Adaptation of Terrestrial Mountaineering Equipment and Training Methods for Planetary EVA Operations 2004-01-2290
An eventual return to colonize the Moon or the launch of a human exploration mission to Mars will drive the need for developing novel surface Extravehicular Activity (EVA) technologies as well as require new operational and planning techniques. These advances are necessary to enable safe EVA access to the planetary surface locales that are most likely to yield exciting scientific knowledge, such as in the sedimentary deposit regions recently found on Mars or within and around large craters formed from asteroid collisions; as these represent the areas thought most likely to contain fossilized evidence of life or geological information pertaining to the origins and age of the planets. These sites, while rich in potential for scientific discovery, also introduce challenging terrain for exploration by surface EVA teams. In order to gain access to these areas, EVA systems will be needed to assist astronauts in negotiation of high-angle slopes and vertical terrain in a safe and efficient manner. In addition, unique evacuation methods need to be considered for rescue operations should an accident occur during an excursion. Mountaineering and mountain rescue techniques established for use on Earth can serve as a basis for developing equipment appropriately modified for these novel (Lunar or Martian) terrains, as well as be useful for establishing effective simulation and training techniques. Systems integration and risk management methodologies also need to be incorporated for developing a concept of operations that will minimize risk during the EVA. This paper outlines a set of guidelines and provides suggestions for establishing hardware and training requirements for nominal and contingency planetary surface EVA operations, including necessary adaptations uniquely related to space suit capabilities and constraints.