The ESA Technical Center decided to bring some Halloween spirit. A specially shaded GRALS simulator that simulates the darkness of space is used to test navigation algorithms based on vision. The system is being developed for the proposed asteroid mission (two asteroids) Hera.
The camera is mounted on the lever of a robotic arm moving along a 33-meter track and is approaching a pair of 3D-printed asteroid models. Hera - the first mission to explore the binary system of asteroids. It uses direct observation algorithms to automatically map surface features to set up its own location in space and plan a route.
To simulate space, the camera remains in the dark during the testing period. Only one light source is left - imitation of the Sun. GRALS are used to simulate a close approach to complex targets, such as asteroids or drifting satellites.