Project Info

Autonomous Lunar Landing Site Preparation – Integration & Testing

Andrew Petruska
Christopher Dreyer

Project Goals and Description:

Mines has been awarded a $2M contract from NASA to develop the technology necessary to prepare a landing site on the moon to support the Artemis mission to return astronauts to the surface of the moon. This project is a collaboration between Mines (ME, CS, Mining, Space Resources), Missouri S&T, Bechtel, and Lunar Outpost. At this point in the project we have developed a design concept for the robotic system, have tested subsystems, and are beginning to integrate the full system for functional testing.  Over the summer, a large test bed will be constructed for our 40ft x 40ft preparation area.  In the fall and spring semesters of 2023-4, full system testing will begin and will lead to revision in the mechanical design and computer algorithms. Student support of the test design, performance assessments, iteration on the mechanical and software components is available.
The students will join a 10+ person core team. They will contribute to the multi-institution group-wide meetings as well as smaller focused challenge teams. In these challenge teams, they will be pared with a professor and graduate student as well as other undergraduates to achieve a specific goal, such as tuning the controls algorithms or implementing visual rock detection for navigation and planning.  These small teams will form and disband as the challenges are overcome, creating a dynamic and agile design environment.

More Information:

Grand Challenge: Not applicable.

Primary Contacts:

Andrew Petruska, | Chris Dreyer,

Student Preparation


Ability to work as a independent contributor to a larger team. Core capabilities in one or more of the following: 3D Modeling, Fabrication, Mechatronics, Programming (c++,Python), ROS, Linux, Electrical Power, Structural Engineering, Granular Media Transport & Compaction.




Students will learn about functioning as an engineer/scientist in an industry-relevant way. They will learn how to be accountable to deliverables that are related but not directly aligned to their core capabilities and how to work on diverse teams. The techniques and skills they will learn will be varied and broad based on the challenges that arise during the testing.


Students will be mentored directly by a graduate student and professor for the individual contributions. Weekly group meetings will be held where they will receive feedback on their tasks and have the opportunity to raise concerns and questions to get feedback from the group. As necessary one-on-one meetings will be arranged to provide specific feedback or overcome significant hurdles.

Preferred Student Status

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