Conference paper

Ad-hoc wireless sensor networks for exploration of solar-system bodies

In this work, we evaluate the exploration of the solar system by ad-hoc wireless sensor networks (WSN), i.e. networks where all nodes (either moving or stationary) can both provide and relay data. The two aspects of self-organization and localization are the major challenges to overcome to achieve a reliable network for a variety of missions. We point out the diversity of environmental and operational constrains that would have to face WSN used for space exploration. The first group of scenarios we evaluated concerns nodes moving relative to each other either above or on the surface of a solar system object. These scenarios enable collecting data simultaneously over a large surface. The second group of scenarios we considered concerns the use of nodes fixed in or on the ground of an asteroid or planet. We considered both physical and chemical sensing of the atmosphere, surface ground and soil as candidates for such networks. Emerging highly integrated technologies are investigated in order to make a distinction between the elements that can be common for a variety of missions and the others that are specific to an exploration scenario. Finally, we compare the specific requirements of WSN for space exploration with those of WSN designed for terrestrial applications.

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