Zebro meets lunar conditions… in Hawaii! 

1 Februari 2020 | Silvio Topper

The Zebro just came back from a visit to ESA in Hawaii, but what was it doing there?

The answer is that Hawaii offers unique conditions to recreate an extra-terrestrial environment for the locomotion tests of the Zebro. The model sent was a terrestrial Zebro, running the same walking algorithm as the Lunar Zebro, which got to spend almost a month there. The rough terrain was perfect for pushing its skills to their fullest. Requiring it to use its c-shaped legs in smart and efficient ways to climb over rocks bigger than itself, it tried to stop the Zebro but proved to not be a decent opponent for the rover.

Saviër Atya (left) en Roderick Tapia Barroso (right) during the RVC, Rover Video Conference from the Lunar Zebro Mission Control Centre. 


Apart from that, long-distance communication was also tested with the Zebro being remotely controlled by Lunar Zebro members from a mission control room set up in Delft by the team, exceptionally for this event. This turned out to be more of a challenge than expected. Saviër Atya, one of the present members, quotes: ‘Suddenly we were cluelessly looking at a blue screen that later turned out to be the sky as the Zebro was inclined upwards.’

The Zebro got invited to the HI-SEAS (Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) by ESA’s EuroMoonMars project and got taken care of by Robert Heemskerk, an “Astronaut” who was there for the EMMIHS-III mission. Other interplanetary rovers were also present on this mission.

The results of this mission gave us a lot of insight into Zebro’s walking capabilities, which is helping us even further to improve it. Apart from that, we were also amazed by the rover autonomously walking into present Lava Tubes to explore them, almost as if he can’t wait to explore Lunar caves.

Robert Heemskerk during the EMMIHS-III Mission, performing on the spot debugging.  

For Lunar Zebro Contact:

A: Mekelweg 4, 2628CD, Delft
E: [email protected]
W: zebro.space