsion and reaction wheel actuation. In the event of the robot tipping or not landing up-right, a combination of thrusters and reaction wheels will correct the robot's attitude. The AMIGO propulsion system utilizes sublimate-based micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) technology as a means of lightweight, low-thrust ballistic hopping and coarse attitude control. Each deployed AMIGO will hop across the surface of the asteroid multiple times.

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