Wireless sensor networks for planetary exploration: Experimental assessment of communication and deployment

D. Sanz, A. Barrientos, M. Garzón, C. Rossi, M. Mura, D. Puccinelli, A. Puiatti, M. Graziano, A. Medina, L. Mollinedo, C. De Negueruela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Planetary surface exploration is an appealing application of wireless sensor networks that has been investigated in recent years by the space community, including the European Space Agency. The idea is to deploy a number of self-organizing sensor nodes forming a wireless networked architecture to provide a distributed instrument for the study and exploration of a planetary body. To explore this concept, ESA has funded the research project RF Wireless for Planetary Exploration (RF-WIPE), carried out by GMV, SUPSI and UPM. The purpose of RF-WIPE was to simulate and prototype a wireless sensor network in order to assess the potential and limitations of the technology for the purposes of planetary exploration. In this paper, we illustrate the results of the work carried out within the context of RF-WIPE. Two test case scenarios have been investigated: a distributed sensor network-based instrument and networked planetary surface exploration. Each scenario is related to a particular network configuration. For such configurations, energy models and communication protocols have been developed, simulated, and validated both on laboratory tests and with outdoor field tests. Additionally, node deployment was investigated, and a deployment system based on a mobile robotics platform has been designed and tested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1046
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Automatic nodes deployment
  • Planetary exploration
  • Wireless sensor networks

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