I am searching for an overview of autonomous space robots integrating motion planning capabilities, such as a list of robots (past and present).

So far, I have found these robots:

  • Mars exploration rover Spirit
  • Mars exploration rover Opportunity
  • Mars exploration rover Curiosity

I excluded the Huygens probe, the ETS-VII satellite and the Sojourner rover, as their capabilities are unclear to me. This paper claims the Sojourner rover "exhibited only rudimentary autonomy" and had "unused capability for autonomously avoiding obstacles in its path." The difficulty is in finding information detailed enough to determine whether these robots were truly autonomous.

  • $\begingroup$ @JanDoggen I think the OP is being careful to defer to the definition which is implied within a reasonable description from reliable sources, and may not be ready or willing to pre-define it before actually reading the descriptions first. However you will notice that the word "autonomous" was already linked to the Wikipedia article on "Autonomous robot", so the OP has made an attempt. I think you are being a little snippity demanding a new user to SXSE and stackexchange altogether to draw the line as a prerequisite to trying to understand what autonomy means in the context of spacecraft. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 11 '16 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ @JanDoggen I have seen many examples of first questions by new users here in SXSE being coached and improvements suggested with nice, welcoming, helpful comments. I think this is one of the key, valuable qualities of this SE which sets it apart from running the stackoverflow gauntlet. There is no need to reflesively reach for the close button without helping a new user improve an interesting question first. Closing is an essential tool, but here where the question rate is not frantic, there's no need for "close first, ask questions later". $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 11 '16 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Tellus Welcome to Stackexchange! I think your question is very interesting and could receive some interesting answers. I think the concern is that autonomy can have a wide range of interpretations. They certainly do a lot of "internal housekeeping" and generally do not make "mission decisions", and you might be asking about something in-between the two. Why don't you look through what you've read so far (and linked) and come up with a short definition of what would be considered autonomous for your question. If you find a sentence you like, then quote it here and give a link to it. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 11 '16 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Tellus you can see that I've asked What are the future prospects for spacecraft autonomy - and is it even a good idea? and so far I haven't received an answer. Your question is an excellent compliment to it because you're asking about autonomous capabilities of existing spacecraft. In stackexchange it's important to try to narrowly define your questions so that they can be clearly answered. If it's not clear what you mean by "autonomous operation capabilities?" then it's hard to give the kind of good clear answer that are expected here. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Dec 11 '16 at 9:21

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