Moonwalkers: Evolving Robots for Locomotion in a Moon-like Environment

Koen Van Der Pool, A. E. Eiben

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


Robots are arguably essential for space research in the future, but designing and producing robots for unknown environments represents a grand challenge. The field of Evolutionary Robotics offers a solution by applying the principles of natural evolution to robot design. In this paper, we consider a Moon-like environment and investigate the joint evolution of morphologies (bodies) and controllers (brains) when fitness is determined by the ability to locomote. In particular, we are interested in the evolved morphologies and compare the emerging 'life forms' in a Moonlike environment to those evolved under Earth-like conditions. To model the Moon we change two environmental properties of our baseline environment that represents the Earth: gravity is set to a low value and the flat terrain is replaced by the NASA model of the Moon landing site of the Apollo 14. The results show that changing only one of these does not lead to different evolved robot morphologies, but changing both does. Our evolved Moonwalkers are usually bigger, have fewer limbs and a less space filling shape than the robots evolved on Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence (SSCI)
Subtitle of host publication[Proceedings]
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781728190488
ISBN (Print)9781728190495
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022
Event2021 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, SSCI 2021 - Orlando, United States
Duration: 5 Dec 20217 Dec 2021


Conference2021 IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence, SSCI 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 IEEE.


  • Embodied intelligence
  • Evolutionary robotics
  • Evolvable morphologies
  • Morphological intelligence


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