The Helelani analog rover inside its new home, “Moku” or Mobile Operations Kommand Unit.

The PISCES planetary analog rover Helelani got an upgrade to its communication systems last month with the help of an undergrad student, Blue Planet Foundation, Digital Evolution and NELHA. The upgrades will integrate the rover’s operation with a new communications link at a planetary analog site within the Hawaiʻi Ocean Science and Technology Park at NELHA.

Undergrad student Joel Paye (left) and Andrew Cox of Digital Evolution test the rover comm link system at NELHA’s HOST Park in Kailua-Kona.

In addition to the upgrades, Helelani also has a new trailer that doubles as a command center. MOKU, or Mobile Operations Kommand Unit, enables the operation of Helelani at various testing sites—either on location or remotely from anywhere in the world. The system supports the Hawaiʻi Analog for Lunar Operations (H4LO) program launched by PISCES this month.

The upgrades were completed in collaboration with Joel Paye, an intern and University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student, Paul Ponthieux of Blue Planet Foundation, Andrew Cox of Digital Evolution, and Keith Olson of NELHA.