Science.gov

Sample records for rover reactors

  1. Design Concept for a Nuclear Reactor-Powered Mars Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elliott, John O.; Lipinski, Ronald J.; Poston, David I.

    2003-01-01

    A study was recently carried out by a team from JPL and the DOE to investigate the utility of a DOE-developed 3 kWe surface fission power system for Mars missions. The team was originally tasked to perform a study to evaluate the usefulness and feasibility of incorporation of such a power system into a landed mission. In the course of the study it became clear that the application of such a power system was enabling to a wide variety of potential missions. Of these, two missions were developed, one for a stationary lander and one for a reactor-powered rover. This paper discusses the design of the rover mission, which was developed around the concept of incorporating the fission power system directly into a large rover chassis to provide high power, long range traverse capability. The rover design is based on a minimum extrapolation of technology, and adapts existing concepts developed at JPL for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, lander and EDL systems. The small size of the reactor allowed its incorporation directly into an existing large MSL rover chassis design, allowing direct use of MSL aeroshell and pallet lander elements, beefed up to support the significantly greater mass involved in the nuclear power system and its associated shielding. This paper describes the unique design challenges encountered in the development of this mission architecture and incorporation of the fission power system in the rover, and presents a detailed description of the final design of this innovative concept for providing long range, long duration mobility on Mars.

  2. Shelding analysis for a manned Mars rover powered by an Sp-100 type reactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    1991-01-01

    Shield design is one of the most crucial tasks in the integration of a nuclear reactor power system to a manned Mars rover. A multilayered W and LiH shield is found to minimize the shield mass and satisfy the dose rate limit of 30 rem/y to the rover crew. The effect on dose rate of tungsten layers thicknesses and position within the lithium hydride shields is investigated. Due to the large cross section for the W (n,γ) reaction, secondary gammas become a significant radiation source. The man-rated shield mass for the Mars rover vehicle is correlated to the reactor thermal power. The correlation fits to within 9% of the calculated shield mass and results in an uncertainty of <4% in the overall rover mass. The shield mass varied from 8600 kg to 20580 kg for a reactor thermal power of 100 to 1000 kWt, respectively.

  3. Shielding analysis for a manned Mars rover powered by an SP-100 type reactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    Shield design is one of the most crucial tasks in the integration of a nuclear reactor power system to a manned Mars rover. A multilayered W and LiH shield is found to minimize the shield mass and satisfy the dose rate limit of 30 rem/y to the rover crew. The effect on dose rate of tungsten layers thicknesses and position within the lithium hydride shields is investigated. Due to the large cross section for the W (n,gamma) reaction, secondary gammas become a significant radiation source. The man-rated shield mass for the Mars rover vehicle is correlated to the reactor thermal power. The correlation fits to within 9 percent of the calculated shield mass and results in an uncertainty of below 4 percent in the overall rover mass. The shield mass varied from 8600 kg to 20580 kg for a reactor thermal power of 100 to 1000 kW(t), respectively.

  4. Shielding analysis for a manned Mars rover powered by an SP-100 type reactor

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    1991-01-01

    Shield design is one of the most crucial tasks in the integration of a nuclear reactor power system to a manned Mars rover. A multilayered W and LiH shield is found to minimize the shield mass and satisfy the dose rate limit of 30 rem/y to the rover crew. The effect on dose rate of tungsten layers thicknesses and position within the lithium hydride shields is investigated. Due to the large cross section for the W (n,gamma) reaction, secondary gammas become a significant radiation source. The man-rated shield mass for the Mars rover vehicle is correlated to the reactor thermal power. The correlation fits to within 9 percent of the calculated shield mass and results in an uncertainty of below 4 percent in the overall rover mass. The shield mass varied from 8600 kg to 20580 kg for a reactor thermal power of 100 to 1000 kW(t), respectively.

  5. Design Concept for a Nuclear Reactor-Powered Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elliott, John; Poston, Dave; Lipinski, Ron

    2007-01-01

    A report presents a design concept for an instrumented robotic vehicle (rover) to be used on a future mission of exploration of the planet Mars. The design incorporates a nuclear fission power system to provide long range, long life, and high power capabilities unachievable through the use of alternative solar or radioisotope power systems. The concept described in the report draws on previous rover designs developed for the 2009 Mars Science laboratory (MSL) mission to minimize the need for new technology developments.

  6. Manned mars rover powered by a nuclear reactor; Radiation shield analysis

    SciTech Connect

    Morley, N.J.; El-Genk, M. . Dept. of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering)

    1992-08-01

    This paper discusses a key element in the conceptual design of a nuclear reactor power system for a manned Mars rover is the analysis, design, and integration of the radiation shield. A shield analysis is carried out to characterize the thickness and spacing of shield layers to provide the minimum mass configuration that meets a dose rate requirement of 300 mSv/yr. The analysis utilizes a two-dimensional transport code to model the reactor and to provide a source term that is subsequently used to calculate dose rates as a function of reactor power level and shield layer thickness. Results show that a multilayered tungsten and lithium hydride (LiH) shield would satisfy the dose rate limit of 300 mSv/yr (30 rem/yr) to the rover crew. The position of two tungsten and LiH layers is varied to minimize secondary gamma-ray production and to optimize shield mass.

  7. Estimates of power requirements for a Manned Mars Rover powered by a nuclear reactor

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Cataldo, Robert; Bloomfield, Harvey

    1991-01-01

    This paper assesses the power requirement for a Manned Mars Rover vehicle. Auxiliary power needs are fulfilled using a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell system, while the primary power needs are meet using an SP-100 type reactor. The primary electric power needs, which include 30-kW(e) net user power, depend on the reactor thermal power and the efficiency of the power conversion system. Results show that an SP-100 type reactor coupled to a Free Piston Stirling Engine yields the lowest total vehicle mass and lowest specific mass for the power system. The second lowest mass was for a SP-100 reactor coupled to a Closed Brayton Cycle using He/Xe as the working fluid. The specific mass of the nuclear reactor power system, including a man-rated radiation shield, ranged from 150-kg/kW(e) to 190-kg/KW(e) and the total mass of the Rover vehicle varied depend upon the cruising speed.

  8. Estimates of power requirements for a Manned Mars Rover powered by a nuclear reactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Cataldo, Robert; Bloomfield, Harvey

    This paper assesses the power requirement for a Manned Mars Rover vehicle. Auxiliary power needs are fulfilled using a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell system, while the primary power needs are meet using an SP-100 type reactor. The primary electric power needs, which include 30-kW(e) net user power, depend on the reactor thermal power and the efficiency of the power conversion system. Results show that an SP-100 type reactor coupled to a Free Piston Stirling Engine yields the lowest total vehicle mass and lowest specific mass for the power system. The second lowest mass was for a SP-100 reactor coupled to a Closed Brayton Cycle using He/Xe as the working fluid. The specific mass of the nuclear reactor power system, including a man-rated radiation shield, ranged from 150-kg/kW(e) to 190-kg/KW(e) and the total mass of the Rover vehicle varied depend upon the cruising speed.

  9. Estimates of power requirements for a manned Mars rover powered by a nuclear reactor

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Cataldo, Robert; Bloomfield, Harvey

    1991-01-01

    This paper assesses the power requirement for a Manned Mars Rover vehicle. Auxiliary power needs are fulfilled using a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell system, while the primary power needs are met using an SP-100 type reactor. The primary electric power needs, which include 30-kWe net user power, depend on the reactor thermal power and the efficiency of the power conversion system. Results show that an SP-100 type reactor coupled to a Free Piston Stirling Engine (FPSE) yields the lowest total vehicle mass and lowest specific mass for the power system. The second lowest mass was for a SP-100 reactor coupled to a Closed Brayton Cycle (CBC) using He/Xe as the working fluid. The specific mass of the nuclear reactor power systrem, including a man-rated radiation shield, ranged from 150-kg/kWe to 190-kg/kWe and the total mass of the Rover vehicle varied depend upon the cruising speed.

  10. Rover tracks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Tracks made by the Sojourner rover are visible in this image, taken by one of the cameras aboard Sojourner on Sol 3. The tracks represent the rover maneuvering towards the rock dubbed 'Barnacle Bill.' The rover, having exited the lander via the rear ramp, first traveled towards the right portion of the image, and then moved forward towards the left where Barnacle Bill sits. The fact that the rover was making defined tracks indicates that the soil is made up of particles on a micron scale.

    Mars Pathfinder was developed and managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  11. Tumbleweed Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Behar, Alberto; Jones, Jack; Carsey, Frank; Matthews, Jaret

    2005-01-01

    Tumbleweed rovers, now undergoing development, are lightweight, inflatable, approximately spherical exploratory robotic vehicles designed to roll across terrain, using only wind for propulsion. Tumbleweed rovers share many features with beach-ball rovers, which were discussed in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles. Conceived for use in exploring remote planets, tumbleweed rovers could also be used for exploring relatively inaccessible terrain on Earth. A fully developed tumbleweed rover would consist of an instrumentation package suspended in an inflated twolayer (nylon/polypropylene) ball. The total mass of the rover would be of the order of 10 kg, the diameter of the ball when inflated would be 2 meters, and the minimum wind speed needed for propulsion would be about 5 m/s. The instrumentation package would contain a battery power supply, sensors, a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver, and a radio transmitter that would send the sensor readings and the GPS position and time readings to a monitoring station via a satellite communication system. Depending on the specific exploratory mission, the sensors could include a thermometer, a barometer, a magnetometer (for studying the terrestrial magnetic field and/or detecting buried meteorites), a subsurface radar system (for measuring ice thickness and/or detecting buried meteorites), and/or one or two diametrally opposed cameras that would take the part of sending two side-looking images out. In the planned Antarctic field test, a prototype tumbleweed rover was released at a location near the South Pole. Using the global Iridium satellite network to send information about its position, the rover transmitted temperature, pressure, humidity, and light intensity data to NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The rover reached speeds of 30 km per hour over the Antarctic ice cap, and traveled at an average speed of about 6 km per hour. The test was designed to confirm the rover s long-term durability in an extremely

  12. FIDO Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    The Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover is being used in ongoing NASA field tests to simulate driving conditions on Mars. FIDO is at a geologically interesting site in central Nevada while it is controlled from the mission control room at JPL's Planetary Robotics Laboratory in Pasadena. FIDO uses a robot arm to manipulate science instruments and it has a new mini-corer or drill to extract and cache rock samples. Several camera systems onboard allow the rover to collect science and navigation images by remote-control. The rover is about the size of a coffee table and weighs as much as a St. Bernard, about 70 kilograms (150 pounds). It is approximately 85 centimeters (about 33 inches) wide, 105 centimeters (41 inches) long, and 55 centimeters (22 inches) high. The rover moves up to 300 meters an hour (less than a mile per hour) over smooth terrain, using its onboard stereo vision systems to detect and avoid obstacles as it travels 'on-the-fly.' During these tests, FIDO is powered by both solar panels that cover the top of the rover and by replaceable, rechargeable batteries.

  13. Conceptual studies on the integration of a nuclear reactor system to a manned rover for Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Morley, Nicholas J.

    1991-01-01

    Multiyear civilian manned missions to explore the surface of Mars are thought by NASA to be possible early in the next century. Expeditions to Mars, as well as permanent bases, are envisioned to require enhanced piloted vehicles to conduct science and exploration activities. Piloted rovers, with 30 kWe user net power (for drilling, sampling and sample analysis, onboard computer and computer instrumentation, vehicle thermal management, and astronaut life support systems) in addition to mobility are being considered. The rover design, for this study, included a four car train type vehicle complete with a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell auxiliary power system (APS). This system was designed to power the primary control vehicle. The APS supplies life support power for four astronauts and a limited degree of mobility allowing the primary control vehicle to limp back to either a permanent base or an accent vehicle. The results showed that the APS described above, with a mass of 667 kg, was sufficient to provide live support power and a top speed of five km/h for 6 hours per day. It was also seen that the factors that had the largest effect on the APS mass were the life support power, the number of astronauts, and the PV cell efficiency. The topics covered include: (1) power system options; (2) rover layout and design; (3) parametric analysis of total mass and power requirements for a manned Mars rover; (4) radiation shield design; and (5) energy conversion systems.

  14. Conceptual studies on the integration of a nuclear reactor system to a manned rover for Mars missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Morley, Nicholas J.

    1991-07-01

    Multiyear civilian manned missions to explore the surface of Mars are thought by NASA to be possible early in the next century. Expeditions to Mars, as well as permanent bases, are envisioned to require enhanced piloted vehicles to conduct science and exploration activities. Piloted rovers, with 30 kWe user net power (for drilling, sampling and sample analysis, onboard computer and computer instrumentation, vehicle thermal management, and astronaut life support systems) in addition to mobility are being considered. The rover design, for this study, included a four car train type vehicle complete with a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell auxiliary power system (APS). This system was designed to power the primary control vehicle. The APS supplies life support power for four astronauts and a limited degree of mobility allowing the primary control vehicle to limp back to either a permanent base or an accent vehicle. The results showed that the APS described above, with a mass of 667 kg, was sufficient to provide live support power and a top speed of five km/h for 6 hours per day. It was also seen that the factors that had the largest effect on the APS mass were the life support power, the number of astronauts, and the PV cell efficiency. The topics covered include: (1) power system options; (2) rover layout and design; (3) parametric analysis of total mass and power requirements for a manned Mars rover; (4) radiation shield design; and (5) energy conversion systems.

  15. Rover Family Photo

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2002-01-01

    Members of the Mars Exploration Rovers Assembly, Test and Launch Operations team gather around Rover 2 and its predecessor, a flight spare of the Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover, named Marie Curie.

  16. The Muses CN Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jones, R.; Wilcox, B. H.; Newell, M. A.; Tarsala, J. A.; Sirota, A. R.; Johnson, M. R.; Thompson, A. D.; Jones, R.

    1998-01-01

    This paper will describe the scope and the state of the JPL MUSES CN rover design. The following topics will be included: 1) rover system description and its intended operations on the surface of the asteroid, 2) rover electrical subsystems and 3) rover mechanical subsystems.

  17. Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cohen, Barbara A.

    2008-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The design of the Rover along with the Athena science payload is also described. Photographs of the Gusev Crater and Meridiani rocks are also shown.

  18. Ring Around the Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This polar projection of an image from the navigation camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows an overhead perspective of the rover. Opportunity's view of the martian horizon can also be seen in this image, taken shortly after the rover touched down at Meridiani Planum, Mars at 9:05 p.m. PST on Saturday, Jan. 24.

  19. Over the Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This image from the navigation camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been projected to show an overhead perspective of the rover. This image was taken shortly after the rover touched down at Meridiani Planum, Mars, at approximately 9:05 p.m. PST on Saturday, Jan. 24.

  20. Rover nuclear rocket engine program: Overview of rover engine tests

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Finseth, J. L.

    1991-01-01

    The results of nuclear rocket development activities from the inception of the ROVER program in 1955 through the termination of activities on January 5, 1973 are summarized. This report discusses the nuclear reactor test configurations (non cold flow) along with the nuclear furnace demonstrated during this time frame. Included in the report are brief descriptions of the propulsion systems, test objectives, accomplishments, technical issues, and relevant test results for the various reactor tests. Additionally, this document is specifically aimed at reporting performance data and their relationship to fuel element development with little or no emphasis on other (important) items.

  1. Mars rover 1988 concepts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pivirotto, Donna Shirley; Penn, Thomas J.; Dias, William C.

    1989-01-01

    Results of FY88 studies of a sample-collecting Mars rover are presented. A variety of rover concepts are discussed which include different technical approaches to rover functions. The performance of rovers with different levels of automation is described and compared to the science requirement for 20 to 40 km to be traversed on the Martian surface and for 100 rock and soil samples to be collected. The analysis shows that a considerable amount of automation in roving and sampling is required to meet this requirement. Additional performance evaluation shows that advanced RTG's producing 500 W and 350 WHr of battery storage are needed to supply the rover.

  2. Conceptual studies on the integration of a nuclear reactor system to a manned rover for Mars missions. Final Report, Feb. 1989 - Nov. 1990

    SciTech Connect

    El-genk, M.S.; Morley, N.J.

    1991-07-01

    Multiyear civilian manned missions to explore the surface of Mars are thought by NASA to be possible early in the next century. Expeditions to Mars, as well as permanent bases, are envisioned to require enhanced piloted vehicles to conduct science and exploration activities. Piloted rovers, with 30 kWe user net power (for drilling, sampling and sample analysis, onboard computer and computer instrumentation, vehicle thermal management, and astronaut life support systems) in addition to mobility are being considered. The rover design, for this study, included a four car train type vehicle complete with a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell auxiliary power system (APS). This system was designed to power the primary control vehicle. The APS supplies life support power for four astronauts and a limited degree of mobility allowing the primary control vehicle to limp back to either a permanent base or an accent vehicle. The results showed that the APS described above, with a mass of 667 kg, was sufficient to provide live support power and a top speed of five km/h for 6 hours per day. It was also seen that the factors that had the largest effect on the APS mass were the life support power, the number of astronauts, and the PV cell efficiency. The topics covered include: (1) power system options; (2) rover layout and design; (3) parametric analysis of total mass and power requirements for a manned Mars rover; (4) radiation shield design; and (5) energy conversion systems.

  3. Site characterization rover missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pivirotto, Donna Shirley

    1990-01-01

    Concepts for site characterization rovers capable of efficient operation on Mars with human supervision from earth are discussed. In particular, attention is given to strategies for developing and evaluating the necessary technology for implementing the roving vehicles and process technologies required for a systematic and integrated implementation of technologically advanced rovers. A vehicle testbed program is also described.

  4. NASA Planetary Rover Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lavery, David; Bedard, Roger J., Jr.

    1991-01-01

    The NASA Planetary Rover Project was initiated in 1989. The emphasis of the work to date has been on development of autonomous navigation technology within the context of a high mobility wheeled vehicle at the JPL and an innovative legged locomotion concept at Carnegie Mellon University. The status and accomplishments of these two efforts are discussed. First, however, background information is given on the three rover types required for the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) whose objective is a manned mission to Mars.

  5. Mars Exploration Rover mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Crisp, Joy A.; Adler, Mark; Matijevic, Jacob R.; Squyres, Steven W.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Kass, David M.

    2003-10-01

    In January 2004 the Mars Exploration Rover mission will land two rovers at two different landing sites that show possible evidence for past liquid-water activity. The spacecraft design is based on the Mars Pathfinder configuration for cruise and entry, descent, and landing. Each of the identical rovers is equipped with a science payload of two remote-sensing instruments that will view the surrounding terrain from the top of a mast, a robotic arm that can place three instruments and a rock abrasion tool on selected rock and soil samples, and several onboard magnets and calibration targets. Engineering sensors and components useful for science investigations include stereo navigation cameras, stereo hazard cameras in front and rear, wheel motors, wheel motor current and voltage, the wheels themselves for digging, gyros, accelerometers, and reference solar cell readings. Mission operations will allow commanding of the rover each Martian day, or sol, on the basis of the previous sol's data. Over a 90-sol mission lifetime, the rovers are expected to drive hundreds of meters while carrying out field geology investigations, exploration, and atmospheric characterization. The data products will be delivered to the Planetary Data System as integrated batch archives.

  6. Mars Rover RTG Study

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred

    1989-11-27

    This report summarizes the results of a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) design study conducted by Fairchild Space Company at the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Special Applications, in support of the Mars Rover and Sample Return mission under investigation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Presented at the 40th Congress of the IAF, Oct. 7-13, 1989 in Torremolinos, Malaga-Spain. The paper describes the design and analysis of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) for powering the Mars Rover vehicle, which is a critical element of the unmanned Mars Rover and Sample Return mission (MRSR). The RTG design study was conducted by Fairchild Space for the U.S. DOE in support of the JPL MRSR Project. The paper briefly describes a reference mission scenario, an illustrative Rover design and activity pattern on Mars, and its power system requirements and environmental constraints, including the RTG cooling requirements during transit to Mars. It summarizes the baseline RTG's mass breakdown, and presents a detailed description of its thermal, thermoelectric, and electrical analysis. The results presented show the RTG performance achievable with current technology, and the performance improvements that would be achievable with various technology developments. It provides a basis for selecting the optimum strategy for meeting the Mars Rover design goals with minimal programmatic risk and cost. Cross Reference CID #7135 dated 10/1989. There is a duplicate copy. This document is not relevant to the OSTI Library. Do not send.

  7. A Classroom Martian Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brown, Todd; Brown, Katrina

    2008-03-01

    Simulating actual space missions beyond computer programs is a challenge for school programs. NASA's current and highly successful Mars Exploration Rovers allows for a classroom equivalent to be made to provide an inexpensive and informative demonstration concerning the perils of extreme off road navigation by remote control. The classroom rover provides an additional opportunity for teachers to easily simulate the perils of alien terrain analysis, the need for stereo (3-D) vision as well as demonstrate the need for teamwork and advance planning. I used a mock Mars Rover in my introductory natural science course geared towards non-science majors at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. It provided a laboratory-like ending to my section about Solar System exploration.

  8. Rover waste assay system

    SciTech Connect

    Akers, D.W.; Stoots, C.M.; Kraft, N.C.; Marts, D.J.

    1997-11-01

    The Rover Waste Assay System (RWAS) is a nondestructive assay system designed for the rapid assay of highly-enriched {sup 235}U contaminated piping, tank sections, and debris from the Rover nuclear rocket fuel processing facility at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant. A scanning system translates a NaI(Tl) detector/collimator system over the structural components where both relative and calibrated measurements for {sup 137}Cs are made. Uranium-235 concentrations are in operation and is sufficiently automated that most functions are performed by the computer system. These functions include system calibration, problem identification, collimator control, data analysis, and reporting. Calibration of the system was done through a combination of measurements on calibration standards and benchmarked modeling. A description of the system is presented along with the methods and uncertainties associated with the calibration and analysis of the system for components from the Rover facility. 4 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs.

  9. Next Target for Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    This image shows the area where the Sojourner rover is currently exploring. Having just investigated the Mermaid Dune, at left center, the rover is now heading toward the assemblage of large rocks at right.

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and managed the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  10. Rover Magnets All Around

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This illustration shows the locations of the various magnets on the Mars Exploration Rover, which are: its front side, or chest; its back, near the color calibration target; and on its rock abrasion tool. Scientists will use these tools to collect dust for detailed studies. The origins of martian dust are a mystery, although it is believed to come from at least one of three sources: volcanic ash, pulverized rocks or mineral precipitates from liqiud water. By studying the dust with the rover's two spectrometers, scientists hope to find an answer.

  11. Mars Rover RTG Study

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred

    1989-10-01

    Presented at the 40th Congress of the IAF, Oct. 7-13, 1989 in Torremolinos, Malaga-Spain. The paper describes the design and analysis of Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) for powering the Mars Rover vehicle, which is a critical element of the unmanned Mars Rover and Sample Return mission (MRSR). The RTG design study was conducted by Fairchild Space for the U.S. DOE in support of the JPL MRSR Project. The paper briefly describes a reference mission scenario, an illustrative Rover design and activity pattern on Mars, and its power system requirements and environmental constraints, including the RTG cooling requirements during transit to Mars. It summarizes the baseline RTG's mass breakdown, and presents a detailed description of its thermal, thermoelectric, and electrical analysis. The results presented show the RTG performance achievable with current technology, and the performance improvements that would be achievable with various technology developments. It provides a basis for selecting the optimum strategy for meeting the Mars Rover design goals with minimal programmatic risk and cost. There is a duplicate copy and three copies in the file.

  12. Cerebellum Augmented Rover Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    King, Matthew

    2005-01-01

    Bio-Inspired Technologies and Systems (BITS) are a very natural result of thinking about Nature's way of solving problems. Knowledge of animal behaviors an be used in developing robotic behaviors intended for planetary exploration. This is the expertise of the JFL BITS Group and has served as a philosophical model for NMSU RioRobolab. Navigation is a vital function for any autonomous system. Systems must have the ability to determine a safe path between their current location and some target location. The MER mission, as well as other JPL rover missions, uses a method known as dead-reckoning to determine position information. Dead-reckoning uses wheel encoders to sense the wheel's rotation. In a sandy environment such as Mars, this method is highly inaccurate because the wheels will slip in the sand. Improving positioning error will allow the speed of an autonomous navigating rover to be greatly increased. Therefore, local navigation based upon landmark tracking is desirable in planetary exploration. The BITS Group is developing navigation technology based upon landmark tracking. Integration of the current rover architecture with a cerebellar neural network tracking algorithm will demonstrate that this approach to navigation is feasible and should be implemented in future rover and spacecraft missions.

  13. Instrument Deployment for Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pedersen, Liam; Bualat, Maria; Kunz, C.; Lee, Susan; Sargent, Randy; Washington, Rich; Wright, Anne; Clancy, Daniel (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Future Mars rovers, such as the planned 2009 MSL rover, require sufficient autonomy to robustly approach rock targets and place an instrument in contact with them. It took the 1997 Sojourner Mars rover between 3 and 5 communications cycles to accomplish this. This paper describes the technologies being developed and integrated onto the NASA Ames K9 prototype Mars rover to both accomplish this in one cycle, and to extend the complexity and duration of operations that a Mars rover can accomplish without intervention from mission control.

  14. Virtual Rover Drives Toward Rock

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This image shows a screenshot from the software used by engineers to test and drive the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. The software simulates the rover's movements across the martian terrain, helping to plot a safe course. Here, engineers simulated Spirit's first post-egress drive on Mars Sunday. The 3-meter (10-foot) drive totaled approximately 30 minutes, including time to stop and take images. The rover drove toward its first rock target, a mountain-shaped rock called Adirondack. The blue line denotes the path of the rover's 'belly button,' as engineers like to call it, as the rover drove toward Adirondack. The virtual 3-D world around the rover was built from images taken by Spirit's stereo navigation cameras. Regions for which the rover has not yet acquired 3-D data are represented in beige.

  15. Pressurized Lunar Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Creel, Kenneth; Frampton, Jeffrey; Honaker, David; Mcclure, Kerry; Zeinali, Mazyar

    1992-01-01

    The pressurized lunar rover (PLR) consists of a 7 m long, 3 m diameter cylindrical main vehicle and a trailer which houses the power and heat rejection systems. The main vehicle carries the astronauts, life support systems, navigation and communication systems, directional lighting, cameras, and equipment for exploratory experiments. The PLR shell is constructed of a layered carbon-fiber/foam composite. The rover has six 1.5 m diameter wheels on the main body and two 1.5 m diameter wheels on the trailer. The wheels are constructed of composites and flex to increase traction and shock absorption. The wheels are each attached to a double A-arm aluminum suspension, which allows each wheel 1 m of vertical motion. In conjunction with a 0.75 m ground clearance, the suspension aids the rover in negotiating the uneven lunar terrain. The 15 N-m torque brushless electric motors are mounted with harmonic drive units inside each of the wheels. The rover is steered by electrically varying the speeds of the wheels on either side of the rover. The PLR trailer contains a radiosotope thermoelectric generator providing 6.7 kW. A secondary back-up energy storage system for short-term high-power needs is provided by a bank of batteries. The trailer can be detached to facilitate docking of the main body with the lunar base via an airlock located in the rear of the PLR. The airlock is also used for EVA operation during missions. Life support is a partly regenerative system with air and hygiene water being recycled. A layer of water inside the composite shell surrounds the command center. The water absorbs any damaging radiation, allowing the command center to be used as a safe haven during solar flares. Guidance, navigation, and control are supplied by a strapdown inertial measurement unit that works with the on-board computer. Star mappers provide periodic error correction. The PLR is capable of voice, video, and data transmission. It is equipped with two 5 W X-band transponder

  16. Pressurized lunar rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Creel, Kenneth; Frampton, Jeffrey; Honaker, David; McClure, Kerry; Zeinali, Mazyar

    1992-05-01

    The pressurized lunar rover (PLR) consists of a 7 m long, 3 m diameter cylindrical main vehicle and a trailer which houses the power and heat rejection systems. The main vehicle carries the astronauts, life support systems, navigation and communication systems, directional lighting, cameras, and equipment for exploratory experiments. The PLR shell is constructed of a layered carbon-fiber/foam composite. The rover has six 1.5 m diameter wheels on the main body and two 1.5 m diameter wheels on the trailer. The wheels are constructed of composites and flex to increase traction and shock absorption. The wheels are each attached to a double A-arm aluminum suspension, which allows each wheel 1 m of vertical motion. In conjunction with a 0.75 m ground clearance, the suspension aids the rover in negotiating the uneven lunar terrain. The 15 N-m torque brushless electric motors are mounted with harmonic drive units inside each of the wheels. The rover is steered by electrically varying the speeds of the wheels on either side of the rover. The PLR trailer contains a radiosotope thermoelectric generator providing 6.7 kW. A secondary back-up energy storage system for short-term high-power needs is provided by a bank of batteries. The trailer can be detached to facilitate docking of the main body with the lunar base via an airlock located in the rear of the PLR. The airlock is also used for EVA operation during missions. Life support is a partly regenerative system with air and hygiene water being recycled. A layer of water inside the composite shell surrounds the command center. The water absorbs any damaging radiation, allowing the command center to be used as a safe haven during solar flares. Guidance, navigation, and control are supplied by a strapdown inertial measurement unit that works with the on-board computer. Star mappers provide periodic error correction.

  17. Lunar Surface Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Plescia, J. B.; Lane, A. L.; Miller, D.

    1992-01-01

    Many questions of lunar science remain unanswered because of a lack of specific data. With the potential for returning humans to the Moon and establishing a long-term presence there, a new realm of exploration is possible. Numerous plans have been outlined for orbital and surface missions. The capabilities and objectives of a small class of rovers to be deployed on the lunar surface are described. The objective of these small rovers is to collect detailed in situ information about the composition and distribution of materials on the lunar surface. Those data, in turn, would be applied to a variety of lunar geoscience questions and form a basis for planning human activities on the lunar surface.

  18. Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adler, M.

    2004-01-01

    Two rovers with a sophisticated geological payload have been operating on the surface of Mars since January of 2004. Future missions and their related technology developments will benefit from the lessons learned during these surface operations. The planning cycle was dictated by the communications opportunities and the times of day that the rovers could operate, and the team and tools were tuned to optimize the mission return for that cycle time. The ability to traverse and to approach and perform in situ investigations on targets was limited in speed by the same cycle time, due to required human involvement in the related planning and risk decisions. In addition traverse was limited by the speed of the on-board terrain and hazard assessment, and in situ operations were limited by a lack of autonomy. Different planning cycles and levels of autonomy should be considered for future surface missions, which will result in different approaches to science decision making.

  19. Mars Rover RTG Study

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred

    1989-08-25

    This report summarizes the results of a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) design study conducted by Fairchild Space Company at the direction of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of SpecialApplications, in suppport of the Mars Rover and Sample Return mission under investigation at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The report is a rearranged, updated, and significantly expanded amalgam of three interrelated papers presented at the 24th Intersocity Energy Conversion Engineering Conference (IECEC) at Arlington, Virginia, on August 10, 1989.

  20. Mars rover RTG study

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schock, A.; Hamrick, T.; Or, T.; Sankarankandath, V.; Skrabek, E.; Shirbacheh, M.

    1989-01-01

    The paper describes the design and analysis of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) for powering the Mars rover vehicle, which is a critical element of the unmanned Mars Rover and Sample Return mission (MRSR). A brief description is given of a reference mission scenario, an illustrative rover design and activity pattern on Mars, power system requirements, and environmental constraints, including the RTG cooling requirements during transit to Mars. The key RTG design problem, i.e. venting the helium generated by the fuel's alpha decay without intrusion of the Martian atmosphere into the RTG, is identified and a design approach to solve that problem is proposed. The study's primary objective is to quantify the performance improvements achievable in new successfully developed technologies, to estimate the required time, effort, success probability, and programmatic risk in developing these new technologies, and thus to help identify the best strategy for meeting the MRSR system goals. Finally, the paper compares the RTGs' specific powers for different power levels (250W vs 125W), different thermoelectric element designs (standard vs short unicouples vs multicouples), and different thermoelectric figures of merit (0.00058K to the -1 to 0.00140K to the -1).

  1. Aerokats and Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bland, G.; Miles, T.; Nagchaudhuri, A.; Henry, A.; Coronado, P.; Smith, S.; Bydlowski, D.; Gaines, J.; Hartman, C.

    2015-12-01

    Two novel tools are being developed for team-based environmental and science observations suitable for use in Middle School through Undergraduate settings. Partnerships with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center are critical for this work, and the concepts and practices are aimed at providing affordable and easy-to-field hardware to the classroom. The Advanced Earth Research Observation Kites and Atmospheric and Terrestrial Sensors (AEROKATS) system brings affordable and easy-to-field remote sensing and in-situ measurements within reach for local-scale Earth observations and data gathering. Using commercial kites, a wide variety of sensors, and a new NASA technology, AEROKATS offers a quick-to-learn method to gather airborne remote sensing and in-situ data for classroom analysis. The Remotely Operated Vehicle for Education and Research (ROVER) project introduces team building for mission operations and research, using modern technologies for exploring aquatic environments. ROVER projects use hobby-type radio control hardware and common in-water instrumentation, to highlight the numerous roles and responsibilities needed in real-world research missions, such as technology, operations, and science disciplines. NASA GSFC's partnerships have enabled the fielding of several AEROKATS and ROVER prototypes, and results suggest application of these methods is feasible and engaging.

  2. Newly Deployed Sojourner Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    This 8-image mosaic was acquired during the late afternoon (near 5pm LST, note the long shadows) on Sol 2 as part of the predeploy 'insurance panorama' and shows the newly deployed rover sitting on the Martian surface. This color image was generated from images acquired at 530,600, and 750 nm. The insurance panorama was designed as 'insurance' against camera failure upon deployment. Had the camera failed, the losslessly-compressed, multispectral insurance panorama would have been the main source of image data from the IMP.

    However, the camera deployment was successful, leaving the insurance panorama to be downlinked to Earth several weeks later. Ironically enough, the insurance panorama contains some of the best quality image data because of the lossless data compression and relatively dust-free state of the camera and associated lander/rover hardware on Sol 2.

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is an operating division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The IMP was developed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under contract to JPL. Peter Smith is the Principal investigator.

  3. Arusha Rover Deployable Medical Workstation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Boswell, Tyrone; Hopson, Sonya; Marzette, Russell; Monroe, Gilena; Mustafa, Ruqayyah

    2014-01-01

    The NSBE Arusha rover concept offers a means of human transport and habitation during long-term exploration missions on the moon. This conceptual rover calls for the availability of medical supplies and equipment for crew members in order to aid in mission success. This paper addresses the need for a dedicated medical work station aboard the Arusha rover. The project team investigated multiple options for implementing a feasible deployable station to address both the medical and workstation layout needs of the rover and crew. Based on layout specifications and medical workstation requirements, the team has proposed a deployable workstation concept that can be accommodated within the volumetric constraints of the Arusha rover spacecraft

  4. Virtual Rover on Its Own

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This image shows a screenshot from the software used by engineers to roll the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity off its lander and onto martian soil. Engineers received confirmation that Opportunity's six wheels had touched ground at 3:01 a.m. PST, January 31, 2004, on the seventh martian day, or sol, of the mission. The software simulates the rover's movements, helping to plot a safe course. The virtual 3-D world around the rover is built from images taken by Opportunity's stereo navigation cameras. Regions for which the rover has not yet acquired 3-D data are represented in beige. The rover is approximately 1 meter (3 feet) in front of the lander, facing north.

  5. Pressurized Lunar Rover (PLR)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Creel, Kenneth; Frampton, Jeffrey; Honaker, David; McClure, Kerry; Zeinali, Mazyar; Bhardwaj, Manoj; Bulsara, Vatsal; Kokan, David; Shariff, Shaun; Svarverud, Eric

    The objective of this project was to design a manned pressurized lunar rover (PLR) for long-range transportation and for exploration of the lunar surface. The vehicle must be capable of operating on a 14-day mission, traveling within a radius of 500 km during a lunar day or within a 50-km radius during a lunar night. The vehicle must accommodate a nominal crew of four, support two 28-hour EVA's, and in case of emergency, support a crew of six when near the lunar base. A nominal speed of ten km/hr and capability of towing a trailer with a mass of two mt are required. Two preliminary designs have been developed by two independent student teams. The PLR 1 design proposes a seven meter long cylindrical main vehicle and a trailer which houses the power and heat rejection systems. The main vehicle carries the astronauts, life support systems, navigation and communication systems, lighting, robotic arms, tools, and equipment for exploratory experiments. The rover uses a simple mobility system with six wheels on the main vehicle and two on the trailer. The nonpressurized trailer contains a modular radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) supplying 6.5 kW continuous power. A secondary energy storage for short-term peak power needs is provided by a bank of lithium-sulfur dioxide batteries. The life support system is partly a regenerative system with air and hygiene water being recycled. A layer of water inside the composite shell surrounds the command center allowing the center to be used as a safe haven during solar flares. The PLR 1 has a total mass of 6197 kg. It has a top speed of 18 km/hr and is capable of towing three metric tons, in addition to the RTG trailer. The PLR 2 configuration consists of two four-meter diameter, cylindrical hulls which are passively connected by a flexible passageway, resulting in the overall vehicle length of 11 m. The vehicle is driven by eight independently suspended wheels. The dual-cylinder concept allows articulated as well as double

  6. Pressurized Lunar Rover (PLR)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Creel, Kenneth; Frampton, Jeffrey; Honaker, David; Mcclure, Kerry; Zeinali, Mazyar; Bhardwaj, Manoj; Bulsara, Vatsal; Kokan, David; Shariff, Shaun; Svarverud, Eric

    1992-01-01

    The objective of this project was to design a manned pressurized lunar rover (PLR) for long-range transportation and for exploration of the lunar surface. The vehicle must be capable of operating on a 14-day mission, traveling within a radius of 500 km during a lunar day or within a 50-km radius during a lunar night. The vehicle must accommodate a nominal crew of four, support two 28-hour EVA's, and in case of emergency, support a crew of six when near the lunar base. A nominal speed of ten km/hr and capability of towing a trailer with a mass of two mt are required. Two preliminary designs have been developed by two independent student teams. The PLR 1 design proposes a seven meter long cylindrical main vehicle and a trailer which houses the power and heat rejection systems. The main vehicle carries the astronauts, life support systems, navigation and communication systems, lighting, robotic arms, tools, and equipment for exploratory experiments. The rover uses a simple mobility system with six wheels on the main vehicle and two on the trailer. The nonpressurized trailer contains a modular radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) supplying 6.5 kW continuous power. A secondary energy storage for short-term peak power needs is provided by a bank of lithium-sulfur dioxide batteries. The life support system is partly a regenerative system with air and hygiene water being recycled. A layer of water inside the composite shell surrounds the command center allowing the center to be used as a safe haven during solar flares. The PLR 1 has a total mass of 6197 kg. It has a top speed of 18 km/hr and is capable of towing three metric tons, in addition to the RTG trailer. The PLR 2 configuration consists of two four-meter diameter, cylindrical hulls which are passively connected by a flexible passageway, resulting in the overall vehicle length of 11 m. The vehicle is driven by eight independently suspended wheels. The dual-cylinder concept allows articulated as well as double

  7. Control technique for planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nakatani, Ichiro; Kubota, Takashi; Adachi, Tadashi; Saitou, Hiroaki; Okamoto, Sinya

    1994-01-01

    Beginning next century, several schemes for sending a planetary rover to the moon or Mars are being planned. As part of the development program, autonomous navigation technology is being studied to allow the rover the ability to move autonomously over a long range of unknown planetary surface. In the previous study, we ran the autonomous navigation experiment on an outdoor test terrain by using a rover test-bed that was controlled by a conventional sense-plan-act method. In some cases during the experiment, a problem occurred with the rover moving into untraversable areas. To improve this situation, a new control technique has been developed that gives the rover the ability of reacting to the outputs of the proximity sensors, a reaction behavior if you will. We have developed a new rover test-bed system on which an autonomous navigation experiment was performed using the newly developed control technique. In this outdoor experiment, the new control technique effectively produced the control command for the rover to avoid obstacles and be guided to the goal point safely.

  8. Sojourner Rover Near The Dice

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Lander image of rover near The Dice (three small rocks behind the rover) and Yogi on sol 22. Color (red, green, and blue filters at 6:1 compression) image shows dark rocks, bright red dust, dark red soil exposed in rover tracks, and dark (black) soil. The APXS is in view at the rear of the vehicle, and the forward stereo cameras and laser light stripers are in shadow just below the front edge of the solar panel.

    NOTE: original caption as published in Science Magazine

  9. Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cooper, Brian; Hartman, Frank; Maxwell, Scott; Yen, Jeng; Wright, John; Balacuit, Carlos

    2005-01-01

    The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) is the software tool for use in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission for planning rover operations and generating command sequences for accomplishing those operations. RSVP combines three-dimensional (3D) visualization for immersive exploration of the operations area, stereoscopic image display for high-resolution examination of the downlinked imagery, and a sophisticated command-sequence editing tool for analysis and completion of the sequences. RSVP is linked with actual flight-code modules for operations rehearsal to provide feedback on the expected behavior of the rover prior to committing to a particular sequence. Playback tools allow for review of both rehearsed rover behavior and downlinked results of actual rover operations. These can be displayed simultaneously for comparison of rehearsed and actual activities for verification. The primary inputs to RSVP are downlink data products from the Operations Storage Server (OSS) and activity plans generated by the science team. The activity plans are high-level goals for the next day s activities. The downlink data products include imagery, terrain models, and telemetered engineering data on rover activities and state. The Rover Sequence Editor (RoSE) component of RSVP performs activity expansion to command sequences, command creation and editing with setting of command parameters, and viewing and management of rover resources. The HyperDrive component of RSVP performs 2D and 3D visualization of the rover s environment, graphical and animated review of rover-predicted and telemetered state, and creation and editing of command sequences related to mobility and Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) operations. Additionally, RoSE and HyperDrive together evaluate command sequences for potential violations of flight and safety rules. The products of RSVP include command sequences for uplink that are stored in the Distributed Object Manager (DOM) and predicted rover

  10. Rover Team Decides: Safety First

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2006-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit recorded this view while approaching the northwestern edge of 'Home Plate,' a circular plateau-like area of bright, layered outcrop material roughly 80 meters (260 feet) in diameter. The images combined into this mosaic were taken by Spirit's navigation camera during the rover's 746th, 748th and 750th Martian days, or sols (Feb. 7, 9 and 11, 2006).

    With Martian winter closing in, engineers and scientists working with NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit decided to play it safe for the time being rather than attempt to visit the far side of Home Plate in search of rock layers that might show evidence of a past watery environment. This feature has been one of the major milestones of the mission. Though it's conceivable that rock layers might be exposed on the opposite side, sunlight is diminishing on the rover's solar panels and team members chose not to travel in a counterclockwise direction that would take the rover to the west and south slopes of the plateau. Slopes in that direction are hidden from view and team members chose, following a long, thorough discussion, to have the rover travel clockwise and remain on north-facing slopes rather than risk sending the rover deeper into unknown terrain.

    In addition to studying numerous images from Spirit's cameras, team members studied three-dimensional models created with images from the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Globel Surveyor orbiter. The models showed a valley on the southern side of Home Plate, the slopes of which might cause the rover's solar panels to lose power for unknown lengths of time. In addition, images from Spirit's cameras showed a nearby, talus-covered section of slope on the west side of Home Plate, rather than exposed rock layers scientists eventually hope to investigate.

    Home Plate has been on the rover's potential itinerary since the early days of the mission, when it stood out in images taken by the Mars Orbiter Camera shortly after

  11. Power transmission by laser beam from lunar-synchronous satellites to a lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Williams, M. D.; Deyoung, R. J.; Schuster, G. L.; Choi, S. H.; Dagle, J. E.; Coomes, E. P.; Antoniak, Z. I.; Bamberger, J. A.; Bates, J. M.; Chiu, M. A.

    1992-01-01

    This study addresses the possibility of beaming laser power from synchronous lunar orbits (L1 and L2 LaGrange points) to a manned long-range lunar rover. The rover and two versions of a satellite system (one powered by a nuclear reactor; the other by photovoltaics) are described in terms of their masses, geometry, power needs, mission and technological capabilities. Laser beam power is generated by a laser diode array in the satellite and converted to 30 kW of electrical power at the rover. Present technological capabilities, with some extrapolation to near future capabilities, are used in the descriptions. The advantages of the two satellite/rover systems over other such systems and over rovers with on-board power are discussed along with the possibility of enabling other missions.

  12. Next-Generation Tumbleweed Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nosanov, Jeffrey P.

    2012-01-01

    A document describes a next-generation tumbleweed rover that involves a split balloon system that is made up of two half-spherical air bladders with a disc between them. This disc contains all the electronics and instruments. By deflating only the bottom balloon, the rover can sit, bringing the surface probe into contact with the ground. The bottom balloon has a channel passing through it, allowing the surface probe to reach the surface through the balloon. Once the sample has been gathered and analyzed, the rover can re-inflate the lower air bladder and continue rolling. The rover will use a small set of instruments and electronics situated at the center of its inflatable spherical hull. The current version is a large beach-ball-like construction, about 1.8 m in diameter and weighing roughly 15 kg. The rover comprises two major parts, an outer spherical hull (split in half at the central disc) and an inner, disc-shaped cylindrical section. The balloons are attached to the bottom and top of the disc. Inside the disc, there are temperature and pressure sensors to keep track of the inner and outer conditions of the rover. A system of pumps and valves is responsible for independently inflating and deflating the balloons as necessary. There are also accelerometers to record the movement, together with a GPS receiver. The data are then sent through a modem to a control station. This work builds upon the project Tumbleweed rover for planetary exploration, described in the Technical Support Package.

  13. The Mars Exploration Rover Project

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Squyres, S. W.

    2001-12-01

    In mid-2003 NASA will launch two identical rovers to Mars. The Mars Exploration Rovers will be delivered using cruise, entry, and landing systems with Mars Pathfinder heritage. After landing in January of 2004, the rovers will use their set of instruments -- the Athena Science Payload -- to test hypotheses for the presence of past water at two separate sites on Mars where conditions may once have been favorable for life. Particular emphasis will be placed on assessing environmental conditions at the time of water activity. The landing sites are being selected on the basis of community-wide study of orbital data collected by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft and other missions. Possibilities include former lakebeds or hydrothermal deposits. The Athena Science Payload includes two mast-mounted remote-sensing instruments: a color stereo imager (Pancam) and a thermal emission infrared point spectrometer (Mini-TES). Mounted on the end of a five degree-of-freedom robotic arm are three more in-situ instruments: an Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer, a Mössbauer Spectrometer, and a Microscopic Imager. A Rock Abrasion Tool is also mounted on the arm, and will be used to remove the surface layers of rocks and expose underlying material for investigation. The rovers are substantially larger than Mars Pathfinder's Sojourner rover. They have substantial onboard autonomy capability, and can traverse many tens of meters per martian day. The combined capabilities of the MER rovers and the Athena payload will make these rovers the first robotic field geologists to operate on another planet.

  14. Virtual Rover Takes its First Turn

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This image shows a screenshot from the software used by engineers to drive the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit. The software simulates the rover's movements across the martian terrain, helping to plot a safe course for the rover. The virtual 3-D world around the rover is built from images taken by Spirit's stereo navigation cameras. Regions for which the rover has not yet acquired 3-D data are represented in beige. This image depicts the state of the rover before it backed up and turned 45 degrees on Sol 11 (01-13-04).

  15. Mars Exploration Rover engineering cameras

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maki, J.N.; Bell, J.F., III; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Squyres, S. W.; Kiely, A.; Klimesh, M.; Schwochert, M.; Litwin, T.; Willson, R.; Johnson, Aaron H.; Maimone, M.; Baumgartner, E.; Collins, A.; Wadsworth, M.; Elliot, S.T.; Dingizian, A.; Brown, D.; Hagerott, E.C.; Scherr, L.; Deen, R.; Alexander, D.; Lorre, J.

    2003-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission will place a total of 20 cameras (10 per rover) onto the surface of Mars in early 2004. Fourteen of the 20 cameras are designated as engineering cameras and will support the operation of the vehicles on the Martian surface. Images returned from the engineering cameras will also be of significant importance to the scientific community for investigative studies of rock and soil morphology. The Navigation cameras (Navcams, two per rover) are a mast-mounted stereo pair each with a 45?? square field of view (FOV) and an angular resolution of 0.82 milliradians per pixel (mrad/pixel). The Hazard Avoidance cameras (Hazcams, four per rover) are a body-mounted, front- and rear-facing set of stereo pairs, each with a 124?? square FOV and an angular resolution of 2.1 mrad/pixel. The Descent camera (one per rover), mounted to the lander, has a 45?? square FOV and will return images with spatial resolutions of ???4 m/pixel. All of the engineering cameras utilize broadband visible filters and 1024 x 1024 pixel detectors. Copyright 2003 by the American Geophysical Union.

  16. Prospecting Rovers for Lunar Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graham, Jerry B.; Vaughn, Jason A.; Farmer, Jeffery T.

    2007-01-01

    A study of lunar rover options for exploring the permanently shadowed regions of the lunar environment is presented. The potential for nearly continuous solar illumination coupled with the potential for water ice, focus exploration planner's attention on the polar regions of the moon. These regions feature craters that scientists have reason to believe may contain water ice. Water ice can be easily converted to fuel cell reactants, breathing oxygen, potable water, and rocket propellant. For these reasons, the NASA Robotic Lunar Exploration Program (RLEP) sponsored a study of potential prospecting rover concepts as one part of the RLEP-2 Pre-Phase A. Numerous vehicle configurations and power, thermal, and communication options are investigated. Rover options in the 400kg to 530kg class are developed which are capable of either confirming the presence of water ice at the poles, or conclusively demonstrating its absence.

  17. Mars Exploration Rover Surface Operations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Erickson, J. K.; Adler, M.; Crisp, J.; Mishkin, A.; Welch, R.

    2002-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Project is an ambitious mission to land two highly capable rovers on Mars and concurrently explore the Martian surface for three months each. Launching in 2003, surface operations will commence on January 4, 2004 with the first landing, followed by the second landing on January 25. The prime mission for the second rover will end on April 27, 2004. The science objectives of exploring multiple locations within each of two widely separated and scientifically distinct landing sites will be accomplished along with the demonstration of key surface exploration technologies for future missions. This paper will provide an overview of the planned mission, and also focus on the different operations challenges inherent in operating these two very off road vehicles, and the solutions adopted to enable the best utilization of their capabilities for high science return and responsiveness to scientific discovery.

  18. Next Red Planet Rover: Mars Science Laboratory

    NASA Video Gallery

    Did Mars once have an environment capable of supporting life? NASA's next rover -- the Mars Science Laboratory, or Curiosity, will further unravel that mystery. The rover carries a whole laboratory...

  19. Mini-rovers for Mars explorations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, David P.

    1990-01-01

    Rovers are desirable for surface exploration because they allow sampling, and sample returns from several diverse locations on a planet's surface. Unfortunately, the rovers currently being examined for Mars exploration have several undesirable features. These rovers are quite massive (500 kg to one ton), have very complicated operations, and are very expensive. A possible alternative is described to using large rovers for exploring the surface of Mars. The idea of mini-rovers is proposed. Mini-rovers weigh less than 5 kg, are trivial to control from the ground, and can do a more thorough survey of the terrain (per kilogram of mass) than can be obtained by large rovers. By redesigning the Mars sample return mission to accommodate the idea of mini-rovers and small spacecraft, considerable mass and cost savings can be achieved.

  20. Rover Takes a Sunday Drive

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This animation, made with images from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit hazard-identification camera, shows the rover's perspective of its first post-egress drive on Mars Sunday. Engineers drove Spirit approximately 3 meters (10 feet) toward its first rock target, a football-sized, mountain-shaped rock called Adirondack. The drive took approximately 30 minutes to complete, including time stopped to take images. Spirit first made a series of arcing turns totaling approximately 1 meter (3 feet). It then turned in place and made a series of short, straightforward movements totaling approximately 2 meters (6.5 feet).

  1. Pathfinder Rover Atop Mermaid Dune

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Mars Pathfinder Lander camera image of Sojourner Rover atop the Mermaid 'dune' on Sol 30. Note the dark material excavated by the rover wheels. These, and other excavations brought materials to the surface for examination and allowed estimates of mechanical properties of the deposits.

    NOTE: original caption as published in Science Magazine

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  2. Mars rover sample return missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cunningham, Glenn E.; Rea, Donald G.; Pivirotto, Donna; Kwok, Johnny; Craig, Mark K.

    1988-01-01

    An important intermediate step in the path to human exploration of Mars is the accomplishment of a mission which lands an unmanned rover on the Martian surface, selects and collects various samples of the terrain and atmosphere, and returns them to earth for analysis. Such a mission is being developed under the management of NASA's JPL and the Johnson Space Center. The concepts for a wide range of rover capabilities are studied and an assessment of the driving technological developments required to implement these capabilities is made.

  3. Planetary rover technology development requirements

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bedard, Roger J., Jr.; Muirhead, Brian K.; Montemerlo, Melvin D.; Hirschbein, Murray S.

    1989-01-01

    Planetary surface (including lunar) mobility and sampling capability is required to support proposed future National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) solar system exploration missions. The NASA Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST) is addressing some of these technology needs in its base research and development program, the Civil Space Technology Initiative (CSTI) and a new technology initiative entitled Pathfinder. The Pathfinder Planetary Rover (PPR) and Sample Acquisition, Analysis and Preservation (SAAP) programs will develop and validate the technologies needed to enable both robotic and piloted rovers on various planetary surfaces. The technology requirements for a planetary roving vehicle and the development plans of the PPR and SAAP programs are discussed.

  4. Delivering Images for Mars Rover Science Planning

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edmonds, Karina

    2008-01-01

    A methodology has been developed for delivering, via the Internet, images transmitted to Earth from cameras on the Mars Explorer Rovers, the Phoenix Mars Lander, the Mars Science Laboratory, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. The images in question are used by geographically dispersed scientists and engineers in planning Rover scientific activities and Rover maneuvers pertinent thereto.

  5. Next NASA Mars Rover Gets Its Wheels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    Wheels were first attached to NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover in August 2008. The rover and its descent stage and cruise stage are being assembled and tested at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., for launch in 2009.

    The rover has a ground clearance of about 60 centimeters, or 2 feet. The wheel base is 2.2 meters, or 7 feet.

  6. EXPLORING MARS WITH SOLAR-POWERED ROVERS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.

    2006-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project landed two solar-powered rovers, "Spirit" and "Opportunity," on the surface of Mars in January of 2003. This talk reviews the history of solar-powered missions to Mars and looks at the science mission of the MER rovers, focusing on the solar energy and array performance.

  7. Planning for rover opportunistic science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gaines, Daniel M.; Estlin, Tara; Forest, Fisher; Chouinard, Caroline; Castano, Rebecca; Anderson, Robert C.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit recently set a record for the furthest distance traveled in a single sol on Mars. Future planetary exploration missions are expected to use even longer drives to position rovers in areas of high scientific interest. This increase provides the potential for a large rise in the number of new science collection opportunities as the rover traverses the Martian surface. In this paper, we describe the OASIS system, which provides autonomous capabilities for dynamically identifying and pursuing these science opportunities during longrange traverses. OASIS uses machine learning and planning and scheduling techniques to address this goal. Machine learning techniques are applied to analyze data as it is collected and quickly determine new science gods and priorities on these goals. Planning and scheduling techniques are used to alter the behavior of the rover so that new science measurements can be performed while still obeying resource and other mission constraints. We will introduce OASIS and describe how planning and scheduling algorithms support opportunistic science.

  8. Robotic Arm of Rover 1

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    JPL engineers examine the robotic arm of Mars Exploration Rover 1. The arm is modeled after a human arm, complete with joints, and holds four devices on its end, the Rock Abrasion Tool which can grind into Martian rocks, a microscopic imager, and two spectrometers for elemental and iron-mineral identification.

  9. Summit Panorama with Rover Deck

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for Summit Panorama with Rover (QTVR)

    The panoramic camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit took the hundreds of images combined into this 360-degree view, the 'Husband Hill Summit' panorama. The images were acquired on Spirit's sols 583 to 586 (Aug. 24 to 27, 2005), shortly after the rover reached the crest of 'Husband Hill' inside Mars' Gusev Crater. This is the largest panorama yet acquired from either Spirit or Opportunity. The panoramic camera shot 653 separate images in 6 different filters, encompassing the rover's deck and the full 360 degrees of surface rocks and soils visible to the camera from this position. This is the first time the camera has been used to image the entire rover deck and visible surface from the same position. Stitching together of all the images took significant effort because of the large changes in resolution and parallax across the scene.

    The image is an approximately true-color rendering using the 750-nanometer, 530-nanometer and 480-nanometer filters for the surface, and the 600-nanometer and 480-nanometer filters for the rover deck. Image-to-image seams have been eliminated from the sky portion of the mosaic to better simulate the vista a person standing on Mars would see.

    This panorama provided the team's first view of the 'Inner Basin' region (center of the image), including the enigmatic 'Home Plate' feature seen from orbital data. After investigating the summit area, Spirit drove downhill to get to the Inner Basin region. Spirit arrived at the summit from the west, along the direction of the rover tracks seen in the middle right of the panorama. The peaks of 'McCool Hill' and 'Ramon Hill' can be seen on the horizon near the center of the panorama. The summit region itself is a broad, windswept plateau. Spirit spent more than a month exploring the summit region, measuring the chemistry and mineralogy of soils and rocky outcrops at the peak

  10. Spirit Ascent Movie, Rover's-Eye View

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    A movie assembled from frames taken by the rear hazard-identification camera on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the last few days of the rover's ascent to the crest of 'Husband Hill' inside Mars' Gusev Crater. The rover was going in reverse. Rover planners often drive Spirit backwards to keep wheel lubrication well distributed. The images in this clip span a timeframe from Spirit's 573rd martian day, or sol (Aug, 13, 2005) to sol 582 (Aug. 22, 2005), the day after the rover reached the crest. During that period, Spirit drove 136 meters (446 feet),

  11. The mass of massive rover software

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, David P.

    1993-01-01

    A planetary rover, like a spacecraft, must be fully self contained. Once launched, a rover can only receive information from its designers, and if solar powered, power from the Sun. As the distance from Earth increases, and the demands for power on the rover increase, there is a serious tradeoff between communication and computation. Both of these subsystems are very power hungry, and both can be the major driver of the rover's power subsystem, and therefore the minimum mass and size of the rover. This situation and software techniques that can be used to reduce the requirements on both communication and computation, allowing the overall robot mass to be greatly reduced, are discussed.

  12. United States planetary rover status: 1989

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pivirotto, Donna L. S.; Dias, William C.

    1990-01-01

    A spectrum of concepts for planetary rovers and rover missions, is covered. Rovers studied range from tiny micro rovers to large and highly automated vehicles capable of traveling hundreds of kilometers and performing complex tasks. Rover concepts are addressed both for the Moon and Mars, including a Lunar/Mars common rover capable of supporting either program with relatively small modifications. Mission requirements considered include both Science and Human Exploration. Studies include a range of autonomy in rovers, from interactive teleoperated systems to those requiring and onboard System Executive making very high level decisions. Both high and low technology rover options are addressed. Subsystems are described for a representative selection of these rovers, including: Mobility, Sample Acquisition, Science, Vehicle Control, Thermal Control, Local Navigation, Computation and Communications. System descriptions of rover concepts include diagrams, technology levels, system characteristics, and performance measurement in terms of distance covered, samples collected, and area surveyed for specific representative missions. Rover development schedules and costs are addressed for Lunar and Mars exploration initiatives.

  13. Mars Science Laboratory Rover System Thermal Test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Novak, Keith S.; Kempenaar, Joshua E.; Liu, Yuanming; Bhandari, Pradeep; Dudik, Brenda A.

    2012-01-01

    On November 26, 2011, NASA launched a large (900 kg) rover as part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to Mars. The MSL rover is scheduled to land on Mars on August 5, 2012. Prior to launch, the Rover was successfully operated in simulated mission extreme environments during a 16-day long Rover System Thermal Test (STT). This paper describes the MSL Rover STT, test planning, test execution, test results, thermal model correlation and flight predictions. The rover was tested in the JPL 25-Foot Diameter Space Simulator Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Rover operated in simulated Cruise (vacuum) and Mars Surface environments (8 Torr nitrogen gas) with mission extreme hot and cold boundary conditions. A Xenon lamp solar simulator was used to impose simulated solar loads on the rover during a bounding hot case and during a simulated Mars diurnal test case. All thermal hardware was exercised and performed nominally. The Rover Heat Rejection System, a liquid-phase fluid loop used to transport heat in and out of the electronics boxes inside the rover chassis, performed better than predicted. Steady state and transient data were collected to allow correlation of analytical thermal models. These thermal models were subsequently used to predict rover thermal performance for the MSL Gale Crater landing site. Models predict that critical hardware temperatures will be maintained within allowable flight limits over the entire 669 Sol surface mission.

  14. Design of a nuclear-powered rover for lunar or Martian exploration

    SciTech Connect

    Trellue, H.R.; Trautner, R.; Houts, M.G.; Poston, D.I.; Giovig, K.; Baca, J.A.; Lipinski, R.J.

    1998-08-01

    To perform more advanced studies on the surface of the moon or Mars, a rover must provide long-term power ({ge}10 kW{sub e}). However, a majority of rovers in the past have been designed for much lower power levels (i.e., on the order of watts) or for shorter operating periods using stored power. Thus, more advanced systems are required to generate additional power. One possible design for a more highly powered rover involves using a nuclear reactor to supply energy to the rover and material from the surface of the moon or Mars to shield the electronics from high neutron fluxes and gamma doses. Typically, one of the main disadvantages of using a nuclear-powered rover is that the required shielding would be heavy and expensive to include as part of the payload on a mission. Obtaining most of the required shielding material from the surface of the moon or Mars would reduce the cost of the mission and still provide the necessary power. This paper describes the basic design of a rover that uses the Heatpipe Power System (HPS) as an energy source, including the shielding and reactor control issues associated with the design. It also discusses briefly the amount of power that can be produced by other power methods (solar/photovoltaic cells, radioisotope power supplies, dynamic radioisotope power systems, and the production of methane or acetylene fuel from the surface of Mars) as a comparison to the HPS.

  15. Rover Soil Experiments Near Yogi

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Sojourner, while on its way to the rock Yogi, performed several soil mechanics experiments. Piles of loose material churned up from the experiment are seen in front of and behind the Rover. The rock Pop-Tart is visible near the front right rover wheel. Yogi is at upper right. The image was taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder.

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) was developed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under contract to JPL. Peter Smith is the Principal Investigator.

  16. Rover and Telerobotics Technology Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weisbin, Charles R.

    1998-01-01

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL's) Rover and Telerobotics Technology Program, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), responds to opportunities presented by NASA space missions and systems, and seeds commerical applications of the emerging robotics technology. The scope of the JPL Rover and Telerobotics Technology Program comprises three major segments of activity: NASA robotic systems for planetary exploration, robotic technology and terrestrial spin-offs, and technology for non-NASA sponsors. Significant technical achievements have been reached in each of these areas, including complete telerobotic system prototypes that have built and tested in realistic scenarios relevant to prospective users. In addition, the program has conducted complementary basic research and created innovative technology and terrestrial applications, as well as enabled a variety of commercial spin-offs.

  17. Frost on Mars Rover Opportunity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    Frost can form on surfaces if enough water is present and the temperature is sufficiently low. On each of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, the calibration target for the panoramic camera provides a good place to look for such events. A thin frost was observed by Opportunity's panoramic camera on the rover's 257th sol (Oct. 13, 2004) 11 minutes after sunrise (left image). The presence of the frost is most clearly seen on the post in the center of the target, particularly when compared with the unsegmented outer ring of the target, which is white. The post is normally black. For comparison, note the difference in appearance in the image on the right, taken about three hours later, after the frost had dissipated. Frost has not been observed at Spirit, where the amount of atmospheric water vapor is observed to be appreciably lower. Both images were taken through a filter centered at a wavelength of 440 nanometers (blue).

  18. Electrostatic Charging of the Pathfinder Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Siebert, Mark W.; Kolecki, Joseph C.

    1996-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder mission will send a lander and a rover to the martian surface. Because of the extremely dry conditions on Mars, electrostatic charging of the rover is expected to occur as it moves about. Charge accumulation may result in high electrical potentials and discharge through the martian atmosphere. Such discharge could interfere with the operation of electrical elements on the rover. A strategy was sought to mitigate this charge accumulation as a precautionary measure. Ground tests were performed to demonstrate charging in laboratory conditions simulating the surface conditions expected at Mars. Tests showed that a rover wheel, driven at typical rover speeds, will accumulate electrical charge and develop significant electrical potentials (average observed, 110 volts). Measurements were made of wheel electrical potential, and wheel capacitance. From these quantities, the amount of absolute charge was estimated. An engineering solution was developed and recommended to mitigate charge accumulation. That solution has been implemented on the actual rover.

  19. Visual Feedback for Rover-based Coring

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Backes, Paul; Helmick, Daniel; Bajracharya, Max

    2008-01-01

    Technology for coring from a low-mass rover has been developed to enable core sample acquisition where a planetary rover experiences moderate slip during the coring operation. A new stereo vision technique, Absolute Motion Visual Odometry, is used to measure rover slip during coring and the slip is accommodated through corresponding arm pose updating. Coring rate is controlled by feedback of themeasured force of the coring tool against the environment. Test results in the JPL Marsyard show for the first time that coring from a low-mass rover with slip is feasible.

  20. Mars PathFinder Rover Traverse Image

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    This figure contains an azimuth-elevation projection of the 'Gallery Panorama.' The original Simple Cylindrical mosaic has been reprojected to the inside of a sphere so that lines of constant azimuth radiate from the center and lines of constant elevation are concentric circles. This projection preserves the resolution of the original panorama. Overlaid onto the projected Martian surface is a delineation of the Sojourner rover traverse path during the 83 Sols (Martian days) of Pathfinder surface operations. The rover path was reproduced using IMP camera 'end of day' and 'Rover movie' image sequences and rover vehicle telemetry data as references.

  1. Athena Mars rover science investigation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Baumgartner, E.T.; Bell, J.F., III; Christensen, P.R.; Gorevan, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Klingelhofer, G.; Madsen, M.B.; Morris, R.V.; Rieder, R.; Romero, R.A.

    2003-01-01

    Each Mars Exploration Rover carries an integrated suite of scientific instruments and tools called the Athena science payload. The primary objective of the Athena science investigation is to explore two sites on the Martian surface where water may once have been present, and to assess past environmental conditions at those sites and their suitability for life. The remote sensing portion of the payload uses a mast called the Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA) that provides pointing for two instruments: the Panoramic Camera (Pancam), and the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES). Pancam provides high-resolution, color, stereo imaging, while Mini-TES provides spectral cubes at mid-infrared wavelengths. For in-situ study, a five degree-of-freedom arm called the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) carries four more tools: a Microscopic Imager (MI) for close-up imaging, an Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) for elemental chemistry, a Mo??ssbauer Spectrometer (MB) for the mineralogy of Fe-bearing materials, and a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) for removing dusty and weathered surfaces and exposing fresh rock underneath. The payload also includes magnets that allow the instruments to study the composition of magnetic Martian materials. All of the Athena instruments have undergone extensive calibration, both individually and using a set of geologic reference materials that are being measured with all the instruments. Using a MER-like rover and payload in a number of field settings, we have devised operations processes that will enable us to use the MER rovers to formulate and test scientific hypotheses concerning past environmental conditions and habitability at the landing sites. Copyright 2003 by the American Geophysical Union.

  2. Early lunar rover mission studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gillespie, Vernon P.

    1993-01-01

    Results of lunar mission studies aimed at developing mission goals and high level requirements are reported. A mission concept to meet the mission requirements was developed and the design of mission hardware was to follow. Mission concepts not only included operations analysis and plans but also fabrication and test planning, quality control measures, and project organization. The design of mission concepts and hardware identified issues that are not easily resolved. Although none of the issues identified appear to be unresolvable, many will be difficult to resolve within Space Exploration Initiative constraints. These issues discussed which appear to have the potential for negative project impact are rover mobility, power, imaging, telemanagment, and remote control.

  3. Radiation shield analysis for a manned Mars rover

    SciTech Connect

    Morley, N.J.; ElGenk, M.S. )

    1991-01-01

    Radiation shielding for unmanned space missions has been extensively studied; however, designs of man-rated shields are minimal. Engle et al.'s analysis of a man-rated, multilayered shield composed of two and three cycles (a cycle consists of a tungsten and a lithium hydride layer) is the basis for the work reported in this paper. The authors present the results of a recent study of shield designs for a manned Mars rover powered by a 500-kW(thermal) nuclear reactor. A train-type rover vehicle was developed, which consists of four cars and is powered by an SP-100-type nuclear reactor heat source. The maximum permissible dose rate (MPD) from all sources is given by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements as 500 mSv/yr (50 rem/yr) A 3-yr Mars mission (2-yr round trip and 1-yr stay) will deliver a 1-Sv natural radiation dose without a solar particle event, 450 mSv/yr in flight, and an additional 100 mSv on the planet surface. An anomalously large solar particle event could increase the natural radiation dose for unshielded astronauts on the Martian surface to 200 mSv. This limits the MPD to crew members from the nuclear reactor to 300 mSv.

  4. International testing of a Mars rover prototype

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kemurjian, Alexsandr Leonovich; Linkin, V.; Friedman, L.

    1993-01-01

    Tests on a prototype engineering model of the Russian Mars 96 Rover were conducted by an international team in and near Death Valley in the United States in late May, 1992. These tests were part of a comprehensive design and testing program initiated by the three Russian groups responsible for the rover development. The specific objectives of the May tests were: (1) evaluate rover performance over different Mars-like terrains; (2) evaluate state-of-the-art teleoperation and autonomy development for Mars rover command, control and navigation; and (3) organize an international team to contribute expertise and capability on the rover development for the flight project. The range and performance that can be planned for the Mars mission is dependent on the degree of autonomy that will be possible to implement on the mission. Current plans are for limited autonomy, with Earth-based teleoperation for the nominal navigation system. Several types of television systems are being investigated for inclusion in the navigation system including panoramic camera, stereo, and framing cameras. The tests used each of these in teleoperation experiments. Experiments were included to consider use of such TV data in autonomy algorithms. Image processing and some aspects of closed-loop control software were also tested. A micro-rover was tested to help consider the value of such a device as a payload supplement to the main rover. The concept is for the micro-rover to serve like a mobile hand, with its own sensors including a television camera.

  5. Update on Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cooper, Brian; Hartman, Frank; Maxwell, Scott; Yen, Jeng; Wright, John; Balacuit, Carlos

    2005-01-01

    The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) has been updated. RSVP was reported in Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (NPO-30845), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 29, No. 4 (April 2005), page 38. To recapitulate: The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) is the software tool to be used in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission for planning rover operations and generating command sequences for accomplishing those operations. RSVP combines three-dimensional (3D) visualization for immersive exploration of the operations area, stereoscopic image display for high-resolution examination of the downlinked imagery, and a sophisticated command-sequence editing tool for analysis and completion of the sequences. RSVP is linked with actual flight code modules for operations rehearsal to provide feedback on the expected behavior of the rover prior to committing to a particular sequence. Playback tools allow for review of both rehearsed rover behavior and downlinked results of actual rover operations. These can be displayed simultaneously for comparison of rehearsed and actual activities for verification. The primary inputs to RSVP are downlink data products from the Operations Storage Server (OSS) and activity plans generated by the science team. The activity plans are high-level goals for the next day s activities. The downlink data products include imagery, terrain models, and telemetered engineering data on rover activities and state. The Rover Sequence Editor (RoSE) component of RSVP performs activity expansion to command sequences, command creation and editing with setting of command parameters, and viewing and management of rover resources. The HyperDrive component of RSVP performs 2D and 3D visualization of the rover s environment, graphical and animated review of rover predicted and telemetered state, and creation and editing of command sequences related to mobility and Instrument Deployment Device (robotic arm) operations. Additionally, RoSE and

  6. Self-Directed Cooperative Planetary Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zilberstein, Shlomo; Morris, Robert (Technical Monitor)

    2003-01-01

    The project is concerned with the development of decision-theoretic techniques to optimize the scientific return of planetary rovers. Planetary rovers are small unmanned vehicles equipped with cameras and a variety of sensors used for scientific experiments. They must operate under tight constraints over such resources as operation time, power, storage capacity, and communication bandwidth. Moreover, the limited computational resources of the rover limit the complexity of on-line planning and scheduling. We have developed a comprehensive solution to this problem that involves high-level tools to describe a mission; a compiler that maps a mission description and additional probabilistic models of the components of the rover into a Markov decision problem; and algorithms for solving the rover control problem that are sensitive to the limited computational resources and high-level of uncertainty in this domain.

  7. Targeting and Localization for Mars Rover Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Powell, Mark W.; Crockett, Thomas; Fox, Jason M.; Joswig, Joseph C.; Norris, Jeffrey S.; Rabe, Kenneth J.; McCurdy, Michael; Pyrzak, Guy

    2006-01-01

    In this work we discuss how the quality of localization knowledge impacts the remote operation of rovers on the surface of Mars. We look at the techniques of localization estimation used in the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover missions. We examine the motivation behind the modes of targeting for different types of activities, such as navigation, remote science, and in situ science. We discuss the virtues and shortcomings of existing approaches and new improvements in the latest operations tools used to support the Mars Exploration Rover missions and rover technology development tasks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We conclude with future directions we plan to explore in improving the localization knowledge available for operations and more effective targeting of rovers and their instrument payloads.

  8. Rover Slip Validation and Prediction Algorithm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yen, Jeng

    2009-01-01

    A physical-based simulation has been developed for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission that applies a slope-induced wheel-slippage to the rover location estimator. Using the digital elevation map from the stereo images, the computational method resolves the quasi-dynamic equations of motion that incorporate the actual wheel-terrain speed to estimate the gross velocity of the vehicle. Based on the empirical slippage measured by the Visual Odometry software of the rover, this algorithm computes two factors for the slip model by minimizing the distance of the predicted and actual vehicle location, and then uses the model to predict the next drives. This technique, which has been deployed to operate the MER rovers in the extended mission periods, can accurately predict the rover position and attitude, mitigating the risk and uncertainties in the path planning on high-slope areas.

  9. Launch Lock Mechanism for Resource Prospector Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tamasy, Gabor J.; Smith, Jonathan D.; Mueller, Robert P.; Townsend, Ivan I., III

    2016-01-01

    The Resource Prospector Rover is being designed to carry the RESOLVE (Regolith Environment Science, and Oxygen Lunar Volatile Extraction) payload on a mission to the Moon to prospect for water ice. This is a joint project between KSC Swamp Works UB-R1 and JSC. JSC is building the Resource Prospector 2015 (RP15) rover and KSC designed and fabricated a Launch-Lock (LL) hold down mechanism for the rover. The LL mechanism will attach and support the rover on a Lunar Lander during launch and transit to the moon, then release the RP15 rover after touchdown on the lunar surface. This report presents the design and development of the LL mechanism and its unique features which make it suitable for this lunar exploration mission. An EDU (engineering development unit) prototype of the LL has been built and tested at KSC which is the subject of this paper.

  10. Method for remotely powering a device such as a lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deyoung, Russell J. (Inventor); Williams, Michael D. (Inventor); Walker, Gilbert H. (Inventor); Schuster, Gregory L. (Inventor); Lee, Ja H. (Inventor)

    1993-01-01

    A method of supplying power to a device such as a lunar rover located on a planetary surface is provided. At least one, and preferably three, laser satellites are set in orbit around the planet. Each satellite contains a nuclear reactor for generating electrical power. This electrical power is converted into a laser beam which is passed through an amplifying array and directed toward the device such as a lunar rover. The received laser beam is then converted into electrical power for use by the device.

  11. Rover Tracks at Crater's Edge

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2007-01-01

    Tracks left by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity as it traveled along the rim of Victoria Crater can be seen clearly in this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft.

    This is a subframe of a larger image that the camera acquired on June 26, 2007. The larger image will be released as HiRISE catalogue number PSP_004289_1780 after geometric processing.

    Opportunity first approached Victoria Crater at an alcove informally named 'Duck Bay' (see tracks at left). It then drove along the crater's sinuous edge in a clockwise direction before heading back to Duck Bay, where it is expected to enter the crater in early July 2007.

  12. Mars Exploration Rover telecommunications subsystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hilland, Jeffrey; Bhanji, Alaudin M.; Estabrook, Polly

    2004-04-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission is designed to investigate Martian geology, investigate the role of water, and seek information on the climate history of the red planet at two sites. The Telecommunications Subsystem consists of the Radio Frequency Subsystem (RFS) operating at 7.1/8.4GHz (X-band), the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Subsystem operating at 401/437MHz, the RFS and UHF Antenna Subsystem and the Radar Altimeter Subsystem (RAS) operating at 4.3 GHz (C-band). Science data return is enhanced through UHF relay communications with the Mars Odyssey (ODY) orbiter up to 128 kbps. Relay communications will also be demonstrated with the ESA Mars Express orbiter.

  13. Lunar exploration rover program developments

    SciTech Connect

    Klarer, P.R.

    1993-09-01

    The Robotic All Terrain Lunar Exploration Rover (RATLER) design concept began at Sandia National Laboratories in late 1991 with a series of small, proof-of-principle, working scale models. The models proved the viability of the concept for high mobility through mechanical simplicity, and eventually received internal funding at Sandia National Laboratories for full scale, proof-of-concept prototype development. Whereas the proof-of-principle models demonstrated the mechanical design`s capabilities for mobility, the full scale proof-of-concept design currently under development is intended to support field operations for experiments in telerobotics, autonomous robotic operations, telerobotic field geology, and advanced man-machine interface concepts. The development program`s current status is described, including an outline of the program`s work over the past year, recent accomplishments, and plans for follow-on development work.

  14. Lunar exploration rover program developments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klarer, P. R.

    1994-01-01

    The Robotic All Terrain Lunar Exploration Rover (RATLER) design concept began at Sandia National Laboratories in late 1991 with a series of small, proof-of-principle, working scale models. The models proved the viability of the concept for high mobility through mechanical simplicity, and eventually received internal funding at Sandia National Laboratories for full scale, proof-of-concept prototype development. Whereas the proof-of-principle models demonstrated the mechanical design's capabilities for mobility, the full scale proof-of-concept design currently under development is intended to support field operations for experiments in telerobotics, autonomous robotic operations, telerobotic field geology, and advanced man-machine interface concepts. The development program's current status is described, including an outline of the program's work over the past year, recent accomplishments, and plans for follow-on development work.

  15. Lifting Mechanism for the Mars Explorer Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Melko, Joseph; Iskenderian, Theodore; Harrington, Brian; Voorhees, Christopher

    2005-01-01

    A report discusses the design of a rover lift mechanism (RLM) -- a major subsystem of each of the Mars Exploration Rover vehicles, which were landed on Mars in January 2004. The RLM had to satisfy requirements to (1) be foldable as part of an extremely dense packing arrangement and (2) be capable of unfolding itself in a complex, multistep process for disengaging the rover from its restraints in the lander, lifting the main body of the rover off its landing platform, and placing the rover wheels on the platform in preparation for driving the rover off the platform. There was also an overriding requirement to minimize the overall mass of the rover and lander. To satisfy the combination of these and other requirements, it was necessary to formulate an extremely complex design that integrated components and functions of the RLM with those of a rocker-bogie suspension system, the aspects of which have been described in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles. In this design, suspension components also serve as parts of a 4- bar linkage in the RLM.

  16. Zephyr: A Landsailing Rover for Venus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.; Oleson, Steven R.; Grantier, David

    2014-01-01

    With an average temperature of 450C and a corrosive atmosphere at a pressure of 90 bars, the surface of Venus is the most hostile environment of any planetary surface in the solar system. Exploring the surface of Venus would be an exciting goal, since Venus is a planet with significant scientific mysteries, and interesting geology and geophysics. Technology to operate at the environmental conditions of Venus is under development. A rover on the surface of Venus with capability comparable to the rovers that have been sent to Mars would push the limits of technology in high-temperature electronics, robotics, and robust systems. Such a rover would require the ability to traverse the landscape on extremely low power levels. We have analyzed an innovative concept for a planetary rover: a sail-propelled rover to explore the surface of Venus. Such a rover can be implemented with only two moving parts; the sail, and the steering. Although the surface wind speeds are low (under 1 m/s), at Venus atmospheric density even low wind speeds develop significant force. Under funding by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts office, a conceptual design for such a rover has been done. Total landed mass of the system is 265 kg, somewhat less than that of the MER rovers, with a 12 square meter rigid sail. The rover folds into a 3.6 meter aeroshell for entry into the Venus atmosphere and subsequent parachute landing on the surface. Conceptual designs for a set of hightemperature scientific instruments and a UHF communication system were done. The mission design lifetime is 50 days, allowing operation during the sunlit portion of one Venus day. Although some technology development is needed to bring the high-temperature electronics to operational readiness, the study showed that such a mobility approach is feasible, and no major difficulties are seen.

  17. Mars Rover Studies Soil on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    Both out on the plains of Gusev Crater and in the 'Columbia Hills,' NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has encountered a thin (approximately 1 millimeter or 0.04 inch thick), light-colored, fine-grained layer of material on top of a dark-colored, coarser layer of soil. In the hills, Spirit stopped to take a closer look at soil compacted by one of the rover's wheels. Spirit took this image with the front hazard-avoidance camera during the rover's 314th martian day, or sol (Nov. 19, 2004).

  18. Mars rover local navigation and hazard avoidance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilcox, B. H.; Gennery, D. B.; Mishkin, A. H.

    1989-01-01

    A Mars rover sample return mission has been proposed for the late 1990's. Due to the long speed-of-light delays between earth and Mars, some autonomy on the rover is highly desirable. JPL has been conducting research in two possible modes of rover operation, Computer-Aided Remote Driving and Semiautonomous Navigation. A recently-completed research program used a half-scale testbed vehicle to explore several of the concepts in semiautonomous navigation. A new, full-scale vehicle with all computational and power resources on-board will be used in the coming year to demonstrate relatively fast semiautonomous navigation. The computational and power requirements for Mars rover local navigation and hazard avoidance are discussed.

  19. Two Years Onboard the MER Opportunity Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Estlin, Tara; Anderson, Robert C.; Bornstein, Benjamin; Burl, Michael; Castano, Rebecca; Gaines, Daniel; Judd, Michele; Thompson, David R.

    2012-01-01

    The Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) system provides automated data collection for planetary rovers. AEGIS is currently being used onboard the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission's Opportunity to provide autonomous targeting of the MER Panoramic camera. Prior to AEGIS, targeted data was collected in a manual fashion where targets were manually identified in images transmitted to Earth and the rover had to remain in the same location for one to several communication cycles. AEGIS enables targeted data to be rapidly acquired with no delays for ground communication. Targets are selected by AEGIS through the use of onboard data analysis techniques that are guided by scientist-specified objectives. This paper provides an overview of the how AEGIS has been used on the Opportunity rover, focusing on usage that occurred during a 21 kilometer historic trek to the Mars Endeavour crater.

  20. Mars Rover Local Navigation And Hazard Avoidance

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilcox, B. H.; Gennery, D. B.; Mishkin, A. H.

    1989-03-01

    A Mars rover sample return mission has been proposed for the late 1990's. Due to the long speed-of-light delays between Earth and Mars, some autonomy on the rover is highly desirable. JPL has been conducting research in two possible modes of rover operation, Computer-Aided Remote Driving and Semiautonomous Navigation. A recently-completed research program used a half-scale testbed vehicle to explore several of the concepts in semiautonomous navigation. A new, full-scale vehicle with all computational and power resources on-board will be used in the coming year to demonstrate relatively fast semiautonomous navigation. The computational and power requirements for Mars rover local navigation and hazard avoidance are discussed.

  1. Design of a pressurized lunar rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bhardwaj, Manoj; Bulsara, Vatsal; Kokan, David; Shariff, Shaun; Svarverud, Eric; Wirz, Richard

    1992-04-01

    A pressurized lunar rover is necessary for future long-term habitation of the moon. The rover must be able to safely perform many tasks, ranging from transportation and reconnaissance to exploration and rescue missions. Numerous designs were considered in an effort to maintain a low overall mass and good mobility characteristics. The configuration adopted consists of two cylindrical pressure hulls passively connected by a pressurized flexible passageway. The vehicle has an overall length of 11 meters and a total mass of seven metric tons. The rover is driven by eight independently powered two meter diameter wheels. The dual-cylinder concept allows a combination of articulated frame and double Ackermann steering for executing turns. In an emergency, the individual drive motors allow the option of skid steering as well. Two wheels are connected to either side of each cylinder through a pinned bar which allows constant ground contact. Together, these systems allow the rover to easily meet its mobility requirements. A dynamic isotope power system (DIPS), in conjunction with a closed Brayton cycle, supplied the rover with a continuous supply of 8.5 kW. The occupants are all protected from the DIPS system's radiation by a shield of tantalum. The large amount of heat produced by the DIPS and other rover systems is rejected by thermal radiators. The thermal radiators and solar collectors are located on the top of the rear cylinder. The solar collectors are used to recharge batteries for peak power periods. The rover's shell is made of graphite-epoxy coated with multi-layer insulation (MLI). The graphite-epoxy provides strength while the thermally resistant MLI gives protection from the lunar environment. An elastomer separates the two materials to compensate for the thermal mismatch.

  2. Design of a pressurized lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bhardwaj, Manoj; Bulsara, Vatsal; Kokan, David; Shariff, Shaun; Svarverud, Eric; Wirz, Richard

    1992-01-01

    A pressurized lunar rover is necessary for future long-term habitation of the moon. The rover must be able to safely perform many tasks, ranging from transportation and reconnaissance to exploration and rescue missions. Numerous designs were considered in an effort to maintain a low overall mass and good mobility characteristics. The configuration adopted consists of two cylindrical pressure hulls passively connected by a pressurized flexible passageway. The vehicle has an overall length of 11 meters and a total mass of seven metric tons. The rover is driven by eight independently powered two meter diameter wheels. The dual-cylinder concept allows a combination of articulated frame and double Ackermann steering for executing turns. In an emergency, the individual drive motors allow the option of skid steering as well. Two wheels are connected to either side of each cylinder through a pinned bar which allows constant ground contact. Together, these systems allow the rover to easily meet its mobility requirements. A dynamic isotope power system (DIPS), in conjunction with a closed Brayton cycle, supplied the rover with a continuous supply of 8.5 kW. The occupants are all protected from the DIPS system's radiation by a shield of tantalum. The large amount of heat produced by the DIPS and other rover systems is rejected by thermal radiators. The thermal radiators and solar collectors are located on the top of the rear cylinder. The solar collectors are used to recharge batteries for peak power periods. The rover's shell is made of graphite-epoxy coated with multi-layer insulation (MLI). The graphite-epoxy provides strength while the thermally resistant MLI gives protection from the lunar environment. An elastomer separates the two materials to compensate for the thermal mismatch. The communications system allows for communication with the lunar base with an option for direct communication with earth via a lunar satellite link. The various links are combined into one

  3. Enhanced Reporting of Mars Exploration Rover Telemetry

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maimone, Mark W.; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey J.; Liebersbach, Robert T.; Carsten, Joseph L.; Leger, Chris

    2008-01-01

    Mars Exploration Rover Enhanced Telemetry Extraction and Reporting System (METERS) is software that generates a human-readable representation of the state of the mobility and arm-related systems of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) vehicles on each Martian solar day (sol). Data are received from the MER spacecraft in multiple streams having various formats including text messages, sparsely-sampled engineering quantities, images, and individual motor-command histories.

  4. Mars Rover Curiosity Traverses of Sand Ripples

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stein, N.; Arvidson, R. E.; Zhou, F.; Heverly, M.; Maimone, M.; Hartman, F.; Bellutta, P.; Iagnemma, K.; Senatore, C.

    2014-12-01

    Martian sand ripples present a challenge for rover mobility, with drives over ripples often characterized by high wheel sinkage and slippage that can lead to incipient embedding. Since landing in Gale Crater, Curiosity has traversed multiple sand ripples, including the transverse aeolian ridge (TAR) straddling Dingo Gap on sols 533 and 535. On sol 672, Curiosity crossed backward over a series of sand ripples before ending its drive after high motor currents initiated visual odometry (VO) processing, which detected 77% slip, well in excess of the imposed 60% slip limit. At the end of the drive, the right front wheel was deeply embedded at the base of a ripple flank with >20 cm sinkage and the rear wheels were near a ripple crest. As Curiosity continues its approach to Mount Sharp it will have to cross multiple ripples, and thus it is important to understand Curiosity's performance on sol 672 and over similar ripples. To this end the sol 672 drive was simulated in ARTEMIS (Adams-Based Rover Terramechanics Interaction Simulator), a software tool consisting of realistic rover mechanical models, a wheel-terrain interaction module for deformable and non-deformable surfaces, and realistic terrain models. ARTEMIS results, Dumont Dunes tests performed in the Mojave Desert using the Scarecrow test rover, and single wheel tests performed at MIT indicate that the high slip encountered on sol 672 likely occurred due to a combination of rover attack angle, ripple geometry, and soil properties. When ripple wavelength approaches vehicle length, the rover can reach orientations in which the leading wheels carry minimal normal loads and the trailing wheels sink deeply, resulting in high slippage and insufficient thrust to propel the rover over ripples. Even on relatively benign (i.e. low tilt) terrains, local morphology can impose high sinkage, thus impeding rover motion. Work is underway to quantify Curiosity's drive performance over various ripple geometries to retrieve soil

  5. Beam-powered lunar rover design

    SciTech Connect

    Dagle, J.E.; Coomes, E.P.; Antoniak, Z.I.; Bamberger, J.A.; Bates, J.M.; Chiu, M.A.; Dodge, R.E.; Wise, J.A.

    1992-03-01

    Manned exploration of our nearest neighbors in the solar systems is the primary goal of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). An integral part of any manned lunar or planetary outpost will be a system for manned excursions over the surface of the planet. This report presents a preliminary design for a lunar rover capable of supporting four astronauts on long-duration excursions across the lunar landscape. The distinguishing feature of this rover design is that power is provided to rover via a laser beam from an independent orbiting power satellite. This system design provides very high power availability with minimal mass on the rover vehicle. With this abundance of power, and with a relatively small power-system mass contained in the rover, the vehicle can perform an impressive suite of mission-related activity. The rover might be used as the first outpost for the lunar surface (i.e., a mobile base). A mobile base has the advantage of providing extensive mission activities without the expense of establishing a fixed base. This concept has been referred to as Rove First.'' A manned over, powered through a laser beam, has been designed for travel on the lunar surface for round-trip distances in the range of 1000 km, although the actual distance traveled is not crucial since the propulsion system does not rely on energy storage. The life support system can support a 4-person crew for up to 30 days, and ample power is available for mission-related activities. The 8000-kg rover has 30 kW of continuous power available via a laser transmitter located at the Earth-moon L1 libration point, about 50,000 km above the surface of the moon. This rover, which is designed to operate in either day or night conditions, has the flexibility to perform a variety of power-intensive missions. 24 refs.

  6. Beam-powered lunar rover design

    SciTech Connect

    Dagle, J.E.; Coomes, E.P.; Antoniak, Z.I.; Bamberger, J.A.; Bates, J.M.; Chiu, M.A.; Dodge, R.E.; Wise, J.A.

    1992-03-01

    Manned exploration of our nearest neighbors in the solar systems is the primary goal of the Space Exploration Initiative (SEI). An integral part of any manned lunar or planetary outpost will be a system for manned excursions over the surface of the planet. This report presents a preliminary design for a lunar rover capable of supporting four astronauts on long-duration excursions across the lunar landscape. The distinguishing feature of this rover design is that power is provided to rover via a laser beam from an independent orbiting power satellite. This system design provides very high power availability with minimal mass on the rover vehicle. With this abundance of power, and with a relatively small power-system mass contained in the rover, the vehicle can perform an impressive suite of mission-related activity. The rover might be used as the first outpost for the lunar surface (i.e., a mobile base). A mobile base has the advantage of providing extensive mission activities without the expense of establishing a fixed base. This concept has been referred to as ``Rove First.`` A manned over, powered through a laser beam, has been designed for travel on the lunar surface for round-trip distances in the range of 1000 km, although the actual distance traveled is not crucial since the propulsion system does not rely on energy storage. The life support system can support a 4-person crew for up to 30 days, and ample power is available for mission-related activities. The 8000-kg rover has 30 kW of continuous power available via a laser transmitter located at the Earth-moon L1 libration point, about 50,000 km above the surface of the moon. This rover, which is designed to operate in either day or night conditions, has the flexibility to perform a variety of power-intensive missions. 24 refs.

  7. A Landsailing Rover for Venus Mobility

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Landis, G.

    The surface of Venus is a location that is of great interest for future scientific exploration, but designing a rover that can move and conduct science operations on Venus is a difficult task. Electronic and materials technologies are available that could survive the furnace of Venus, but such a rover represents a challenging design problem. One approach to the problem is to make use of the features of the Venus environment, such as the thick atmosphere. A new approach for rover mobility is proposed, in which the rover motive force is produced by a sail. Such a Venus landsailing rover could be small and low powered, since the main power required for motion is generated by the wind, rather than by motors. Although the wind velocities on Venus are low, estimated at 0.6 ± 0.3 m/sec at the Venera landing sites, due to the high density of the atmosphere, sufficient force would be generated on a sail to allow good mobility for a lightweight rover.

  8. Design of a wheeled articulating land rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stauffer, Larry; Dilorenzo, Mathew; Yandle, Barbara

    1994-01-01

    The WALRUS is a wheeled articulating land rover that will provide Ames Research Center with a reliable, autonomous vehicle for demonstrating and evaluating advanced technologies. The vehicle is one component of the Ames Research Center's on-going Human Exploration Demonstration Project. Ames Research Center requested a system capable of traversing a broad spectrum of surface types and obstacles. In addition, this vehicle must have an autonomous navigation and control system on board and its own source of power. The resulting design is a rover that articulates in two planes of motion to allow for increased mobility and stability. The rover is driven by six conical shaped aluminum wheels, each with an independent, internally coupled motor. Mounted on the rover are two housings and a removable remote control system. In the housings, the motor controller board, tilt sensor, navigation circuitry, and QED board are mounted. Finally, the rover's motors and electronics are powered by thirty C-cell rechargeable batteries, which are located in the rover wheels and recharged by a specially designed battery charger.

  9. Automated Targeting for the MER Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Estlin, Tara; Castano, Rebecca; Anderson, Robert C.; Bornstein, Benjamin; Gaines, Daniel; de Granville, Charles; Thompson, David; Burl, Michael; Chien, Steve; Judd, Michele

    2009-01-01

    The Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science System (AEGIS) will soon provide automated targeting for remote sensing instruments on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, which currently which currently has two rovers exploring the surface of Mars. Currently, targets for rover remote-sensing instruments, especially narrow field-of-view instruments (such as the MER Mini- TES spectrometer or the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission ChemCam Spectrometer), must be selected manually based on imagery already on the ground with the operations team. AEGIS enables the rover flight software to analyze imagery onboard in order to autonomously select and sequence targeted remote-sensing observations in an opportunistic fashion. In this paper, we first provide some background information on the larger autonomous science framework in which AEGIS was developed. We then describe how AEGIS was specifically developed and tested on the JPL FIDO rover. Finally we discuss how AEGIS will be uploaded and used on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission in early 2009.

  10. VIPER: Virtual Intelligent Planetary Exploration Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Edwards, Laurence; Flueckiger, Lorenzo; Nguyen, Laurent; Washington, Richard

    2001-01-01

    Simulation and visualization of rover behavior are critical capabilities for scientists and rover operators to construct, test, and validate plans for commanding a remote rover. The VIPER system links these capabilities. using a high-fidelity virtual-reality (VR) environment. a kinematically accurate simulator, and a flexible plan executive to allow users to simulate and visualize possible execution outcomes of a plan under development. This work is part of a larger vision of a science-centered rover control environment, where a scientist may inspect and explore the environment via VR tools, specify science goals, and visualize the expected and actual behavior of the remote rover. The VIPER system is constructed from three generic systems, linked together via a minimal amount of customization into the integrated system. The complete system points out the power of combining plan execution, simulation, and visualization for envisioning rover behavior; it also demonstrates the utility of developing generic technologies. which can be combined in novel and useful ways.

  11. Ground-Based Localization of Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trebi-Ollennu, Ashitey

    2006-01-01

    The document discusses a procedure for localizing the Mars rovers in site frame, a locally defined reference frame on the Martian surface. MER onboard position within a site frame is estimated onboard and is based on wheel odometry. Odometry estimation of rover position is only reliable over relatively short distances assuming no wheel slip, sinkage, etc. As the rover traverses, its onboard estimate of position in the current site frame accumulates errors and will need to be corrected on occasions via relocalization on the ground (mission operations). The procedure provides a systematic process for ground operators to localize the rover. The method focuses on analysis of acquired images used to declare a site frame and images acquired post-drive. Target selection is performed using two main steps. In the first step, the user identifies features of interest from the images used to declare the current site. Each of the selected target s position in site frame is recorded. In the second step, post-traverse measurements of the selected features positions are recorded again, this time in rover frame, using images acquired post-traverse. In the third step, we transform the post-traverse target s positions to local level frame. In the fourth step, we compute the delta differences in the pre- and post-traverse target s position. In the fifth step, we analyze the delta differences with techniques that compute their statistics to determine the rover s position in the site frame.

  12. Mars Exploration Rover thermal test program overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pauken, Michael T.; Kinsella, Gary; Novak, Keith; Tsuyuki, Glenn

    2004-01-01

    In January 2004, two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) landed on the surface of Mars to begin their mission as robotic geologists. A year prior to these historic landings, both rovers and the spacecraft that delivered them to Mars, were completing a series of environmental tests in facilities at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This paper describes the test program undertaken to validate the thermal design and verify the workmanship integrity of both rovers and the spacecraft. The spacecraft, which contained the rover within the aeroshell, were tested in a 7.5 m diameter thermal vacuum chamber. Thermal balance was performed for the near earth (hot case) condition and for the near Mars (cold case) condition. A solar simulator was used to provide the solar boundary condition on the solar array. IR lamps were used to simulate the solar heat load on the aeroshell for the off-sun attitudes experienced by the spacecraft during its cruise to Mars. Each rover was tested separately in a 3.0 m diameter thermal vacuum chamber over conditions simulating the warmest and coldest expected Mars diurnal temperature cycles. The environmental tests were conducted in a quiescent nitrogen atmosphere at a pressure of 8 to 10 Torr. In addition to thermal balance testing, the science instruments on board the rovers were tested successfully in the extreme environmental conditions anticipated for the mission. A solar simulator was not used in these tests.

  13. The Extended Mission Rover (EMR)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shields, W.; Halecki, Anthony; Chung, Manh; Clarke, Ken; Frankle, Kevin; Kassemkhani, Fariba; Kuhlhoff, John; Lenzini, Josh; Lobdell, David; Morgan, Sam

    1992-01-01

    A key component in ensuring America's status as a leader in the global community is its active pursuit of space exploration. On the twentieth anniversary of Apollo 11, President George Bush challenged the nation to place a man on the moon permanently and to conduct human exploration of Mars in the 21st century. The students of the FAMU/FSU College of Engineering hope to make a significant contribution to this challenge, America's Space Exploration Initiative (SEI), with their participation in the NASA/USRA Advanced Design Program. The project selected by the 1991/1992 Aerospace Design group is the design of an Extended Mission Rover (EMR) for use on the lunar surface. This vehicle will serve as a mobile base to provide future astronauts with a 'shirt-sleeve' living and working environment. Some of the proposed missions are planetary surface exploration, construction and maintenance, hardware setup, and in situ resource experimentation. This vehicle will be put into use in the 2010-2030 time frame.

  14. Viking and Mars Rover exobiology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schwartz, D. E.; Mancinelli, Rocco L.; Ohara, B. J.

    1989-01-01

    Other than Earth, Mars is the planet generating the greatest interest among those researching and contemplating the origin and distribution of life throughout the universe. The similarity of the early environments of Earth and Mars, and the biological evolution on early Earth provides the motivation to seriously consider the possibility of a primordial Martian biosphere. In 1975 the Viking project launched two unmanned spacecraft to Mars with the intent of finding evidence of the existence of present or past life on this planet. Three Viking Biology experiments were employed: the Labeled Release experiment, the Gas Exchange Experiment, and the Pyrolytic Release experiment. Each of these three experiments tested for microbial existence and utilization of a substrate by examining the gases evolved from specific chemical reactions. Although the results of these experiments were inconclusive, they inferred that there are no traces of extant life on Mars. However, the experiments did not specifically look for indication of extinct life. Therefore, most of the exobiologic strategies and experiments suggested for the Mars Rover Sample Return Mission involve searching for signature of extinct life. The most significant biological signatures and chemical traces to detect include: isotopic and chemical signatures of metabolic activity, anomalous concentrations of certain metals, trace and microfossils, organically preserved materials, carbonates, nitrates, and evaporites.

  15. Contingency Planning for Planetary Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Dearden, Richard; Meuleau, Nicolas; Ramakrishnan, Sailesh; Smith, David; Washington, Rich; Clancy, Daniel (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    There has been considerable work in AI on planning under uncertainty. But this work generally assumes an extremely simple model of action that does not consider continuous time and resources. These assumptions are not reasonable for a Mars rover, which must cope with uncertainty about the duration of tasks, the power required, the data storage necessary, along with its position and orientation. In this paper, we outline an approach to generating contingency plans when the sources of uncertainty involve continuous quantities such as time and resources. The approach involves first constructing a "seed" plan, and then incrementally adding contingent branches to this plan in order to improve utility. The challenge is to figure out the best places to insert contingency branches. This requires an estimate of how much utility could be gained by building a contingent branch at any given place in the seed plan. Computing this utility exactly is intractable, but we outline an approximation method that back propagates utility distributions through a graph structure similar to that of a plan graph.

  16. Using Planning, Scheduling and Execution for Autonomous Mars Rover Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Estlin, Tara A.; Gaines, Daniel M.; Chouinard, Caroline M.; Fisher, Forest W.; Castano, Rebecca; Judd, Michele J.; Nesnas, Issa A.

    2006-01-01

    With each new rover mission to Mars, rovers are traveling significantly longer distances. This distance increase raises not only the opportunities for science data collection, but also amplifies the amount of environment and rover state uncertainty that must be handled in rover operations. This paper describes how planning, scheduling and execution techniques can be used onboard a rover to autonomously generate and execute rover activities and in particular to handle new science opportunities that have been identified dynamically. We also discuss some of the particular challenges we face in supporting autonomous rover decision-making. These include interaction with rover navigation and path-planning software and handling large amounts of uncertainty in state and resource estimations. Finally, we describe our experiences in testing this work using several Mars rover prototypes in a realistic environment.

  17. Antenna Designs for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spacecraft, Lander, and Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vacchione, Joseph; Thelen, Michael; Brown, Paula; Huang, John; Kelly, Ken; Krishnan, Satish

    2001-01-01

    This presentation focuses on the design of antennas for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). Specific topics covered include: MER spacecraft architecture, the evolution of an antenna system, MER cruise stage antennas, antenna stacks, the heat-shield/back shell antenna, and lander and rover antennas. Additionally, the mission's science objectives are reviewed.

  18. REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Szilard, L.

    1963-09-10

    A breeder reactor is described, including a mass of fissionable material that is less than critical with respect to unmoderated neutrons and greater than critical with respect to neutrons of average energies substantially greater than thermal, a coolant selected from sodium or sodium--potassium alloys, a control liquid selected from lead or lead--bismuth alloys, and means for varying the quantity of control liquid in the reactor. (AEC)

  19. REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Christy, R.F.

    1961-07-25

    A means is described for co-relating the essential physical requirements of a fission chain reaction in order that practical, compact, and easily controllable reactors can be built. These objects are obtained by employing a composition of fissionsble isotope and moderator in fluid form in which the amount of fissionsble isotcpe present governs the reaction. The size of the reactor is no longer a critical factor, the new criterion being the concentration of the fissionable isotope.

  20. FIDO Rover Retracted Arm and Camera

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1999-01-01

    The Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover extends the large mast that carries its panoramic camera. The FIDO is being used in ongoing NASA field tests to simulate driving conditions on Mars. FIDO is controlled from the mission control room at JPL's Planetary Robotics Laboratory in Pasadena. FIDO uses a robot arm to manipulate science instruments and it has a new mini-corer or drill to extract and cache rock samples. Several camera systems onboard allow the rover to collect science and navigation images by remote-control. The rover is about the size of a coffee table and weighs as much as a St. Bernard, about 70 kilograms (150 pounds). It is approximately 85 centimeters (about 33 inches) wide, 105 centimeters (41 inches) long, and 55 centimeters (22 inches) high. The rover moves up to 300 meters an hour (less than a mile per hour) over smooth terrain, using its onboard stereo vision systems to detect and avoid obstacles as it travels 'on-the-fly.' During these tests, FIDO is powered by both solar panels that cover the top of the rover and by replaceable, rechargeable batteries.

  1. Simulating Operation of a Planetary Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jain, Abhinandan; Yen, Jeng; Sohl, Garrett; Steele, Robert; Balaram, J.

    2004-01-01

    Simulating Operation of a Planetary Rover Rover Analysis, Modeling, and Simulations (ROAMS) is a computer program that simulates the operation of a robotic vehicle (rover) engaged in exploration of a remote planet. ROAMS is a roverspecific extension of the DARTS and Dshell programs, described in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, which afford capabilities for mathematical modeling of the dynamics of a spacecraft as a whole and of its instruments, actuators, and other subsystems. ROAMS incorporates mathematical models of kinematics and dynamics of rover mechanical subsystems, sensors, interactions with terrain, solar panels and batteries, and onboard navigation and locomotion-control software. ROAMS provides a modular simulation framework that can be used for analysis, design, development, testing, and operation of rovers. ROAMS can be used alone for system performance and trade studies. Alternatively, ROAMS can be used in an operator-in-the-loop or flight-software closed-loop environment. ROAMS can also be embedded within other software for use in analysis and development of algorithms, or for Monte Carlo studies, using a variety of terrain models, to generate performance statistics. Moreover, taking advantage of realtime features of the underlying DARTS/Dshell simulation software, ROAMS can also be used for real-time simulations.

  2. Supporting Increased Autonomy for a Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Estlin, Tara; Castano, Rebecca; Gaines, Dan; Bornstein, Ben; Judd, Michele; Anderson, Robert C.; Nesnas, Issa

    2008-01-01

    This paper presents an architecture and a set of technology for performing autonomous science and commanding for a planetary rover. The MER rovers have outperformed all expectations by lasting over 1100 sols (or Martian days), which is an order of magnitude longer than their original mission goal. The longevity of these vehicles will have significant effects on future mission goals, such as objectives for the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission (scheduled to fly in 2009) and the Astrobiology Field Lab rover mission (scheduled to potentially fly in 2016). Common objectives for future rover missions to Mars include the handling of opportunistic science, long-range or multi-sol driving, and onboard fault diagnosis and recovery. To handle these goals, a number of new technologies have been developed and integrated as part of the CLARAty architecture. CLARAty is a unified and reusable robotic architecture that was designed to simplify the integration, testing and maturation of robotic technologies for future missions. This paper focuses on technology comprising the CLARAty Decision Layer, which was designed to support and validate high-level autonomy technologies, such as automated planning and scheduling and onboard data analysis.

  3. Curiosity rover LEGO® version could land soon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2012-09-01

    Now that NASA's Curiosity rover has landed on Mars, a smaller LEGO® plastic brick construction version could be landing in toy stores. Less than 2 weeks after Curiosity set down on 5 August, a LEGO® set concept model designed by a mechanical and aerospace engineer who worked on the real rover garnered its 10,000th supporter on the Web site of CUUSOO, a Japanese partner of the LEGO® group. That milestone triggered a company review that began in September 2012 to test the model's “playability, safety, and ft with the LEGO® brand,” according to a congratulatory statement from the company to designer Stephen Pakbaz. Pakbaz told Eos that he has been an avid LEGO® and space exploration fan for most of his life. “For me, creating a LEGO® model of Curiosity using my firsthand knowledge of the rover was inevitable. What I enjoyed most was being able to faithfully replicate and subsequently demonstrate the rocker-bogie suspension system to friends, family, and coworkers,” he noted, referring to the suspension system that allows the rover to climb over obstacles while keeping its wheels on the ground. Pakbaz, who is currently with Orbital Sciences Corporation, was involved with aspects of the rover while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 2007 to 2011 as a mechanical engineer.

  4. Autonomous Path Tracking Steering Controller for Extraterrestrial Terrain Exporation Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ahmed, Mohammed; Sonsalla, Roland; Kirchner, Frank

    Extraterrestrial surface missions typically use a robotic rover platform to carry the science instrumentation (e.g.,the twin MER rovers). Due to the risks in the rover path (i.e. low trafficability of unrecognized soil patches), it is proposed in the FASTER footnote{\\url{https://www.faster-fp7-space.eu}} project that two rovers should be used. A micro scout rover is used for determining the traversability of the terrain and collaborate with a primary rover to lower the risk of entering hazardous areas. That will improve the mission safety and the effective traverse speed for planetary rover exploration. This paper presents the design and implementation of the path following controller for micro scout rover. The objective to synthesize a control law which allows the rover to autonomously follow a desired path in a stable manner. Furthermore, the software architecture controlling the rover and all its subsystems is depicted. The performance of the designed controller is discussed and demonstrated with realistic simulations and experiments, conclusions and an outlook of future work are also given. Key words: Micro Rover, Scout Rover, Mars Exploration, Multi-Rover Team, Mobile, All-Terrain, Hybrid-Legged Wheel, Path Following, Automatic Steer, nonlinear systems.

  5. REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Roman, W.G.

    1961-06-27

    A pressurized water reactor in which automatic control is achieved by varying the average density of the liquid moderator-cooiant is patented. Density is controlled by the temperature and power level of the reactor ftself. This control can be effected by the use of either plate, pellet, or tubular fuel elements. The fuel elements are disposed between upper and lower coolant plenum chambers and are designed to permit unrestricted coolant flow. The control chamber has an inlet opening communicating with the lower coolant plenum chamber and a restricted vapor vent communicating with the upper coolant plenum chamber. Thus, a variation in temperature of the fuel elements will cause a variation in the average moderator density in the chamber which directly affects the power level of the reactor.

  6. REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Spitzer, L. Jr.

    1961-10-01

    Thermonuclear reactors, methods, and apparatus are described for controlling and confining high temperature plasma. Main axial confining coils in combination with helical windings provide a rotational transform that avoids the necessity of a figure-eight shaped reactor tube. The helical windings provide a multipolar helical magnetic field transverse to the axis of the main axial confining coils so as to improve the effectiveness of the confining field by counteracting the tendency of the more central lines of force in the stellarator tube to exchange positions with the magnetic lines of force nearer the walls of the tube. (AEC)

  7. Preliminary assessment of the power requirements of a manned rover for Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Morley, Nicholas J.; Cataldo, Robert; Bloomfield, Harvey

    1990-01-01

    A preliminary study to determine the total mass and power requirements of a manned Mars rover is presented. Estimates of the power requirements for the nuclear reactor power system are determined as functions of the number of crew members, the emergency return trip scenario in case of a total malfunction of the reactor system, the cruising speed and range of the vehicle, and the specific mass of the power system. It is shown that the cruising speed of the vehicle and the soil traction factor significantly affect the traversing power requirement and therefore the mass of the nuclear power system. The cruising speed of the vehicle must be limited to 14.5 and 24 km/hr for power system specific masses of 150 kg/kWe and 50 kg/kWe, respectively, for the nuclear power system mass not to exceed 50 percent of the total mass of the rover.

  8. Activity Planning for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bresina, John L.; Jonsson, Ari K.; Morris, Paul H.; Rajan, Kanna

    2004-01-01

    Operating the Mars Exploration Rovers is a challenging, time-pressured task. Each day, the operations team must generate a new plan describing the rover activities for the next day. These plans must abide by resource limitations, safety rules, and temporal constraints. The objective is to achieve as much science as possible, choosing from a set of observation requests that oversubscribe rover resources. In order to accomplish this objective, given the short amount of planning time available, the MAPGEN (Mixed-initiative Activity Plan GENerator) system was made a mission-critical part of the ground operations system. MAPGEN is a mixed-initiative system that employs automated constraint-based planning, scheduling, and temporal reasoning to assist operations staff in generating the daily activity plans. This paper describes the adaptation of constraint-based planning and temporal reasoning to a mixed-initiative setting and the key technical solutions developed for the mission deployment of MAPGEN.

  9. Mars Exploration Rover Heat Shield Recontact Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Raiszadeh, Behzad; Desai, Prasun N.; Michelltree, Robert

    2011-01-01

    The twin Mars Exploration Rover missions landed successfully on Mars surface in January of 2004. Both missions used a parachute system to slow the rover s descent rate from supersonic to subsonic speeds. Shortly after parachute deployment, the heat shield, which protected the rover during the hypersonic entry phase of the mission, was jettisoned using push-off springs. Mission designers were concerned about the heat shield recontacting the lander after separation, so a separation analysis was conducted to quantify risks. This analysis was used to choose a proper heat shield ballast mass to ensure successful separation with low probability of recontact. This paper presents the details of such an analysis, its assumptions, and the results. During both landings, the radar was able to lock on to the heat shield, measuring its distance, as it descended away from the lander. This data is presented and is used to validate the heat shield separation/recontact analysis.

  10. Decision-Theoretic Control of Planetary Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zilberstein, Shlomo; Washington, Richard; Bernstein, Daniel S.; Mouaddib, Abdel-Illah; Morris, Robert (Technical Monitor)

    2003-01-01

    Planetary rovers are small unmanned vehicles equipped with cameras and a variety of sensors used for scientific experiments. They must operate under tight constraints over such resources as operation time, power, storage capacity, and communication bandwidth. Moreover, the limited computational resources of the rover limit the complexity of on-line planning and scheduling. We describe two decision-theoretic approaches to maximize the productivity of planetary rovers: one based on adaptive planning and the other on hierarchical reinforcement learning. Both approaches map the problem into a Markov decision problem and attempt to solve a large part of the problem off-line, exploiting the structure of the plan and independence between plan components. We examine the advantages and limitations of these techniques and their scalability.

  11. Tracking Positions and Attitudes of Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ali, Khaled; vanelli, Charles; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey; Martin, Alejandro San; Maimone, Mark; Cheng, Yang; Alexander, James

    2006-01-01

    The Surface Attitude Position and Pointing (SAPP) software, which runs on computers aboard the Mars Exploration Rovers, tracks the positions and attitudes of the rovers on the surface of Mars. Each rover acquires data on attitude from a combination of accelerometer readings and images of the Sun acquired autonomously, using a pointable camera to search the sky for the Sun. Depending on the nature of movement commanded remotely by operators on Earth, the software propagates attitude and position by use of either (1) accelerometer and gyroscope readings or (2) gyroscope readings and wheel odometry. Where necessary, visual odometry is performed on images to fine-tune the position updates, particularly on high-wheel-slip terrain. The attitude data are used by other software and ground-based personnel for pointing a high-gain antenna, planning and execution of driving, and positioning and aiming scientific instruments.

  12. The NASA Langley Mars Tumbleweed Rover Prototype

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Chattin, Richard L.; Copeland, Benjamin M.; Krizann, Shawn A.

    2005-01-01

    Mars Tumbleweed is a concept for an autonomous rover that would achieve mobility through use of the natural winds on Mars. The wind-blown nature of this vehicle make it an ideal platform for conducting random surveys of the surface, scouting for signs of past or present life as well as examining the potential habitability of sites for future human exploration. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) has been studying the dynamics, aerodynamics, and mission concepts of Tumbleweed rovers and has recently developed a prototype Mars Tumbleweed Rover for demonstrating mission concepts and science measurement techniques. This paper will provide an overview of the prototype design, instrumentation to be accommodated, preliminary test results, and plans for future development and testing of the vehicle.

  13. Photogrammetric processing of rover imagery of the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Di, Kaichang; Xu, Fengliang; Wang, Jue; Agarwal, Sanchit; Brodyagina, Evgenia; Li, Rongxing; Matthies, Larry

    In the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, the twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, carry identical Athena instrument payloads and engineering cameras for exploration of the Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum landing sites. This paper presents the photogrammetric processing techniques for high accuracy topographic mapping and rover localization at the two landing sites. Detailed discussions about camera models, reference frames, interest point matching, automatic tie point selection, image network construction, incremental bundle adjustment, and topographic product generation are given. The developed rover localization method demonstrated the capability of correcting position errors caused by wheel slippages, azimuthal angle drift and other navigation errors. A comparison was also made between the bundle-adjusted rover traverse and the rover track imaged from the orbit. Mapping products including digital terrain models, orthophotos, and rover traverse maps have been generated for over two years of operations, and disseminated to scientists and engineers of the mission through a web-based GIS. The maps and localization information have been extensively used to support tactical operations and strategic planning of the mission.

  14. Exomars 2018 Rover Pasteur Payload Sample Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Debus, Andre; Bacher, M.; Ball, A.; Barcos, O.; Bethge, B.; Gaubert, F.; Haldemann, A.; Kminek, G.; Lindner, R.; Pacros, A.; Rohr, T.; Trautner, R.; Vago, J.

    The ExoMars programme is a joint ESA-NASA program having exobiology as one of the key science objectives. It is divided into 2 missions: the first mission is ESA-led with an ESA orbiter and an ESA Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) demonstrator, launched in 2016 by NASA, and the second mission is NASA-led, launched in 2018 by NASA including an ESA rover and a NASA rover both deployed by a single NASA EDL system. For ESA, the ExoMars programme will demonstrate key flight and in situ enabling technologies in support of the European ambitions for future exploration missions, as outlined in the Aurora Declaration. The ExoMars 2018 ESA Rover will carry a comprehensive and coherent suite of analytical instruments dedicated to exobiology and geology research: the Pasteur Payload (PPL). This payload includes a selection of complementary instruments, having the following goals: to search for signs of past and present life on Mars and to investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface. The ExoMars Rover will travel several kilometres searching for sites warranting further investigation. The Rover includes a drill and a Sample Preparation and Distribution System which will be used to collect and analyse samples from within outcrops and from the subsurface. The Rover systems and instruments, in particular those located inside the Analytical Laboratory Drawer must meet many stringent requirements to be compatible with exobiologic investigations: the samples must be maintained in a cold and uncontaminated environment, requiring sterile and ultraclean preparation of the instruments, to preserve volatile materials and to avoid false positive results. The value of the coordinated observations suggests that a significant return on investment is to be expected from this complex development. We will present the challenges facing the ExoMars PPL, and the plans for sending a robust exobiology laboratory to Mars in 2018.

  15. The selection and infusion of autonomy for Mars rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Woerner, D. F.

    2002-01-01

    This paper describes the process MSL in using to infuse autonomy into a rover, and describes attributes, and evaluation criteria and their use pertinent to autonomy technologies for Mars rovers in general.

  16. Rover's Eye View of Three-Year Trek on Mars

    NASA Video Gallery

    During the three-year trek of NASA's Mars Rover Opportunity from Victoria crater to Endeavour crater, rover planners captured a horizon photograph at the end of each drive. 309 images taken during ...

  17. NASA Lands Car-sized Rover on Martian Surface

    NASA Video Gallery

    NASA's most advanced Mars rover Curiosity has landed on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto Mars Sunday to end a 36-week flight and begin a...

  18. Robotic Arm and Rover Actuator Systems for Mars Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reid, L.; Brawn, D.; Noon, D.

    1999-01-01

    Missions such as the Sojourner Rover, the Robotic Arm for Mars Polar Lander, and the 2003 Mars Rover, Athena, use numerous actuators that must operate reliably in extreme environments for long periods of time.

  19. Mars Exploration Rover surface operations: driving opportunity at Meridiani Planum

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Biesiadecki, Jeffrey J.; Baumgartner, E.; Bonitz, R.; Cooper, B.; Hartman, F.; Leger, C.; Maimone, M.; Maxwell, S.; Trebi-Ollenu, A.; Wright, J.

    2005-01-01

    This paper will detail the experience of driving Opportunity through this alien landscape from the point of view of the Rover Planners, the people who tell the rover where to drive and how to use its robotic arm.

  20. Mars Exploration Rovers: 4 Years on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.

    2008-01-01

    This January, the Mars Exploration Rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity" are starting their fifth year of exploring the surface of Mars, well over ten times their nominal 90-day design lifetime. This lecture discusses the Mars Exploration Rovers, presents the current mission status for the extended mission, some of the most results from the mission and how it is affecting our current view of Mars, and briefly presents the plans for the coming NASA missions to the surface of Mars and concepts for exploration with robots and humans into the next decade, and beyond.

  1. Mars pathfinder Rover egress deployable ramp assembly

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Spence, Brian R.; Sword, Lee F.

    1996-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder Program is a NASA Discovery Mission, led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to launch and place a small planetary Rover for exploration on the Martian surface. To enable safe and successful egress of the Rover vehicle from the spacecraft, a pair of flight-qualified, deployable ramp assemblies have been developed. This paper focuses on the unique, lightweight deployable ramp assemblies. A brief mission overview and key design requirements are discussed. Design and development activities leading to qualification and flight systems are presented.

  2. Hazard Avoidance For A Mars Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spiessbach, Andrew J.

    1989-03-01

    The challenging geology of the surface of Mars, when coupled with the impossibility of continuous remote driving from Earth, dictate the need for autonomous hazard detection, recognition and possibly hazard avoidance capabilities onboard any robotic Mars roving vehicle. The main technical issues represented by terrain hazards are accidental damage and vehicle entrapment. Several approaches to vehicle design geared to prevent such immobilization threats are identified. The gamut of alternatives for rover autonomy are also presented, and the applicability of the various options for the Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) mission are assessed in the context of the technology state of the art for hazard sensors and processing algorithms.

  3. Mars Rover imaging systems and directional filtering

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wang, Paul P.

    1989-01-01

    Computer literature searches were carried out at Duke University and NASA Langley Research Center. The purpose is to enhance personal knowledge based on the technical problems of pattern recognition and image understanding which must be solved for the Mars Rover and Sample Return Mission. Intensive study effort of a large collection of relevant literature resulted in a compilation of all important documents in one place. Furthermore, the documents are being classified into: Mars Rover; computer vision (theory); imaging systems; pattern recognition methodologies; and other smart techniques (AI, neural networks, fuzzy logic, etc).

  4. Essential Autonomous Science Inference on Rovers (EASIR)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roush, Ted L.; Shipman, Mark; Morris, Robert; Gazis, Paul; Pedersen, Liam

    2003-01-01

    Existing constraints on time, computational, and communication resources associated with Mars rover missions suggest on-board science evaluation of sensor data can contribute to decreasing human-directed operational planning, optimizing returned science data volumes, and recognition of unique or novel data. All of which act to increase the scientific return from a mission. Many different levels of science autonomy exist and each impacts the data collected and returned by, and activities of, rovers. Several computational algorithms, designed to recognize objects of interest to geologists and biologists, are discussed. The algorithms represent various functions that producing scientific opinions and several scenarios illustrate how the opinions can be used.

  5. Mars Rover and Sample Return Mission design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kwok, Johnny H.; Friedlander, Alan L.

    1989-01-01

    The current reference Mars Rover and Sample Return mission is described. Technical issues are outlined, including high-resolution image acquisition and reconstruction, approach navigation, ground and flight systems operational complexity, rover autonomy, autonomous rendezvous and docking in Mars orbit, aerocapture and aeromaneuver, estimating the probability of mission success, and end-to-end information system design. Focus is placed on lander hazard identification and avoidance, pinpoint landing guidance and control, Mars ascent vehicle guidance and control, planetary protection and quarantine, sample acquisition and preservation, project management and control, systems requirements and interface control, and costing. In addition, program issues such as international participation, fiscal constraints, and launch-vehicle availability are considered.

  6. Lunar rovers and local positioning system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Avery, James; Su, Renjeng

    1991-01-01

    Telerobotic rovers equipped with adequate actuators and sensors are clearly necessary for extraterrestrial construction. They will be employed as substitutes for humans, to perform jobs like surveying, sensing, signaling, manipulating, and the handling of small materials. Important design criteria for these rovers include versatility and robustness. They must be easily programmed and reprogrammed to perform a wide variety of different functions, and they must be robust so that construction work will not be jeopardized by parts failures. The key qualities and functions necessary for these rovers to achieve the required versatility and robustness are modularity, redundancy, and coordination. Three robotic rovers are being built by CSC as a test bed to implement the concepts of modularity and coordination. The specific goal of the design and construction of these robots is to demonstrate the software modularity and multirobot control algorithms required for the physical manipulation of constructible elements. Each rover consists of a transporter platform, bus manager, simple manipulator, and positioning receivers. These robots will be controlled from a central control console via a radio-frequency local area network (LAN). To date, one prototype transporter platform frame was built with batteries, motors, a prototype single-motor controller, and two prototype internal LAN boards. Software modules were developed in C language for monitor functions, i/o, and parallel port usage in each computer board. Also completed are the fabrication of half of the required number of computer boards, the procurement of 19.2 Kbaud RF modems for inter-robot communications, and the simulation of processing requirements for positioning receivers. In addition to the robotic platform, the fabrication of a local positioning system based on infrared signals is nearly completed. This positioning system will make the rovers into a moving reference system capable of performing site surveys. In

  7. Lunar rovers and local positioning system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Avery, James; Su, Renjeng

    1991-11-01

    Telerobotic rovers equipped with adequate actuators and sensors are clearly necessary for extraterrestrial construction. They will be employed as substitutes for humans, to perform jobs like surveying, sensing, signaling, manipulating, and the handling of small materials. Important design criteria for these rovers include versatility and robustness. They must be easily programmed and reprogrammed to perform a wide variety of different functions, and they must be robust so that construction work will not be jeopardized by parts failures. The key qualities and functions necessary for these rovers to achieve the required versatility and robustness are modularity, redundancy, and coordination. Three robotic rovers are being built by CSC as a test bed to implement the concepts of modularity and coordination. The specific goal of the design and construction of these robots is to demonstrate the software modularity and multirobot control algorithms required for the physical manipulation of constructible elements. Each rover consists of a transporter platform, bus manager, simple manipulator, and positioning receivers. These robots will be controlled from a central control console via a radio-frequency local area network (LAN). To date, one prototype transporter platform frame was built with batteries, motors, a prototype single-motor controller, and two prototype internal LAN boards. Software modules were developed in C language for monitor functions, i/o, and parallel port usage in each computer board. Also completed are the fabrication of half of the required number of computer boards, the procurement of 19.2 Kbaud RF modems for inter-robot communications, and the simulation of processing requirements for positioning receivers. In addition to the robotic platform, the fabrication of a local positioning system based on infrared signals is nearly completed. This positioning system will make the rovers into a moving reference system capable of performing site surveys. In

  8. Shark as viewed by Sojourner Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    This close-up image of Shark, in the Bookshelf at the back of the Rock Garden, was taken by Sojourner Rover on Sol 75. Also in the image are Half Dome (right) and Desert Princess (lower right). At the bottom left, a thin 'crusty' soil layer has been disturbed by the rover wheels.

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  9. Artemis Simulation of Curiosity Rover Traverse Across Dingo Gap

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stein, N. T.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bellutta, P.; Heverly, M.

    2014-07-01

    Artemis was employed to model the Curiosity Rover traverse of Dingo Gap on Sols 533 and 535. The simulated performance of the Opportunity Rover over Dingo Gap is compared with that of Curiosity and results are compared with rover field tests.

  10. Robust Coordination for Large Sets of Simple Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tumer, Kagan; Agogino, Adrian

    2006-01-01

    The ability to coordinate sets of rovers in an unknown environment is critical to the long-term success of many of NASA;s exploration missions. Such coordination policies must have the ability to adapt in unmodeled or partially modeled domains and must be robust against environmental noise and rover failures. In addition such coordination policies must accommodate a large number of rovers, without excessive and burdensome hand-tuning. In this paper we present a distributed coordination method that addresses these issues in the domain of controlling a set of simple rovers. The application of these methods allows reliable and efficient robotic exploration in dangerous, dynamic, and previously unexplored domains. Most control policies for space missions are directly programmed by engineers or created through the use of planning tools, and are appropriate for single rover missions or missions requiring the coordination of a small number of rovers. Such methods typically require significant amounts of domain knowledge, and are difficult to scale to large numbers of rovers. The method described in this article aims to address cases where a large number of rovers need to coordinate to solve a complex time dependent problem in a noisy environment. In this approach, each rover decomposes a global utility, representing the overall goal of the system, into rover-specific utilities that properly assign credit to the rover s actions. Each rover then has the responsibility to create a control policy that maximizes its own rover-specific utility. We show a method of creating rover-utilities that are "aligned" with the global utility, such that when the rovers maximize their own utility, they also maximize the global utility. In addition we show that our method creates rover-utilities that allow the rovers to create their control policies quickly and reliably. Our distributed learning method allows large sets rovers be used unmodeled domains, while providing robustness against

  11. REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Spitzer, L. Jr.

    1962-01-01

    The system conteraplates ohmically heating a gas to high temperatures such as are useful in thermonuclear reactors of the stellarator class. To this end the gas is ionized and an electric current is applied to the ionized gas ohmically to heat the gas while the ionized gas is confined to a central portion of a reaction chamber. Additionally, means are provided for pumping impurities from the gas and for further heating the gas. (AEC)

  12. Magnetically Attached Multifunction Maintenance Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bar-Cohen, Yoseph; Joffe, Benjamin

    2005-01-01

    A versatile mobile telerobot, denoted the magnetically attached multifunction maintenance rover (MAGMER), has been proposed for use in the inspection and maintenance of the surfaces of ships, tanks containing petrochemicals, and other large ferromagnetic structures. As its name suggests, this robot would utilize magnetic attraction to adhere to a structure. As it moved along the surface of the structure, the MAGMER would perform tasks that could include close-up visual inspection by use of video cameras, various sensors, and/or removal of paint by water-jet blasting, laser heating, or induction heating. The water-jet nozzles would be mounted coaxially within compressed-air-powered venturi nozzles that would collect the paint debris dislodged by the jets. The MAGMER would be deployed, powered, and controlled from a truck, to which it would be connected by hoses for water, compressed air, and collection of debris and by cables for electric power and communication (see Figure 1). The operation of the MAGMER on a typical large structure would necessitate the use of long cables and hoses, which can be heavy. To reduce the load of the hoses and cables on the MAGMER and thereby ensure its ability to adhere to vertical and overhanging surfaces, the hoses and cables would be paid out through telescopic booms that would be parts of a MAGMER support system. The MAGMER would move by use of four motorized, steerable wheels, each of which would be mounted in an assembly that would include permanent magnets and four pole pieces (see Figure 2). The wheels would protrude from between the pole pieces by only about 3 mm, so that the gap between the pole pieces and the ferromagnetic surface would be just large enough to permit motion along the surface but not so large as to reduce the magnetic attraction excessively. In addition to the wheel assemblies, the MAGMER would include magnetic adherence enhancement fixtures, which would comprise arrays of permanent magnets and pole pieces

  13. Rover/NERVA-derived near-term nuclear propulsion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1993-01-01

    FY-92 accomplishments centered on conceptual design and analyses for 25, 50, and 75 K engines with emphasis on the 50 K engine. During the first period of performance, flow and energy balances were prepared for each of these configurations and thrust-to-weight values were estimated. A review of fuel technology and key data from the Rover/NERVA program established a baseline for proven reactor performance and areas of enhancement to meet near-term goals. Studies were performed of the criticality and temperature profiles for probable fuel and moderator loadings for the three engine sizes, with a more detailed analysis of the 50 K size. During the second period of performance, analyses of the 50 K engine continued. A chamber/nozzle contour was selected and heat transfer and fatigue analyses were performed for likely construction materials. Reactor analyses were performed to determine component radiation heating rates, reactor radiation fields, water immersion poisoning requirements, temperature limits for restartability, and a tie-tube thermal analysis. Finally, a brief assessment of key enabling technologies was made, with a view toward identifying development issues and identification of the critical path toward achieving engine qualification within 10 years.

  14. Mars Science Laboratory Rover Mobility Bushing Development

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Riggs, Benjamin

    2008-01-01

    NASA s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Project will send a six-wheeled rover to Mars in 2009. The rover will carry a scientific payload designed to search for organic molecules on the Martian surface during its primary mission. This paper describes the development and testing of a bonded film lubricated bushing system to be used in the mobility system of the rover. The MSL Rover Mobility System contains several pivots that are tightly constrained with respect to mass and volume. These pivots are also exposed to relatively low temperatures (-135 C) during operation. The combination of these constraints led the mobility team to consider the use of solid film lubricated metallic bushings and dry running polymeric bushings in several flight pivot applications. A test program was developed to mitigate the risk associated with using these materials in critical pivots on the MSL vehicle. The program was designed to characterize bushing friction and wear performance over the expected operational temperature range (-135 C to +70 C). Seven different bushing material / lubricant combinations were evaluated to aid in the selection of the final flight pivot bushing material / lubricant combination.

  15. Mars Science Laboratory Rover Actuator Thermal Design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Novak, Keith S.; Liu, Yuanming; Lee, Chern-Jiin; Hendricks, Steven

    2010-01-01

    NASA will launch a 900 kg rover, part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, to Mars in October of 2011. The MSL rover is scheduled to land on Mars in August of 2012. The rover employs 31, electric-motor driven actuators to perform a variety of engineering and science functions including: mobility, camera pointing, telecommunications antenna steering, soil and rock sample acquisition and sample processing. This paper describes the MSL rover actuator thermal design. The actuators have stainless steel housings and planetary gearboxes that are lubricated with a "wet" lubricant. The lubricant viscosity increases with decreasing temperature. Warm-up heaters are required to bring the actuators up to temperature (above -55 C) prior to use in the cold wintertime environment of Mars (when ambient atmosphere temperatures are as cold as -113 C). Analytical thermal models of all 31 MSL actuators have been developed. The actuators have been analyzed and warm-up heaters have been designed to improve actuator performance in cold environments. Thermal hardware for the actuators has been specified, procured and installed. This paper presents actuator thermal analysis predicts, and describes the actuator thermal hardware and its operation. In addition, warm-up heater testing and thermal model correlation efforts for the Remote Sensing Mast (RSM) elevation actuator are discussed.

  16. Exploration Rover Concepts and Development Challenges

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zakrajsek, James J.; McKissock, David B.; Woytach, Jeffrey M.; Zakrajsek, June F.; Oswald, Fred B.; McEntire, Kelly J.; Hill, Gerald M.; Abel, Phillip; Eichenberg, Dennis J.; Goodnight, Thomas W.

    2005-01-01

    This paper presents an overview of exploration rover concepts and the various development challenges associated with each as they are applied to exploration objectives and requirements for missions on the Moon and Mars. A variety of concepts for surface exploration vehicles have been proposed since the initial development of the Apollo-era lunar rover. This paper provides a brief description of the rover concepts, along with a comparison of their relative benefits and limitations. In addition, this paper outlines, and investigates a number of critical development challenges that surface exploration vehicles must address in order to successfully meet the exploration mission vision. These include: mission and environmental challenges, design challenges, and production and delivery challenges. Mission and environmental challenges include effects of terrain, extreme temperature differentials, dust issues, and radiation protection. Design methods are discussed that focus on optimum methods for developing highly reliable, long-life and efficient systems. In addition, challenges associated with delivering a surface exploration system is explored and discussed. Based on all the information presented, modularity will be the single most important factor in the development of a truly viable surface mobility vehicle. To meet mission, reliability, and affordability requirements, surface exploration vehicles, especially pressurized rovers, will need to be modularly designed and deployed across all projected Moon and Mars exploration missions.

  17. The Curiosity Mars Rover's Fault Protection Engine

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benowitz, Ed

    2014-01-01

    The Curiosity Rover, currently operating on Mars, contains flight software onboard to autonomously handle aspects of system fault protection. Over 1000 monitors and 39 responses are present in the flight software. Orchestrating these behaviors is the flight software's fault protection engine. In this paper, we discuss the engine's design, responsibilities, and present some lessons learned for future missions.

  18. Software for Displaying Data from Planetary Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Powell, Mark; Backers, Paul; Norris, Jeffrey; Vona, Marsette; Steinke, Robert

    2003-01-01

    Science Activity Planner (SAP) DownlinkBrowser is a computer program that assists in the visualization of processed telemetric data [principally images, image cubes (that is, multispectral images), and spectra] that have been transmitted to Earth from exploratory robotic vehicles (rovers) on remote planets. It is undergoing adaptation to (1) the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover (a prototype Mars-exploration rover operated on Earth as a test bed) and (2) the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission. This program has evolved from its predecessor - the Web Interface for Telescience (WITS) software - and surpasses WITS in the processing, organization, and plotting of data. SAP DownlinkBrowser creates Extensible Markup Language (XML) files that organize data files, on the basis of content, into a sortable, searchable product database, without the overhead of a relational database. The data-display components of SAP DownlinkBrowser (descriptively named ImageView, 3DView, OrbitalView, PanoramaView, ImageCubeView, and SpectrumView) are designed to run in a memory footprint of at least 256MB on computers that utilize the Windows, Linux, and Solaris operating systems.

  19. ROVER: A prototype active vision system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coombs, David J.; Marsh, Brian D.

    1987-08-01

    The Roving Eyes project is an experiment in active vision. We present the design and implementation of a prototype that tracks colored balls in images from an on-line charge coupled device (CCD) camera. Rover is designed to keep up with its rapidly changing environment by handling best and average case conditions and ignoring the worst case. This allows Rover's techniques to be less sophisticated and consequently faster. Each of Rover's major functional units is relatively isolated from the others, and an executive which knows all the functional units directs the computation by deciding which jobs would be most effective to run. This organization is realized with a priority queue of jobs and their arguments. Rover's structure not only allows it to adapt its strategy to the environment, but also makes the system extensible. A capability can be added to the system by adding a functional module with a well defined interface and by modifying the executive to make use of the new module. The current implementation is discussed in the appendices.

  20. Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) Mission: Mars Rover Technology Workshop

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

    A return to the surface of Mars has long been an objective of NASA mission planners. The ongoing Mars Rover and Sample Return (MRSR) mission study represents the latest stage in that interest. As part of NASA's preparation for a possible MRSR mission, a technology planning workshop was held to attempt to define technology requirements, options, and preliminary plans for the principal areas of Mars rover technology. The proceedings of that workshop are presented.

  1. Rover Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vanelli, Charles A.; Grinblat, Jonathan F.; Sirlin, Samuel W.; Pfister, Sam

    2009-01-01

    The MER (Mars Exploration Rover) Attitude and Pointing System Simulation Testbed Environment (RAPSSTER) provides a simulation platform used for the development and test of GNC (guidance, navigation, and control) flight algorithm designs for the Mars rovers, which was specifically tailored to the MERs, but has since been used in the development of rover algorithms for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) as well. The software provides an integrated simulation and software testbed environment for the development of Mars rover attitude and pointing flight software. It provides an environment that is able to run the MER GNC flight software directly (as opposed to running an algorithmic model of the MER GNC flight code). This improves simulation fidelity and confidence in the results. Further more, the simulation environment allows the user to single step through its execution, pausing, and restarting at will. The system also provides for the introduction of simulated faults specific to Mars rover environments that cannot be replicated in other testbed platforms, to stress test the GNC flight algorithms under examination. The software provides facilities to do these stress tests in ways that cannot be done in the real-time flight system testbeds, such as time-jumping (both forwards and backwards), and introduction of simulated actuator faults that would be difficult, expensive, and/or destructive to implement in the real-time testbeds. Actual flight-quality codes can be incorporated back into the development-test suite of GNC developers, closing the loop between the GNC developers and the flight software developers. The software provides fully automated scripting, allowing multiple tests to be run with varying parameters, without human supervision.

  2. Managing PV Power on Mars - MER Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stella, Paul M.; Chin, Keith; Wood, Eric; Herman, Jennifer; Ewell, Richard

    2009-01-01

    The MER Rovers have recently completed over 5 years of operation! This is a remarkable demonstration of the capabilities of PV power on the Martian surface. The extended mission required the development of an efficient process to predict the power available to the rovers on a day-to-day basis. The performance of the MER solar arrays is quite unlike that of any other Space array and perhaps more akin to Terrestrial PV operation, although even severe by that comparison. The impact of unpredictable factors, such as atmospheric conditions and dust accumulation (and removal) on the panels limits the accurate prediction of array power to short time spans. Based on the above, it is clear that long term power predictions are not sufficiently accurate to allow for detailed long term planning. Instead, the power assessment is essentially a daily activity, effectively resetting the boundary points for the overall predictive power model. A typical analysis begins with the importing of the telemetry from each rover's previous day's power subsystem activities. This includes the array power generated, battery state-of-charge, rover power loads, and rover orientation, all as functions of time. The predicted performance for that day is compared to the actual performance to identify the extent of any differences. The model is then corrected for these changes. Details of JPL's MER power analysis procedure are presented, including the description of steps needed to provide the final prediction for the mission planners. A dust cleaning event of the solar array is also highlighted to illustrate the impact of Martian weather on solar array performance

  3. Small-RPS Enabled Mars Rover Concept

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Balint, Tibor S.

    2004-01-01

    Both the MER and the Mars Pathfinder rovers operated on Mars in an energy-limited mode, since the solar panels generated power during daylight hours only. At other times the rovers relied on power stored in batteries. In comparison, Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) offer a power-enabled paradigm, where power can be generated for long mission durations (measured in years), independently from the Sun, and on a continuous basis. A study was performed at PL to assess the feasibility of a small-RPS enabled MER-class rover concept and any associated advantages of its mission on Mars. The rover concept relied on design heritage from MER with two significant changes. First, the solar panels were replaced with two single GPHS module based small-RPSs. Second, the Mossbauer spectroscope was substituted with a laser Raman spectroscope, in order to move towards MEPAG defined astrobiology driven science goals. The highest power requirements were contributed to mobility and telecommunication type operating modes, hence influencing power system sizing. The resulting hybrid power system included two small-RPSs and two batteries. Each small-RPS was assumed to generate 50We of power or 62OWh/sol of energy (BOL), comparable to that of MER. The two 8Ah batteries were considered available during peak power usage. Mission architecture, power trades, science instruments, data, communication, thermal and radiation environments, mobility, mass issues were also addressed. The study demonstrated that a new set of RPS-enabled rover missions could be envisioned for Mars exploration within the next decade, targeting astrobiology oriented science objectives, while powered by 2 to 4 GPHS modules.

  4. Newest is Biggest: Three Generations of NASA Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    Full-scale models of three generations of NASA Mars rovers show the increase in size from the Sojourner rover of the Mars Pathfinder project that landed on Mars in 1997 (center), to the twin Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity that landed in 2004 (left), to the Mars Science Laboratory rover for a mission to land in 2012 (right).

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover is about 9 feet wide, 10 feet long (not counting its robotic arm) and 7 feet tall.

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover will have a mass of about 875 kilograms (1,929 pounds), compared with 174 kilograms (384 pounds) for each of the Mars Exploration Rovers and with 11 kilograms (24 pounds) for Sojourner. The main reason for the growth is to carry a larger payload of science instruments: about 83 kilograms (183 pounds) for the Mars Science Laboratory rover compared with 16 kilograms (35 pounds) for the Mars Exploration Rover and 1.4 kilograms (3 pounds) for Sojourner.

    This image was taken in May 2008 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., which has built the real Mars rovers and managed the rover missions for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

  5. Position and orientation measurement during Lunar Rover movement test

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, Zaihua; Tang, Laiying; Yi, Wangmin; Wan, Bile; Liu, Tao

    2015-02-01

    During the development of the Lunar Rover, a posture tracking measurement scheme was designed to verify its movement control ability and path planning performance. The principle is based on the indoor GPS measurement system. Four iGPS transmitters were set around the test site. By tracking the positions of four receivers that were installed on the rover, the position and orientation of the rover can be acquired in real time. The rotation matrix and translation vector from the Lunar Rover coordinate system to the test site coordinate system were calculated by using the software. The measurement precision reached 0.25mm in the range of 30m2. The real time position and posture datum of the rover was overlaid onto 3-D terrain map of the test site. The trajectory of the rover was displayed, and the time-displacement curve, time-velocity curve, time-acceleration curve were analyzed. The rover's performances were verified.

  6. Reactor

    DOEpatents

    Evans, Robert M.

    1976-10-05

    1. A neutronic reactor having a moderator, coolant tubes traversing the moderator from an inlet end to an outlet end, bodies of material fissionable by neutrons of thermal energy disposed within the coolant tubes, and means for circulating water through said coolant tubes characterized by the improved construction wherein the coolant tubes are constructed of aluminum having an outer diameter of 1.729 inches and a wall thickness of 0.059 inch, and the means for circulating a liquid coolant through the tubes includes a source of water at a pressure of approximately 350 pounds per square inch connected to the inlet end of the tubes, and said construction including a pressure reducing orifice disposed at the inlet ends of the tubes reducing the pressure of the water by approximately 150 pounds per square inch.

  7. A Modular Re-configurable Rover System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouloubasis, A.; McKee, G.; Active Robotics Lab

    In this paper we present the novel concepts incorporated in a planetary surface exploration rover design that is currently under development. The Multitasking Rover (MTR) aims to demonstrate functionality that will cover many of the current and future needs such as rough-terrain mobility, modularity and upgradeability [1]. The rover system has enhanced mobility characteristics. It operates in conjunction with Science Packs (SPs) and Tool Packs (TPs) - modules attached to the main frame of the rover, which are either special tools or science instruments and alter the operation capabilities of the system. To date, each rover system design is very much task driven for example, the scenario of cooperative transportation of extended payloads [2], comprises two rovers each equipped with a manipulator dedicated to the task [3]. The MTR approach focuses mostly on modularity and upgradeability presenting at the same time a fair amount of internal re-configurability for the sake of rough terrain stability. The rover itself does not carry any scientific instruments or tools. To carry out the scenario mentioned above, the MTR would have to locate and pick-up a TP with the associated manipulator. After the completion of the task the TP could be put away to a storage location enabling the rover to utilize a different Pack. The rover will not only offer mobility to these modules, but also use them as tools, transforming its role and functionality. The advantage of this approach is that instead of sending a large number of rovers to perform a variety of tasks, a smaller number of MTRs could be deployed with a large number of SPs/TPs, offering multiples of the functionality at a reduced payload. Two SPs or TPs (or a combination of) can be carried and deployed. One of the key elements in the design of the four wheeled rover, lies within its suspension system. It comprises a linear actuator located within each leg and also an active differential linking the two shoulders. This novel

  8. Adaptive Inner-Loop Rover Control

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kulkarni, Nilesh; Ippolito, Corey; Krishnakumar, Kalmanje; Al-Ali, Khalid M.

    2006-01-01

    Adaptive control technology is developed for the inner-loop speed and steering control of the MAX Rover. MAX, a CMU developed rover, is a compact low-cost 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel steer (double Ackerman), high-clearance agile durable chassis, outfitted with sensors and electronics that make it ideally suited for supporting research relevant to intelligent teleoperation and as a low-cost autonomous robotic test bed and appliance. The design consists of a feedback linearization based controller with a proportional - integral (PI) feedback that is augmented by an online adaptive neural network. The adaptation law has guaranteed stability properties for safe operation. The control design is retrofit in nature so that it fits inside the outer-loop path planning algorithms. Successful hardware implementation of the controller is illustrated for several scenarios consisting of actuator failures and modeling errors in the nominal design.

  9. Spatial Coverage Planning for a Planetary Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gaines, Daniel M.; Estlin, Tara; Chouinard, Caroline

    2008-01-01

    We are developing onboard planning and execution technologies to support the exploration and characterization of geological features by autonomous rovers. In order to generate high quality mission plans, an autonomous rover must reason about the relative importance of the observations it can perform. In this paper we look at the scientific criteria of selecting observations that improve the quality of the area covered by samples. Our approach makes use of a priori information, if available, and allows scientists to mark sub-regions of the area with relative priorities for exploration. We use an efficient algorithm for prioritizing observations based on spatial coverage that allows the system to update observation rankings as new information is gained during execution.

  10. Mars Science Laboratory Rover Taking Shape

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This image taken in August 2008 in a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., shows NASA's next Mars rover, the Mars Science Laboratory, in the course of its assembly, before additions of its arm, mast, laboratory instruments and other equipment.

    The rover is about 9 feet wide and 10 feet long.

    Viewing progress on the assembly are, from left: NASA Associate Administrator for Science Ed Weiler, California Institute of Technology President Jean-Lou Chameau, JPL Director Charles Elachi, and JPL Associate Director for Flight Projects and Mission Success Tom Gavin.

    JPL, a division of Caltech, manages the Mars Science Laboratory project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

  11. A Vision System For A Mars Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilcox, Brian H.; Gennery, Donald B.; Mishkin, Andrew H.; Cooper, Brian K.; Lawton, Teri B.; Lay, N. Keith; Katzmann, Steven P.

    1987-01-01

    A Mars rover must be able to sense its local environment with sufficient resolution and accuracy to avoid local obstacles and hazards while moving a significant distance each day. Power efficiency and reliability are extremely important considerations, making stereo correlation an attractive method of range sensing compared to laser scanning, if the computational load and correspondence errors can be handled. Techniques for treatment of these problems, including the use of more than two cameras to reduce correspondence errors and possibly to limit the computational burden of stereo processing, have been tested at JPL. Once a reliable range map is obtained, it must be transformed to a plan view and compared to a stored terrain database, in order to refine the estimated position of the rover and to improve the database. The slope and roughness of each terrain region are computed, which form the basis for a traversability map allowing local path planning. Ongoing research and field testing of such a system is described.

  12. Rovers as Geological Helpers for Planetary Surface Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Rovers can be used to perform field science on other planetary surfaces and in hostile and dangerous environments on Earth. Rovers are mobility systems for carrying instrumentation to investigate targets of interest and can perform geologic exploration on a distant planet (e.g. Mars) autonomously with periodic command from Earth. For nearby sites (such as the Moon or sites on Earth) rovers can be teleoperated with excellent capabilities. In future human exploration, robotic rovers will assist human explorers as scouts, tool and instrument carriers, and a traverse "buddy". Rovers can be wheeled vehicles, like the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner, or can walk on legs, like the Dante vehicle that was deployed into a volcanic caldera on Mt. Spurr, Alaska. Wheeled rovers can generally traverse slopes as high as 35 degrees, can avoid hazards too big to roll over, and can carry a wide range of instrumentation. More challenging terrain and steeper slopes can be negotiated by walkers. Limitations on rover performance result primarily from the bandwidth and frequency with which data are transmitted, and the accuracy with which the rover can navigate to a new position. Based on communication strategies, power availability, and navigation approach planned or demonstrated for Mars missions to date, rovers on Mars will probably traverse only a few meters per day. Collecting samples, especially if it involves accurate instrument placement, will be a slow process. Using live teleoperation (such as operating a rover on the Moon from Earth) rovers have traversed more than 1 km in an 8 hour period while also performing science operations, and can be moved much faster when the goal is simply to make the distance. I will review the results of field experiments with planetary surface rovers, concentrating on their successful and problematic performance aspects. This paper will be accompanied by a working demonstration of a prototype planetary surface rover.

  13. Electrical power technology for robotic planetary rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bankston, C. P.; Shirbacheh, M.; Bents, D. J.; Bozek, J. M.

    1993-01-01

    Power technologies which will enable a range of robotic rover vehicle missions by the end of the 1990s and beyond are discussed. The electrical power system is the most critical system for reliability and life, since all other on board functions (mobility, navigation, command and data, communications, and the scientific payload instruments) require electrical power. The following are discussed: power generation, energy storage, power management and distribution, and thermal management.

  14. Student Participation in Rover Field Trials

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowman, C. D.; Arvidson, R. E.; Nelson, S. V.; Sherman, D. M.; Squyres, S. W.

    2001-12-01

    The LAPIS program was developed in 1999 as part of the Athena Science Payload education and public outreach, funded by the JPL Mars Program Office. For the past three years, the Athena Science Team has been preparing for 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission operations using the JPL prototype Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover in extended rover field trials. Students and teachers participating in LAPIS work with them each year to develop a complementary mission plan and implement an actual portion of the annual tests using FIDO and its instruments. LAPIS is designed to mirror an end-to-end mission: Small, geographically distributed groups of students form an integrated mission team, working together with Athena Science Team members and FIDO engineers to plan, implement, and archive a two-day test mission, controlling FIDO remotely over the Internet using the Web Interface for Telescience (WITS) and communicating with each other by email, the web, and teleconferences. The overarching goal of LAPIS is to get students excited about science and related fields. The program provides students with the opportunity to apply knowledge learned in school, such as geometry and geology, to a "real world" situation and to explore careers in science and engineering through continuous one-on-one interactions with teachers, Athena Science Team mentors, and FIDO engineers. A secondary goal is to help students develop improved communication skills and appreciation of teamwork, enhanced problem-solving skills, and increased self-confidence. The LAPIS program will provide a model for outreach associated with future FIDO field trials and the 2003 Mars mission operations. The base of participation will be broadened beyond the original four sites by taking advantage of the wide geographic distribution of Athena team member locations. This will provide greater numbers of students with the opportunity to actively engage in rover testing and to explore the possibilities of

  15. Onboard autonomous mineral detectors for Mars rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilmore, M. S.; Bornstein, B.; Castano, R.; Merrill, M.; Greenwood, J.

    2005-12-01

    Mars rovers and orbiters currently collect far more data than can be downlinked to Earth, which reduces mission science return; this problem will be exacerbated by future rovers of enhanced capabilities and lifetimes. We are developing onboard intelligence sufficient to extract geologically meaningful data from spectrometer measurements of soil and rock samples, and thus to guide the selection, measurement and return of these data from significant targets at Mars. Here we report on techniques to construct mineral detectors capable of running on current and future rover and orbital hardware. We focus on carbonate and sulfate minerals which are of particular geologic importance because they can signal the presence of water and possibly life. Sulfates have also been discovered at the Eagle and Endurance craters in Meridiani Planum by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity and at other regions on Mars by the OMEGA instrument aboard Mars Express. We have developed highly accurate artificial neural network (ANN) and Support Vector Machine (SVM) based detectors capable of identifying calcite (CaCO3) and jarosite (KFe3(SO4)2(OH)6) in the visible/NIR (350-2500 nm) spectra of both laboratory specimens and rocks in Mars analogue field environments. To train the detectors, we used a generative model to create 1000s of linear mixtures of library end-member spectra in geologically realistic percentages. We have also augmented the model to include nonlinear mixing based on Hapke's models of bidirectional reflectance spectroscopy. Both detectors perform well on the spectra of real rocks that contain intimate mixtures of minerals, rocks in natural field environments, calcite covered by Mars analogue dust, and AVIRIS hyperspectral cubes. We will discuss the comparison of ANN and SVM classifiers for this task, technical challenges (weathering rinds, atmospheric compositions, and computational complexity), and plans for integration of these detectors into both the Coupled Layer

  16. Young and Rover on the Descartes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1972-01-01

    Astronaut John W. Young, Commander of the Apollo 16 mission, replaces tools in the hand tool carrier at the aft end of the 'Rover' Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) during the second Apollo 16 extravehicular activity (EVA-2) at the Descartes landing site. This photograph was taken by Astronaut Charles M. Duke Jr., Lunar Module pilot. Smokey Mountain, with the large Ravine crater on its flank, is in the left background. This view is looking Northeast.

  17. The Mars Rover Spirit FLASH anomaly

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Reeves, Glenn E.; Neilson, Tracy C.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover 'Spirit' suffered a debilitating anomaly that prevented communication with Earth for several anxious days. With the eyes of the world upon us, the anomaly team used each scrap of information, our knowledge of the system, and sheer determination to analyze and fix the problem, then return the vehicle to normal operation. This paper will discuss the Spirit FLASH anomaly, including the drama of the investigation, the root cause and the lessons learned from the experience.

  18. Mars Rover/Sample Return landing strategy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Friedlander, Alan L.; German, Darla J.

    1988-01-01

    This paper describes the analysis and results of an investigation of the Mars Rover/Sample Return mission's landing strategy, together with the trade-offs of different landing strategies. The percentile points and the descriptive statistics of the probability distribution of traverse distances are calculated using a simple model formulated on the basis of landing error characteristics. The results show that variations in the landing stratgegy can significantly affect the traverse distance requirements, which range from 20 to 200 km.

  19. Mars rover mechanisms designed for Rocky 4

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rivellini, Tommaso P.

    1993-01-01

    A Mars rover prototype vehicle named Rocky 4 was designed and built at JPL during the fall of 1991 and spring 1992. This vehicle is the fourth in a series of rovers designed to test vehicle mobility and navigation software. Rocky 4 was the first attempt to design a vehicle with 'flight like' mass and functionality. It was consequently necessary to develop highly efficient mechanisms and structures to meet the vehicles very tight mass limit of 3 Kg for the entire mobility system (7 Kg for the full system). This paper will discuss the key mechanisms developed for the rover's innovative drive and suspension system. These are the wheel drive and strut assembly, the rocker-bogie suspension mechanism and the differential pivot. The end-to-end design, analysis, fabrication and testing of these components will also be discussed as will their performance during field testing. The lessons learned from Rocky 4 are already proving invaluable for the design of Rocky 6. Rocky 6 is currently being designed to fly on NASA's MESUR mission to Mars scheduled to launch in 1996.

  20. Requirements and Designs for Mars Rover RTGs

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred; Shirbacheh, M; Sankarankandath, V

    2012-01-19

    The current-generation RTGs (both GPHS and MOD) are designed for operation in a vacuum environment. The multifoil thermal insulation used in those RTGs only functions well in a good vacuum. Current RTGs are designed to operate with an inert cover gas before launch, and to be vented to space vacuum after launch. Both RTGs are sealed with a large number of metallic C-rings. Those seals are adequate for retaining the inert-gas overpressure during short-term launch operations, but would not be adequate to prevent intrusion of the Martian atmospheric gases during long-term operations there. Therefore, for the Mars Rover application, those RTGs just be modified to prevent the buildup of significant pressures of Mars atmosphere or of helium (from alpha decay of the fuel). In addition, a Mars Rover RTG needs to withstand a long-term dynamic environment that is much more severe than that seen by an RTG on an orbiting spacecraft or on a stationary planetary lander. This paper describes a typical Rover mission, its requirements, the environment it imposes on the RTG, and a design approach for making the RTG operable in such an environment. Specific RTG designs for various thermoelectric element alternatives are presented.; Reference CID #9268 and CID #9276.

  1. Robotic Astrobiology: Searching for Life with Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Wettergreen, D. S.; Team, L.

    2006-05-01

    The Life In The Atacama (LITA) project has developed and field tested a long-range, solar-powered, automated rover platform (Zoe) and a science payload assembled to search for microbial life in the Atacama desert. Life is hardly detectable over most of the extent of the driest desert on Earth. Its geological, climatic, and biological evolution provides a unique training ground for designing and testing exploration strategies and life detection methods for the robotic search for life on Mars. LITA opens the path to a new generation of rover missions that will transition from the current study of habitability (MER) to the upcoming search for, and study of, habitats and life on Mars. Zoe's science payload reflects this transition by combining complementary elements, some directed towards the remote sensing of the environment (geology, morphology, mineralogy, weather/climate) for the detection of conditions favorable to microbial habitats and oases along survey traverses, others directed toward the in situ detection of life' signatures (biological and physical, such as biological constructs and patterns). New exploration strategies specifically adapted to the search for microbial life were designed and successfully tested in the Atacama between 2003-2005. They required the development and implementation in the field of new technological capabilities, including navigation beyond the horizon, obstacle avoidance, and "science-on-the-fly" (automated detection of targets of science value), and that of new rover planning tools in the remote science operation center.

  2. Mission Operations of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bass, Deborah; Lauback, Sharon; Mishkin, Andrew; Limonadi, Daniel

    2007-01-01

    A document describes a system of processes involved in planning, commanding, and monitoring operations of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. The system is designed to minimize command turnaround time, given that inherent uncertainties in terrain conditions and in successful completion of planned landed spacecraft motions preclude planning of some spacecraft activities until the results of prior activities are known by the ground-based operations team. The processes are partitioned into those (designated as tactical) that must be tied to the Martian clock and those (designated strategic) that can, without loss, be completed in a more leisurely fashion. The tactical processes include assessment of downlinked data, refinement and validation of activity plans, sequencing of commands, and integration and validation of sequences. Strategic processes include communications planning and generation of long-term activity plans. The primary benefit of this partition is to enable the tactical portion of the team to focus solely on tasks that contribute directly to meeting the deadlines for commanding the rover s each sol (1 sol = 1 Martian day) - achieving a turnaround time of 18 hours or less, while facilitating strategic team interactions with other organizations that do not work on a Mars time schedule.

  3. Mars Opportunity rover finds gypsum veins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2011-12-01

    Bright linear features about the width of a human thumb that were found on Mars by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity appear to be gypsum veins deposited by groundwater, a team of scientists announced at a 7 December news briefing at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. “To me, this is the single most powerful piece of evidence for liquid water on Mars that has been discovered by the Opportunity rover,” said Steve Squyres, a geoscientist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N. Y., and principal investigator for NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Opportunity and Spirit. “We have found sulfates before. Those sulfates were formed somewhere; we don't know where. They have been moved around by the wind, they've been mixed with other materials. It's a big, jumbled, fascinating mess. This stuff was formed right here. There was a fracture in the rock, water flowed through it, gypsum was precipitated from the water. End of story. Okay, there is no ambiguity about this. This is what makes it so cool.”

  4. Mars Rover Curriculum: Impact Assessment and Evaluation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bering, E. A., III; Carlson, C.; Nieser, K.; Slagle, E. M.; Jacobs, L. T.; Kapral, A. J.

    2014-12-01

    The University of Houston is in the process of developing a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model Mars rover: the Mars Rover Model Celebration (MRC). It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. A total of 140 Mars Rover teachers from the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 cohorts were invited to complete the Mars Rover Teacher Evaluation Survey. The survey was administered online and could be taken at the convenience of the participant. So far ~40 teachers have participated with responses still coming in. A total of 675 students from the 2013-2014 cohort were invited to submit brief self-assessments of their participation in the program. Teachers were asked to rate their current level of confidence in their ability to teach specific topics within the Earth and Life Science realms, as well as their confidence in their ability to implement teaching strategies with their students. The majority of teachers (81-90%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively teach concepts related to earth and life sciences to their students. In addition, many of the teachers felt that their confidence in teaching these concepts increased somewhat to quite a bit as a result of their participation in the MRC program (54-88%). The most striking increase in this area was the reported 48% of teachers who felt their confidence in teaching "Earth and the solar system and universe" increased "Quite a bit" as a result of their participation in the MRC program. The vast majority of teachers (86-100%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively implement all of the listed teaching strategies. The most striking increases were the percentage of teachers who felt their confidence increased "Quite a bit" as a result of their participation

  5. Path planning for planetary rover using extended elevation map

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nakatani, Ichiro; Kubota, Takashi; Yoshimitsu, Tetsuo

    1994-01-01

    This paper describes a path planning method for planetary rovers to search for paths on planetary surfaces. The planetary rover is required to travel safely over a long distance for many days over unfamiliar terrain. Hence it is very important how planetary rovers process sensory information in order to understand the planetary environment and to make decisions based on that information. As a new data structure for informational mapping, an extended elevation map (EEM) has been introduced, which includes the effect of the size of the rover. The proposed path planning can be conducted in such a way as if the rover were a point while the size of the rover is automatically taken into account. The validity of the proposed methods is verified by computer simulations.

  6. Enabling Autonomous Rover Science through Dynamic Planning and Scheduling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Estlin, Tara A.; Gaines, Daniel; Chouinard, Caroline; Fisher, Forest; Castano, Rebecca; Judd, Michele; Nesnas, Issa

    2005-01-01

    This paper describes how dynamic planning and scheduling techniques can be used onboard a rover to autonomously adjust rover activities in support of science goals. These goals could be identified by scientists on the ground or could be identified by onboard data-analysis software. Several different types of dynamic decisions are described, including the handling of opportunistic science goals identified during rover traverses, preserving high priority science targets when resources, such as power, are unexpectedly over-subscribed, and dynamically adding additional, ground-specified science targets when rover actions are executed more quickly than expected. After describing our specific system approach, we discuss some of the particular challenges we have examined to support autonomous rover decision-making. These include interaction with rover navigation and path-planning software and handling large amounts of uncertainty in state and resource estimations.

  7. Viking '79 Rover study. Volume 1: Summary report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1974-01-01

    The results of a study to define a roving vehicle suitable for inclusion in a 1979 Viking mission to Mars are presented. The study focused exclusively on the 1979 mission incorporating a rover that would be stowed on and deployed from a modified Viking lander. The overall objective of the study was to define a baseline rover, the lander/rover interfaces, a mission operations concept, and a rover development program compatible with the 1979 launch opportunity. During the study, numerous options at the rover system and subsystem levels were examined and a baseline configuration was selected. Launch vehicle, orbiter, and lander performance capabilities were examined to ensure that the baseline rover could be transported to Mars using minimum-modified Viking '75 hardware and designs.

  8. The Athena Mars Rover Science Payload

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Squyes, S. W.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Haskin, L.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor missions that will be launched in April of 2001 will include a highly capable rover that is a successor to the Mars Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover. The design goals for this rover are a total traverse distance of at least 10 km and a total lifetime of at least one Earth year. The rover's job will be to explore a site in Mars' ancient terrain, searching for materials likely to preserve a record of ancient martian water, climate, and possibly biology. The rover will collect rock and soil samples, and will store them for return to Earth by a subsequent Mars Surveyor mission in 2005. The Athena Mars rover science payload is the suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools that will be used to perform this job. The specific science objectives that NASA has identified for the '01 rover payload are to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload has been designed to meet these objectives. The focus of the design is on field operations: making sure the rover can locate, characterize, and collect scientifically important samples in a dusty, dirty, real-world environment. The topography, morphology, and mineralogy of the scene around the rover will be revealed by Pancam/Mini-TES, an integrated imager and IR spectrometer. Pancam views the surface around the rover in stereo and color. It uses two high-resolution cameras that are identical in most respects to the rover's navigation cameras. The detectors are low-power, low-mass active pixel sensors with on-chip 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion. Filters provide 8-12 color spectral bandpasses over the spectral region from 0.4 to 1.1 micron Narrow-angle optics provide an angular resolution of 0

  9. State Identification for Planetary Rovers: Learning and Recognition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Aycard, Olivier; Washington, Richard

    1999-01-01

    A planetary rover must be able to identify states where it should stop or change its plan. With limited and infrequent communication from ground, the rover must recognize states accurately. However, the sensor data is inherently noisy, so identifying the temporal patterns of data that correspond to interesting or important states becomes a complex problem. In this paper, we present an approach to state identification using second-order Hidden Markov Models. Models are trained automatically on a set of labeled training data; the rover uses those models to identify its state from the observed data. The approach is demonstrated on data from a planetary rover platform.

  10. Design and structural analysis of Mars Rover RTG

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schock, Alfred; Hamrick, Thomas; Sankarankandath, Kumar; Shirbacheh, Michael

    1992-01-01

    The Mars Rover and Sample Return mission's radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) is presently subjected to a structural and mass analysis in view of a reference mission scenario, an illustrative Rover design and Martian activities agenda, and RTG power system requirements and environmental constraints. The modular heat-source stack in the Rover RTG can be held together by axial load springs. The RTGs should be mounted on the Rover with a vertical orientation, in order to avoid the buildup of windborne Martian sand on its heat-rejection surfaces.

  11. Automated Planning and Scheduling for Planetary Rover Distributed Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Backes, Paul G.; Rabideau, Gregg; Tso, Kam S.; Chien, Steve

    1999-01-01

    Automated planning and Scheduling, including automated path planning, has been integrated with an Internet-based distributed operations system for planetary rover operations. The resulting prototype system enables faster generation of valid rover command sequences by a distributed planetary rover operations team. The Web Interface for Telescience (WITS) provides Internet-based distributed collaboration, the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment (ASPEN) provides automated planning and scheduling, and an automated path planner provided path planning. The system was demonstrated on the Rocky 7 research rover at JPL.

  12. Visual Target Tracking on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Won; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey; Ali, Khaled

    2008-01-01

    Visual target tracking (VTT) software has been incorporated into Release 9.2 of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) flight software, now running aboard the rovers Spirit and Opportunity. In the VTT operation (see figure), the rover is driven in short steps between stops and, at each stop, still images are acquired by actively aimed navigation cameras (navcams) on a mast on the rover (see artistic rendition). The VTT software processes the digitized navcam images so as to track a target reliably and to make it possible to approach the target accurately to within a few centimeters over a 10-m traverse.

  13. Path planning and execution monitoring for a planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gat, Erann; Slack, Marc G.; Miller, David P.; Firby, R. James

    1990-01-01

    A path planner and an execution monitoring planner that will enable the rover to navigate to its various destinations safely and correctly while detecting and avoiding hazards are described. An overview of the complete architecture is given. Implementation and testbeds are described. The robot can detect unforseen obstacles and take appropriate action. This includes having the rover back away from the hazard and mark the area as untraversable in the in the rover's internal map. The experiments have consisted of paths roughly 20 m in length. The architecture works with a large variety of rover configurations with different kinematic constraints.

  14. Martian Surface Mineralogy from Rovers with Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, Richard V.

    2016-01-01

    Beginning in 2004, NASA has landed three well-instrumented rovers on the equatorial martian surface. The Spirit rover landed in Gusev crater in early January, 2004, and the Opportunity rover landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridian Planum 21 days later. The Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater to the west of Gusev crater in August, 2012. Both Opportunity and Curiosity are currently operational. The twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity carried Mossbauer spectrometers to determine the oxidation state of iron and its mineralogical composition. The Curiosity rover has an X-ray diffraction instrument for identification and quantification of crystalline materials including clay minerals. Instrument suites on all three rovers are capable of distinguishing primary rock-forming minerals like olivine, pyroxene and magnetite and products of aqueous alteration in including amorphous iron oxides, hematite, goethite, sulfates, and clay minerals. The oxidation state of iron ranges from that typical for unweathered rocks and soils to nearly completely oxidized (weathered) rocks and soils as products of aqueous and acid-sulfate alteration. The in situ rover mineralogy also serves as ground-truth for orbital observations, and orbital mineralogical inferences are used for evaluating and planning rover exploration.

  15. Autonomous Rovers for Polar Science Campaigns

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lever, J. H.; Ray, L. E.; Williams, R. M.; Morlock, A. M.; Burzynski, A. M.

    2012-12-01

    We have developed and deployed two over-snow autonomous rovers able to conduct remote science campaigns on Polar ice sheets. Yeti is an 80-kg, four-wheel-drive (4WD) battery-powered robot with 3 - 4 hr endurance, and Cool Robot is a 60-kg 4WD solar-powered robot with unlimited endurance during Polar summers. Both robots navigate using GPS waypoint-following to execute pre-planned courses autonomously, and they can each carry or tow 20 - 160 kg instrument payloads over typically firm Polar snowfields. In 2008 - 12, we deployed Yeti to conduct autonomous ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys to detect hidden crevasses to help establish safe routes for overland resupply of research stations at South Pole, Antarctica, and Summit, Greenland. We also deployed Yeti with GPR at South Pole in 2011 to identify the locations of potentially hazardous buried buildings from the original 1950's-era station. Autonomous surveys remove personnel from safety risks posed during manual GPR surveys by undetected crevasses or buried buildings. Furthermore, autonomous surveys can yield higher quality and more comprehensive data than manual ones: Yeti's low ground pressure (20 kPa) allows it to cross thinly bridged crevasses or other voids without interrupting a survey, and well-defined survey grids allow repeated detection of buried voids to improve detection reliability and map their extent. To improve survey efficiency, we have automated the mapping of detected hazards, currently identified via post-survey manual review of the GPR data. Additionally, we are developing machine-learning algorithms to detect crevasses autonomously in real time, with reliability potentially higher than manual real-time detection. These algorithms will enable the rover to relay crevasse locations to a base station for near real-time mapping and decision-making. We deployed Cool Robot at Summit Station in 2005 to verify its mobility and power budget over Polar snowfields. Using solar power, this zero

  16. A Comparison of the Unpressurized Rover and Small Pressurized Rover During a Desert Field Evaluation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Litaker, Harry; Thompson, Shelby; Howard, Robert

    2009-01-01

    To effectively explore the lunar surface, astronauts will need a transportation vehicle which can traverse all types of terrain. Currently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration s (NASA) is investigating two lunar rover configurations to meet such a requirement. Under the Lunar Electric Rover (LER) project, a comparison study between the unpressurized rover (UPR) and the small pressurized rover (SPR) was conducted at the Black Point Lava Flow in Arizona. The objective of the study was to obtain human-in-the-loop performance data on the vehicles with respect to human-machine interfaces, vehicle impacts on crew productivity, and scientific observations. Four male participants took part in four, one-day field tests using the exact same terrain and scientific sites for an accurate comparison between vehicle configurations. Subjective data was collected using several human factors performance measures. Results indicate either vehicle configuration was generally acceptable for a lunar mission; however, the SPR configuration was preferred over the UPR configuration primarily for the SPR s ability to cause less fatigue and enabling greater crew productivity.

  17. Lunar Surface Operations with Dual Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Horz, Friedrich; Lofgren, Gary E.; Eppler, Dean E.; Ming, Douglas

    2010-01-01

    Lunar Electric Rovers (LER) are currently being developed that are substantially more capable than the Apollo vehicle (LRN ,"). Unlike the LRV, the new LERs provide a pressurized cabin that serves as short-sleeve environment for the crew of two, including sleeping accommodations and other provisions that allow for long tern stays, possibly up to 60 days, on the hear surface, without the need to replenish consumables from some outside source, such as a lander or outpost. As a consequence, significantly larger regions may be explored in the future and traverse distances may be measured in a few hundred kilometers (1, 2). However, crew safety remains an overriding concern, and methods other than "walk back", the major operational constraint of all Apollo traverses, must be implemented to assure -at any time- the safe return of the crew to the lander or outpost. This then causes current Constellation plans to envision long-tern traverses to be conducted with 2 LERs exclusively, each carrying a crew of two: in case one rover fails, the other will rescue the stranded crew and return all 4 astronauts in a single LER to base camp. Recent Desert Research and Technology Studies (DRATS) analog field tests simulated a continuous 14 day traverse (3), covering some 135 km, and included a rescue operation that transferred the crew and diverse consumables from one LER to another these successful tests add substantial realism to the development of long-term, dual rover operations. The simultaneous utilization of 2 LERs is of course totally unlike Apollo and raises interesting issues regarding science productivity and mission operations, the thrust of this note.

  18. Extreme Mobility: Next Generation Tetrahedral Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, P. E.; Curtis, S. A.; Rilee, M. L.; Cheung, C. Y.; Wesenberg, R.; Brown, G.; Cooperrider, C.

    2007-01-01

    This paper describes the development and testing of a patented rover concept called Tetrahedral Explorer Technologies (TET), designed to provide extreme mobility and plug-and-play utility through reconfigurable addressable architecture. Here, we present the results of preliminary lab and field tests of Prototype III. Reconfigurable architecture is essential in exploration because reaching features of the great potential interest will require crossing a wide range of terrains largely inaccessible to permanently appendaged vehicles. One surface might be relatively flat and navigable, while another could be rough, variably sloping, broken, or dominated by unconsolidated debris. To be totally functional, structures must form pseudo-appendages varying in size, rate, and manner of deployment (gait) and moving at a speed approaching that of a human in rugged terrain. TET architecture is based on the tetrahedron, the basic space-filling shape, as building block. Tetrahedra are interconnected, their apices acting as nodes from which struts reversibly deploy. The tetrahedral framework acts as a simple skeletal muscular structure. Two simple robotic walker prototypes have already been developed from a single reconfigurable tetrahedron capable of tumbling. This paper presents the results of our attempts to simulate motions, improve the hardware, and develop gaits for a more evolved 12Tetrahedral Walker (Prototype 3) which high degrees of freedom locomotion commandable through a user friendly interface. Our rover is an early level mission concept, realized as an electromechanical system at present, which would allow autonomous in situ exploration of lunar sites when we return to the Moon. Such a rover could carry into inaccessible terrain an in situ analysis payload designed to provide not only details of composition of traversed terrain, but the identification of sites with resources useful for permanent bases, including water and high Ti glass.

  19. Adams-Based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Simulator - ARTEMIS

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trease, Brian P.; Lindeman, Randel A.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Bennett, Keith; VanDyke, Lauren P.; Zhou, Feng; Iagnemma, Karl; Senatore, Carmine

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs), Spirit and Opportunity, far exceeded their original drive distance expectations and have traveled, at the time of this reporting, a combined 29 kilometers across the surface of Mars. The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP), the current program used to plan drives for MERs, is only a kinematic simulator of rover movement. Therefore, rover response to various terrains and soil types cannot be modeled. Although sandbox experiments attempt to model rover-terrain interaction, these experiments are time-intensive and costly, and they cannot be used within the tactical timeline of rover driving. Imaging techniques and hazard avoidance features on MER help to prevent the rover from traveling over dangerous terrains, but mobility issues have shown that these methods are not always sufficient. ARTEMIS, a dynamic modeling tool for MER, allows planned drives to be simulated before commands are sent to the rover. The deformable soils component of this model allows rover-terrain interactions to be simulated to determine if a particular drive path would take the rover over terrain that would induce hazardous levels of slip or sink. When used in the rover drive planning process, dynamic modeling reduces the likelihood of future mobility issues because high-risk areas could be identified before drive commands are sent to the rover, and drives planned over these areas could be rerouted. The ARTEMIS software consists of several components. These include a preprocessor, Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), Adams rover model, wheel and soil parameter files, MSC Adams GUI (commercial), MSC Adams dynamics solver (commercial), terramechanics subroutines (FORTRAN), a contact detection engine, a soil modification engine, and output DEMs of deformed soil. The preprocessor is used to define the terrain (from a DEM) and define the soil parameters for the terrain file. The Adams rover model is placed in this terrain. Wheel and soil parameter files

  20. The Athena Mars Rover Science Payload

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Squyes, S. W.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Haskin, L.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor missions that will be launched in April of 2001 will include a highly capable rover that is a successor to the Mars Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover. The design goals for this rover are a total traverse distance of at least 10 km and a total lifetime of at least one Earth year. The rover's job will be to explore a site in Mars' ancient terrain, searching for materials likely to preserve a record of ancient martian water, climate, and possibly biology. The rover will collect rock and soil samples, and will store them for return to Earth by a subsequent Mars Surveyor mission in 2005. The Athena Mars rover science payload is the suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools that will be used to perform this job. The specific science objectives that NASA has identified for the '01 rover payload are to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload has been designed to meet these objectives. The focus of the design is on field operations: making sure the rover can locate, characterize, and collect scientifically important samples in a dusty, dirty, real-world environment. The topography, morphology, and mineralogy of the scene around the rover will be revealed by Pancam/Mini-TES, an integrated imager and IR spectrometer. Pancam views the surface around the rover in stereo and color. It uses two high-resolution cameras that are identical in most respects to the rover's navigation cameras. The detectors are low-power, low-mass active pixel sensors with on-chip 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion. Filters provide 8-12 color spectral bandpasses over the spectral region from 0.4 to 1.1 micron Narrow-angle optics provide an angular resolution of 0

  1. Autonomous navigation system for the Marsokhod rover project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Proy, C.; Lamboley, M.; Rastel, L.

    1994-01-01

    This paper presents a general overview of the Marsokhod rover mission. The autonomous navigation for a Mars exploration rover is controlled by a vision system which has been developed on the basis of two CCD cameras, stereovision and path planning algorithms. Its performances have been tested on a Mars-like experimentation site.

  2. Slip Validation and Prediction for Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yen, Jeng

    2007-01-01

    This paper presents a novel technique to validate and predict the rover slips on Martian surface for NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers. Different from the traditional approach, the proposed method uses the actual velocity profile of the wheels and the digital elevation map (DEM) from the stereo images of the terrain to formulate simplified equations of motion of the rovers. A weighted factor to the wheel-ground speed from the empirical data comprises the velocity equations of the simplified differential-algebraic system of the rover motion. Applying the discretization operator to these equations, the full kinematics state of the rover is then resolved by the configuration kinematics solution in the Robot Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP). This method produced accurate simulation of the rover movements compared with these of the earth testing vehicle. Using the telemetry from the onboard Visual Odometry, the simulated rover path also compares well with the actual track of the vehicle. Preliminary results indicated that the proposed computational method is very effective in planning the path of the rovers on the high-slope areas.

  3. Mars Exploration Rover surface operations: driving spirit at Gusev Crater

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leger, Chris; Trebi-Ollennu, Ashitey; Wright, John; Maxwell, Scott; Bonitz, Bob; Biesiadecki, Jeff; Hartman, Frank; Cooper, Brian; Baumgartner, Eric; Maimone, Mark

    2005-01-01

    Spirit is one of two rovers, that landed on Mars in January 2004 as part of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers mission. Since then, Spirit has traveled over 4 kilometers accross the Martian surface while investigating rocks and soils, digging trenches to examine the subsurface environment, and climbing hills to reach outcrops of bedrock.

  4. The use of harmonic drives on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krishnan, S.; Voorhees, C.

    2001-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission will send two 185 kg rovers to Mars in 2003 to continue the scientific community's search for evidence of past water on Mars. These twin robotic vehicles will carry harmonic drives and their performance will be characterized at various temperatures, speeds and loads.

  5. Rover wheel charging on the lunar surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Telana L.; Farrell, William M.; Zimmerman, Michael I.

    2015-03-01

    The environment at the Moon is dynamic, with highly variable solar wind plasma conditions at the lunar dayside, terminator, and night side regions. Moving objects such as rover wheels will charge due to contact electrification with the surface, but the degree of charging is controlled by the local plasma environment. Using a dynamic charging model of a wheel, it is demonstrated herein that moving tires will tribocharge substantially when venturing into plasma-current starved regions such as polar craters or the lunar nightside. The surface regolith distribution and the overall effect on charge accumulation of grains cohesively sticking to the rover tire has been incorporated into the model. It is shown that dust sticking can limit the overall charge accumulated on the system. However charge dissipation times are greatly increased in shadowed regions and can present a potential hazard to astronauts and electrical systems performing extra-vehicular activities. We show that dissipation times change with wheel composition and overall system tribocharging is dependent upon wheel velocity.

  6. Mars Exploration Rovers' Rock Abrasion Tool

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gorevan, S.; Myrick, T.; Davis, K.; Ji, J.; Bartlett, P.; Mukherjee, S.; Arafat, T.

    2003-04-01

    Each of the twin 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers will be equipped with a Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) designed and tested by Honeybee Robotics. The RAT is a robotic grinding tool and science instrument about the size of a soda can and weighing less than 690 grams that is carried by the robotic arm or Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) of the rover. The primary purpose of the RAT is to remove the dust and surface rind from Mars rock targets to reveal the underlying petrographic features. After the RAT is placed and preloaded against the target rock by the IDD, all operations of the RAT are performed autonomously. Using three small motors to drive the rotation, revolve and z-axis subassemblies the RAT removes a 45 mm diameter, 5 mm deep patch of rock. The RAT has a resin-bonded diamond abrasion wheel and two brushes to provide a clean observation surface for the three surface instruments - APXS, Microscopic Imager and Moessbauer Spectrometer. Detailed design and operation descriptions, as well as recent qualification and operational testing results will be presented.

  7. Mars Exploration Rovers Propulsive Maneuver Design

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Potts, Christopher L.; Raofi, Behzad; Kangas, Julie A.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity successfully landed respectively at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum in January 2004. The rovers are essentially robotic geologists, sent on a mission to search for evidence in the rocks and soil pertaining to the historical presence of water and the ability to possibly sustain life. In order to conduct NASA's 'follow the water' strategy on opposite sides of the planet Mars, an interplanetary journey of over 300 million miles culminated with historic navigation precision. Rigorous trajectory targeting and control was necessary to achieve the atmospheric entry requirements for the selected landing sites. The propulsive maneuver design challenge was to meet or exceed these requirements while preserving the necessary design margin to accommodate additional project concerns. Landing site flexibility was maintained for both missions after launch, and even after the first trajectory correction maneuver for Spirit. The final targeting strategy was modified to improve delivery performance and reduce risk after revealing constraining trajectory control characteristics. Flight results are examined and summarized for the six trajectory correction maneuvers that were planned for each mission.

  8. Rover odometry aided by a star tracker

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gammell, J. D.; Tong, Chi Hay; Berczi, P.; Anderson, S.; Barfoot, T. D.; Enright, J.

    This paper develops a practical framework for estimating rover position in full-dark conditions by correcting relative odometric estimates with periodic, absolute-attitude measurements from a star tracker. The framework is validated using just under 2.5 kilometres of field data gathered at the University of Toronto's Koffler Scientific Reserve at Jokers Hill (KSR) comprised of both wheel odometry and lidar-based Visual Odometry (VO). It is shown that for the wheel odometry solution, the final estimate of rover position was within 21 metres of the groundtruth as calculated by a differential GPS receiver, or 0.85% of the total traverse distance. When the star tracker measurements are artificially limited to occurring approximately every 250 metres, the algorithm still performs well, giving a final position error of 75.8 metres or 3.0%. Preliminary results to replace wheel odometry with lidar-based VO for the development a full-dark visual solution are also presented. The lidar-based VO solution is shown to be capable of outperforming wheel odometry, but more work is required to develop methods to handle the variety of terrain conditions encountered.

  9. The Effects of Clock Drift on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ali, Khaled S.; Vanelli, C. Anthony

    2012-01-01

    All clocks drift by some amount, and the mission clock on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) is no exception. The mission clock on both MER rovers drifted significantly since the rovers were launched, and it is still drifting on the Opportunity rover. The drift rate is temperature dependent. Clock drift causes problems for onboard behaviors and spacecraft operations, such as attitude estimation, driving, operation of the robotic arm, pointing for imaging, power analysis, and telecom analysis. The MER operations team has techniques to deal with some of these problems. There are a few techniques for reducing and eliminating the clock drift, but each has drawbacks. This paper presents an explanation of what is meant by clock drift on the rovers, its relationship to temperature, how we measure it, what problems it causes, how we deal with those problems, and techniques for reducing the drift.

  10. The Mars Exploration Rovers : hitting the road on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cox, Nagin

    2005-01-01

    Since the beginning of time, people have been fascinated by Mars. From the earliest mission to now-Mars has been (and is) a challenging destination. The Rovers were developed at a breakneck pace in 3 years and landed successfully on Mars in January 2004. This paper will discuss how the Mars Rover mission fits into the overall Mars Program and NASA's program of planetary exploration. Building the rovers in such a short time period created some difficult design challenges that were mainly schedule driven. in addition, it will cover the process of selecting the rover landing sites as well as the engineering challenges faced in the entry, descent and landing process. The rovers have a great deal of autonomous control ability on the surface and the process of developing and testing those was part of the challenge of doing this in 3 years.

  11. Activity Scratchpad Prototype: Simplifying the Rover Activity Planning Cycle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Abramyan, Lucy

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover mission depends on the Science Activity Planner as its primary interface to the Spirit and Opportunity Rovers. Scientists alternate between a series of mouse clicks and keyboard inputs to create a set of instructions for the rovers. To accelerate planning by minimizing mouse usage, a rover planning editor should receive the majority of inputted commands from the keyboard. Thorough investigation of the Eclipse platform's Java editor has provided the understanding of the base model for the Activity Scratchpad. Desirable Eclipse features can be mapped to specific rover planning commands, such as auto-completion for activity titles and content assist for target names. A custom editor imitating the Java editor's features was created with an XML parser for experimenting purposes. The prototype editor minimized effort for redundant tasks and significantly improved the visual representation of XML syntax by highlighting keywords, coloring rules, folding projections, and providing hover assist, templates and an outline view of the code.

  12. High-Performance Micro-Rover for Planetary Surface Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Y.; Chen, X.

    2009-04-01

    Planetary robotic missions rely on rovers to produce surface mobility for multiple sites sampling and exploration. For example, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) have been extremely successful in the exploring a wide area of the Martian surface in the past four years. Each of the MER has the size of a golf car and weights ~170 kg. They both result in a massive launch of nearly 1100 kg. Small rovers (5-30 kg) can help to provide moderate surface traverse and greatly reduce cost of the mission, e.g. the Sojourner rover of the Mars Pathfinder mission. There is a growing interest in the micro-rover design and how to maximize performance of a miniaturized system. For example, the rover traversability and locomotion capability will be compromised if the objective is to reduce the size of the vehicle. Undoubtedly, this affects the rover performance in terms of mobility and usefulness to the mission. We propose to overcome this problem by investigating a new generation of rover chassis design to maximize its terrian capability. This paper presents a chassis concept suited for a micro-rover system and negotiating with different planetary terrains such as the Moon and Mars. The proposed tracked-wheel is motivated by bringing together advantages of wheels and tracks, in the same time keeping the design simple and easy to implement. The chassis is built based on four tracked-wheels and offers 10 DOF for the vehicle. Analysis based on Bekker theories suggests this design can generate larger tractive effort (drawbar pull) compared to the wheeled design for the same rover dimensions. As a result, a more effective and efficent chassis can be achieved and leave a large design margin for the science payload.

  13. Planetary rover robotics experiment in education: carbonate rock collecting experiment of the Husar-5 rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szalay, Kristóf; Lang, Ágota; Horváth, Tamás; Prajczer, Péter; Bérczi, Szaniszló

    2013-04-01

    Introduction: The new experiment for the Husar-5 educational space probe rover consists of steps of the technology of procedure of finding carbonate speci-mens among the rocks on the field. 3 main steps were robotized: 1) identification of carbonate by acid test, 2) measuring the gases liberated by acid, and 3) magnetic test. Construction of the experiment: The basis of the robotic realization of the experiment is a romote-controlled rover which can move on the field. Onto this rover the mechanism of the experiments were built from Technics LEGO elements and we used LEGO-motors for making move these experiments. The operation was coordinated by an NXT-brick which was suitable to programming. Fort he acetic-test the drops should be passed to the selected area. Passing a drop to a locality: From the small holder of the acid using densified gas we pump some drop onto the selected rock. We promote this process by pumpig the atmospheric gas into another small gas-container, so we have another higher pressure gas there. This is pumped into the acid-holder. The effect of the reaction is observed by a wireless onboard camera In the next step we can identify the the liberated gas by the gas sensor. Using it we can confirm the liberation of the CO2 gas without outer observer. The third step is the controll of the paramagnetic properties.. In measuring this feature a LEGO-compass is our instrumentation. We use a electric current gener-ated magnet. During the measurements both the coil and the gas-sensor should be positioned to be near to the surface. This means, that a lowering and an uplifting machinery should be constructed. Summary: The sequence of the measurement is the following. 1) the camera - after giving panorama images - turns toward the soil surface, 2) the dropping onto the rock surface 3) at the same time the gas-sensor starts to move down above the rock 4) the compass sensor also moves down on the arm which holds both the gas-sensor and the compass-sensor 5

  14. Bringing Terramechanics to bear on Planetary Rover Design

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richter, L.

    2007-08-01

    Thus far, planetary rovers have been successfully operated on the Earth's moon and on Mars. In particular, the two NASA Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) ,Spirit' and ,Opportunity' are still in sustained daily operations at two sites on Mars more than 3 years after landing there. Currently, several new planetary rover missions are in development targeting Mars (the US Mars Science Lab vehicle for launch in 2009 and ESA's ExoMars rover for launch in 2013), with lunar rover missions under study by China and Japan for launches around 2012. Moreover, the US Constellation program is preparing pre-development of lunar rovers for initially unmanned and, subsequently, human missions to the Moon with a corresponding team dedicated to mobility system development having been set up at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Given this dynamic environment, it was found timely to establish an expert group on off-the-road mobility as relevant for robotic vehicles that would involve individuals representing the various on-going efforts on the different continents. This was realized through the International Society of Terrain-Vehicle Systems (ISTVS), a research organisation devoted to terramechanics and to the ,science' of off-the-road vehicle development which as a result is just now establishing a Technical Group on Terrestrial and Planetary Rovers. Members represent space-related as well as military research institutes and universities from the US, Germany, Italy, and Japan. The group's charter for 2007 is to define its objectives, functions, organizational structure and recommended research objectives to support planetary rover design and development. Expected areas of activity of the ISTVS-sponsored group include: the problem of terrain specification for planetary rovers; identification of limitations in modelling of rover mobility; a survey of existing rover mobility testbeds; the consolidation of mobility predictive models and their state of validation; sensing and real

  15. Autonomous Rover for Polar GPR Surveys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ray, L.; Lever, J. H.; Courville, Z.; Walker, B.; Arcone, S. A.

    2015-12-01

    We deployed Yeti, an 80-kg, 4WD battery-powered rover to conduct ground-penetrating radar (GPR) surveys over crevasse-ridden ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. The rover navigated using GPS waypoint following and had 3 - 4 hr endurance at 5 km/hr while towing 60 - 70 kg of GPR equipment. Yeti's low ground pressure allowed it to cross thinly bridged crevasses without interrupting a survey. In Feb - Mar 2014, Yeti executed 23 autonomous GPR surveys covering 94 km of terrain on the ice transition to the main ice sheet in northwest Greenland. This was the first robotic effort directly to support manual crevasse surveys to map a safe route for vehicle travel, in this case a resupply traverse to Summit Station. Yeti towed a radar controller, 400 MHz antenna, GPS receiver and battery pack. Radar scan rate was 16 scans/m and pulse timing allowed good spatial resolution to about 20-m depth. The resulting data allowed us to map hundreds of subsurface crevasses and provide the results nightly to the manual survey team to compliment its efforts. We met our objectives: (a) to enhance operational efficiency of the concurrent manual surveys, and (b) to create a geo-referenced database of crevasse signatures to validate aerial- and satellite-based crevasse-mapping platforms. In Oct - Nov 2014, we deployed Yeti in Antarctica to conduct systematic GPR surveys across a crevasse-ridden section of the shear margin between the Ross and McMurdo ice shelves and thereby gain insight into its state of fracture and long-term stability. Yeti flawlessly executed a total of 613 km of autonomous GPR surveys at temperatures as low as - 33ºC. The rover towed a a radar controlling a 400 MHz and a 200 MHz antenna, the latter added to profile 160 m through the ice sheet. The main survey grid covered 5.7 km x 5.0 km, with survey lines at 50-m spacing oriented west-east across the Shear Zone (575 km total length). Yeti's tracks normally deviated only 1 - 2 m from a straight line between the two

  16. Revolutionary High Mobility Rovers for Rugged Terrain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, P. E.; Curtis, S. A.; Rilee, M. L.; Cheung, C. Y.; Wesenberg, R. P.; Dorband, J. E.; Lunsford, A. W.

    2006-05-01

    Reconfigurable architecture is essential in exploration because reaching features of the great potential interest, whether searching for life in volcanic terrain or water in at the bottom of craters, will require crossing a wide range of terrains. Such areas of interest are largely inaccessible to permanently appendaged vehicles. For example, morphology and geochemistry of interior basins, walls, and ejecta blankets of volcanic or impact structures must all be studied to understand the nature of a geological event. One surface might be relatively flat and navigable, while another could be rough, variably sloping, broken, or dominated by unconsolidated debris. To be totally functional, structures must form pseudo-appendages varying in size, rate, and manner of deployment (gait). We have already prototyped a simple robotic walker from a single reconfigurable tetrahedron (with struts as sides and nodes as apices) capable of tumbling and are simulating and building a prototype of the more evolved 12Tetrahedral Walker (Autonomous Moon or Mars Investigator) which has interior nodes for payload, more continuous motion, and is commandable through a user friendly interface. We are currently developing a more differentiated architecture to form detachable, reconfigurable, reshapable linearly extendable bodies to act as manual assistant subsystems on rovers, with extensions terminating in a wider range of sensors. We are now simulating gaits for and will be building a prototype rover arm. Ultimately, complex continuous n-tetrahedral structures will have deployable outer skin, and even higher degrees of freedom. Tetrahedral rover advantages over traditional wheeled or tread robots are being demonstrated and include abilities to: 1) traverse terrain more rugged in terms of slope, roughness, and obstacle size; 2) precisely place and lower instruments into hard-to-reach crevices; 3) sample more locations per unit time; 4) conform to virtually any terrain; 5) avoid falling down or

  17. Characterization of the Martian surface deposits by the Mars Pathfinder rover, Sojourner. Rover Team.

    PubMed

    1997-12-01

    Sojourner, the Mars Pathfinder rover, discovered pebbles on the surface and in rocks that may be sedimentary-not volcanic-in origin. Surface pebbles may have been rounded by Ares flood waters or liberated by weathering of sedimentary rocks called conglomerates. Conglomerates imply that water existed elsewhere and earlier than the Ares flood. Most soil-like deposits are similar to moderately dense soils on Earth. Small amounts of dust are currently settling from the atmosphere. PMID:9388171

  18. Progress in Development of the Axel Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nesnas, Issa A.; Helmick, Daniel M.; Volpe, Richard A.; Abad-Manterola, Pablo; Edlund, Jeffrey A.

    2010-01-01

    Progress has been made in the development of a family of robotic land vehicles having modular and minimalist design features chosen to impart a combination of robustness, reliability, and versatility. These vehicles at earlier stages of development were described in two previous NASA Tech Briefs articles: "Reconfigurable Exploratory Robotic Vehicles" (NPO-20944), Vol. 25, No. 7 (July 2001), page 56; and "More About Reconfigurable Exploratory Robotic Vehicles" (NPO-30890), Vol. 33, No. 8 (August 2009), page 40. Conceived for use in exploration of the surfaces of Mars and other remote planets, these vehicles could also be adapted to terrestrial applications, including exploration of volcanic craters or other hostile terrain, military reconnaissance, inspection of hazardous sites, and searching for victims of earthquakes, landslides, avalanches, or mining accidents. In addition, simplified versions of these vehicles might be marketable as toys. The most basic module in this family of reconfigurable robots is the Axel rover, which has a cylindrical body with two main wheels and a trailing link. Inside its body are three motors and associated mechanisms for driving the two wheels and for rotating the link 360 around its symmetrical body. The actuated link serves several purposes: It is used as a lever arm to react to the wheels thrust to move Axel in multiple directions. It is used to rotate the Axel housing in order to tilt, to the desired angle, any sensors and instruments mounted on or in the Axel housing. It provides an alternative mobility mode, which is primarily used in its tethered configuration. Turn ing the link into the ground in lieu of driving the wheels causes the Axel housing and wheels to roll as a unit and thereby leads to a tumbling motion along the ground. With a tether mounted around Axel s cylindrical body, the link serves as a winch mechanism to reel and unreel the tether raising and lowering Axel over steep and vertical surfaces (Figure 1

  19. Adaptive multisensor fusion for planetary exploration rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Collin, Marie-France; Kumar, Krishen; Pampagnin, Luc-Henri

    1992-01-01

    The purpose of the adaptive multisensor fusion system currently being designed at NASA/Johnson Space Center is to provide a robotic rover with assured vision and safe navigation capabilities during robotic missions on planetary surfaces. Our approach consists of using multispectral sensing devices ranging from visible to microwave wavelengths to fulfill the needs of perception for space robotics. Based on the illumination conditions and the sensors capabilities knowledge, the designed perception system should automatically select the best subset of sensors and their sensing modalities that will allow the perception and interpretation of the environment. Then, based on reflectance and emittance theoretical models, the sensor data are fused to extract the physical and geometrical surface properties of the environment surface slope, dielectric constant, temperature and roughness. The theoretical concepts, the design and first results of the multisensor perception system are presented.

  20. Rover: Autonomous concepts for Mars exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baiget, A.; Castets, B.; Chochon, H.; Hayard, M.; Lamarre, H.; Lamothe, A.

    1993-01-01

    The development of a mobile, autonomous vehicle that will be launched towards an unknown planet is considered. The rover significant constraints are: Ariane 5 compatibility, Earth/Mars transfer capability, 1000 km autonomous moving in Mars environment, on board localization, and maximum science capability. Two different types of subsystem were considered: classical subsystems (mechanical and mechanisms, thermal, telecommunications, power, onboard data processing) and robotics subsystem, (perception/navigation, autonomous displacement generation, autonomous localization). The needs of each subsystem were studied in terms of energy and data handling capability, in order to choose an on board architecture which best use the available capability, by means of specialized parts. A compromise must always be done between every subsystem in order to obtain the real need with respect to the goal, for example: between perception/navigation and the motion capability. A compromise must also be found between mechanical assembly and calibration need, which is a real problem.

  1. APXS on board Chandrayaan-2 Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shanmugam, M.; Sripada, V. S. Murty; Acharya, Y. B.; Goyal, S. K.

    2012-07-01

    Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) is a well proven instrument for quantitative in situ elemental analysis of the planetary surfaces and has been successfully employed for Mars surface exploration. Chandrayaan-2, ISRO's second lunar mission having an Orbiter, Lander and Rover has provided an opportunity to explore the lunar surface with superior detectors such as Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) with energy resolution of about 150eV @ 5.9keV. The objective of the APXS instrument is to analyse several soil/rock samples along the rover traverse for the major elements with characteristic X-rays in 1 to 25keV range. The working principle of APXS involves measuring the intensity of characteristic X-rays emitted from the sample due to Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and X-ray florescence (XRF) processes using suitable radioactive sources, allowing the determination of elements from Na to Br, spanning the energy range of 0.9 to 16keV. For this experiment ^{244}Cm radioactive source has been chosen which emits both Alpha particles (5.8MeV) and X-rays (14.1keV, 18keV). APXS uses six Alpha sources, each about 5mCi activity. Unlike Mars, lunar environment poses additional challenges due to the regolith and extreme surface temperature changes, to operate the APXS. Our APXS instrument consists of two packages namely APXS sensor head and APXS signal electronics. The sensor head assembly contains SDD, six alpha sources and front end electronic circuits such as preamplifier and shaper circuits and will be mounted on a robotic arm which on command brings the sensor head close to the lunar surface at a height of 35±10mm. SDD module to be used in the experiment has 30mm ^{2} active detector area with in-built peltier cooler and heat sink to maintain the detector at about -35°C. The detector is covered with 8 micron thick Be window which results in the low energy threshold of about 1keV. The size of the APXS sensor head is 70x70x70mm ^{3} (approx). APXS signal

  2. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel.

    The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life.

    Spirit acquired this mosaic with the panoramic camera's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters. The view presented here is an approximately true-color rendering.

  3. Pancam Mast Assembly on Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Warden, Robert M.; Cross, Mike; Harvison, Doug

    2004-01-01

    The Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA) for the 2003 Mars Rover is a deployable structure that provides an elevated platform for several cameras. The PMA consists of several mechanisms that enable it to raise the cameras as well as point the cameras in all directions. This paper describes the function of the various mechanisms as well as a description of the mechanisms and some test parameters. Designing these mechanisms to operate on the surface of Mars presented several challenges. Typical spacecraft mechanisms must operate in zero-gravity and high vacuum. These mechanisms needed to be designed to operate in Martian gravity and atmosphere. Testing conditions were a little easier because the mechanisms are not required to operate in a vacuum. All of the materials are vacuum compatible, but the mechanisms were tested in a dry nitrogen atmosphere at various cold temperatures.

  4. Extended mission/lunar rover, executive summary

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1992-01-01

    The design project selected to be undertaken by the 1991/92 Aerospace Design Group was that of conceptually designing an Extended Mission Rover for use on the Lunar Surface. This vehicle would serve the function as a mobile base of sorts, and be able to provide future astronauts with a mobile 'shirt-sleeve' self-sufficient living and working environment. Some of the proposed missions would be planetary surface exploration, construction and maintenance, hardware set-up and in-situ resource experimentation. The need for this type of vehicle has already been declared in the Stafford Group's report on the future of America's Space Program, entitled 'America at the Threshold: America's Space Exploration Initiative'. In the four architectures described within the report, the concept of a pressurized vehicle occurred multiple times. The approximate time frame that this vehicle would be put into use is 2010-2030.

  5. Data Management for Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Snyder, Joseph F.; Smyth, David E.

    2004-01-01

    Data Management for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) project is a comprehensive system addressing the needs of development, test, and operations phases of the mission. During development of flight software, including the science software, the data management system can be simulated using any POSIX file system. During testing, the on-board file system can be bit compared with files on the ground to verify proper behavior and end-to-end data flows. During mission operations, end-to-end accountability of data products is supported, from science observation concept to data products within the permanent ground repository. Automated and human-in-the-loop ground tools allow decisions regarding retransmitting, re-prioritizing, and deleting data products to be made using higher level information than is available to a protocol-stack approach such as the CCSDS File Delivery Protocol (CFDP).

  6. Mars Exploration Rover Flight Operations Technical Consultation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leckrone, Dave S.; Null, Cynthia H.; Caldwell, John; Graves, Claude; Konitinos, Dean A.

    2009-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed two golf-cart size robotic vehicles, Spirit and Opportunity, for geological exploration of designated target areas on the surface of Mars. The primary scientific objective of these missions was the search for evidence of the presence of water on or near the surface of the planet during its history. Spirit and Opportunity were launched on June 10 and July 7, 2003, with their respective landings scheduled for January 4 and January 25, 2004 (UTC). NASA views the MER missions as particularly critical because of their scientific importance in the ongoing search for conditions under which life might have existed elsewhere in the solar system, because of their high level of public interest and because more than half of all prior missions launched to Mars internationally have failed. This report summarizes the findings and recommendations of the NASA Engineering and Safety Center review of the project.

  7. Mars exploration rovers orbit determination system modeling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wawrzyniak, Geoffrey; Baird, Darren; Graat, Eric; McElrath, Tim; Portock, Brian; Watkins, Michael

    2006-06-01

    From June 2003 to January 2004, two spinning spacecraft journeyed from Earth to Mars. A team of navigators at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) accurately determined the orbits of both Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. For the navigation process to be successful, the team needed to know how nongravitational effects and how measurement system properties affected the trajectory and data modeling. To accomplish this, in addition to the standard gravitational and radiometric modeling of the spacecraft, a calibration was performed on each spacecraft to determine the amount of ΔV that might occur during a turn, a high-fidelity solar-radiation-pressure model was created, the spin signature was removed from the tracking data, the station locations of the Deep Space Network were resurveyed, and a model of interplanetary charged particles was developed. The result of this effort was near-perfect accuracy, surpassing the tight atmospheric-entry requirements for navigation of both spacecraft.

  8. Applying FastSLAM to Articulated Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hewitt, Robert Alexander

    This thesis presents the navigation algorithms designed for use on Kapvik, a 30 kg planetary micro-rover built for the Canadian Space Agency; the simulations used to test the algorithm; and novel techniques for terrain classification using Kapvik's LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) sensor. Kapvik implements a six-wheeled, skid-steered, rocker-bogie mobility system. This warrants a more complicated kinematic model for navigation than a typical 4-wheel differential drive system. The design of a 3D navigation algorithm is presented that includes nonlinear Kalman filtering and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM). A neural network for terrain classification is used to improve navigation performance. Simulation is used to train the neural network and validate the navigation algorithms. Real world tests of the terrain classification algorithm validate the use of simulation for training and the improvement to SLAM through the reduction of extraneous LIDAR measurements in each scan.

  9. Targeting and Localization for Mars Rover Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Powell, Mark W.; Crockett, Thomas; Fox, Jason M.; Joswig, Joseph C.; Norris, Jeffrey S.; Rabe, Kenneth J.

    2008-01-01

    A design and a partially developed application framework were presented for improving localization and targeting for surface spacecraft. The program has value for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, and has been delivered to support the Mars Exploration Rovers as part of the latest version of the Maestro science planning tool. It also has applications for future missions involving either surface-based or low-altitude atmospheric robotic vehicles. The targeting and localization solutions solve the problem of how to integrate localization estimate updates into operational planning tools, operational data product generalizations, and flight software by adding expanded flexibility to flight software, the operations data product pipeline, and operations planning tools based on coordinate frame updates during a planning cycle.

  10. The Mars Lander/Rover (MLR)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

    Growing interest in a future manned mission to Mars illuminated a critical need for more information on the Martian environment, surface conditions, weather patterns, topography, etc. While the Viking landers provided valuable information of this type, the information came from fixed locations. There is a real need for Viking type of information from a number of locations on the Martian surface in order to adequately survey the planet for future landing and exploration sites. Current site survey mission discussions range from Mars orbiters to sample return missions. The limited data return from the former and the extreme expense of the latter suggest consideration of a 'middle ground' mission which provides needed survey information for an acceptable investment. Utah State University (USU) designed a Mars Lander/Rover (MLR) for use in gathering needed environmental and surface information from Mars. Philosophically, the MLR resembles a mobile Viking; that is, it moves from location to location on the Martian surface, measuring environmental conditions, analyzing soil samples, charting topographical features etc. Measured data is then telemetered to earth for further analysis. Conceptually, it was envisioned that MLR survey locations would be rather widely separated. In that sense the MLR was not a terrestrial vehicle limited to local movement about a fixed location. Rather, it would have the capability for movement over long distances to reach widely separated locations. The design focus, then, was upon a Mars Lander/Rover that leaves an orbit around Mars, reenters and soft lands on the Martian surface and moves sequentially to widely scattered locations to sample, measure, and analyze Martian environmental and surface conditions. Primary goals were payload mass and size definition, characterization of the Martian atmosphere, selection of sampling locations, identification of alternative design concepts, selection of a preferred concept, team organization, and

  11. Mars 2001 Orbiter, Lander and Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Saunders, R. S.

    1999-09-01

    The Mars 2001 mission is well equipped to analyze the surface of Mars. The mission: 1) completes MO objectives with gamma ray spectrometer elemental mapping, 2) explores a new region of the Martian surface, and 3) is the first in the combined Mars strategy of the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS) and Space Science Enterprises of NASA. The mission demonstrates technologies and collects environmental data that provide the basis for permanent outposts or a decision to send humans to Mars. Potential sites include ancient crust and ancient aqueous environments. The orbiter carries the gamma ray spectrometer, a thermal emission spectrometer (THEMIS) and imager that will map the mineral abundance at selected sites and a radiation experiment, Marie, to assess radiation hazards. The lander carries a suite of Space Science and HEDS instruments including a robotic arm with camera. The arm will deploy a Moessbauer spectrometer to determine the state of iron in the soil. The arm will deploy the rover and dig up to 0.5 m to deliver soil to MECA, the soil and dust characterization experiments. The Mars In Situ Propellant Precursor Experiment (MIP) will assess in situ propellant production technology and produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. The landed Marie radiation experiment will assess radiation hazards on the surface. The lander carries a panoramic camera bore-sighted with a thermal emission spectrometer (PanCam/MiniTES) to allow comparison between mineralogical data and elemental data. The descent imaging system (MARDI) will image from parachute deployment to the surface. The rover is Sojourner class, with an upgraded Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) experiment carefully calibrated on Earth and on Mars. The instruments will be operated in an integrated mode to provide maximum capability to explore and characterize a new region on Mars. MSP-01 is a NASA/JPL Mission.

  12. Using Multi-Core Systems for Rover Autonomy

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clement, Brad; Estlin, Tara; Bornstein, Benjamin; Springer, Paul; Anderson, Robert C.

    2010-01-01

    Task Objectives are: (1) Develop and demonstrate key capabilities for rover long-range science operations using multi-core computing, (a) Adapt three rover technologies to execute on SOA multi-core processor (b) Illustrate performance improvements achieved (c) Demonstrate adapted capabilities with rover hardware, (2) Targeting three high-level autonomy technologies (a) Two for onboard data analysis (b) One for onboard command sequencing/planning, (3) Technologies identified as enabling for future missions, (4)Benefits will be measured along several metrics: (a) Execution time / Power requirements (b) Number of data products processed per unit time (c) Solution quality

  13. Mixed-Initiative Activity Planning for Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bresina, John; Jonsson, Ari; Morris, Paul; Rajan, Kanna

    2005-01-01

    One of the ground tools used to operate the Mars Exploration Rovers is a mixed-initiative planning system called MAPGEN. The role of the system is to assist operators building daily plans for each of the rovers, maximizing science return, while maintaining rover safety and abiding by science and engineering constraints. In this paper, we describe the MAPGEN system, focusing on the mixed-initiative planning aspect. We note important challenges, both in terms of human interaction and in terms of automated reasoning requirements. We then describe the approaches taken in MAPGEN, focusing on the novel methods developed by our team.

  14. Sources Sought for Innovative Scientific Instrumentation for Scientific Lunar Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meyer, C.

    1993-01-01

    Lunar rovers should be designed as integrated scientific measurement systems that address scientific goals as their main objective. Scientific goals for lunar rovers are presented. Teleoperated robotic field geologists will allow the science team to make discoveries using a wide range of sensory data collected by electronic 'eyes' and sophisticated scientific instrumentation. rovers need to operate in geologically interesting terrain (rock outcrops) and to identify and closely examine interesting rock samples. Enough flight-ready instruments are available to fly on the first mission, but additional instrument development based on emerging technology is desirable. Various instruments that need to be developed for later missions are described.

  15. A Comparison of Two Path Planners for Planetary Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tarokh, M.; Shiller, Z.; Hayati, S.

    1999-01-01

    The paper presents two path planners suitable for planetary rovers. The first is based on fuzzy description of the terrain, and genetic algorithm to find a traversable path in a rugged terrain. The second planner uses a global optimization method with a cost function that is the path distance divided by the velocity limit obtained from the consideration of the rover static and dynamic stability. A description of both methods is provided, and the results of paths produced are given which show the effectiveness of the path planners in finding near optimal paths. The features of the methods and their suitability and application for rover path planning are compared

  16. Terrain Modelling for Immersive Visualization for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, J.; Hartman, F.; Cooper, B.; Maxwell, S.; Yen, J.; Morrison, J.

    2004-01-01

    Immersive environments are being used to support mission operations at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This technology contributed to the Mars Pathfinder Mission in planning sorties for the Sojourner rover and is being used for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The stereo imagery captured by the rovers is used to create 3D terrain models, which can be viewed from any angle, to provide a powerful and information rich immersive visualization experience. These technologies contributed heavily to both the mission success and the phenomenal level of public outreach achieved by Mars Pathfinder and MER. This paper will review the utilization of terrain modelling for immersive environments in support of MER.

  17. Pressurized Rover for Moon and Mars Surface Missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Imhof, Barbara; Ransom, Stephen; Mohanty, Susmita; Özdemir, Kürsad; Häuplik-Meusburger, Sandra; Frischauf, Norbert; Hoheneder, Waltraut; Waclavicek, René

    The work described in this paper was done under ESA and Thales Alenia Space contract in the frame of the Analysis of Surface Architecture for European Space Exploration -Element Design. Future manned space missions to the Moon or to Mars will require a vehicle for transporting astronauts in a controlled and protected environment and in relative comfort during surface traverses of these planetary bodies. The vehicle that will be needed is a pressurized rover which serves the astronauts as a habitat, a refuge and a research laboratory/workshop. A number of basic issues influencing the design of such a rover, e.g. habitability, human-machine interfaces, safety, dust mitigation, interplanetary contamination and radiation protection, have been analysed in detail. The results of these analyses were subsequently used in an investigation of various designs for a rover suitable for surface exploration, from which a single concept was developed that satisfied scientific requirements as well as environmental requirements encoun-tered during surface exploration of the Moon and Mars. This concept was named in memory of the late Sir Arthur C. Clark RAMA (Rover for Advanced Mission Applications, Rover for Advanced Moon Applications, Rover for Advanced Mars Applications) The concept design of the pressurized rover meets the scientific and operational requirements defined during the course of the Surface Architecture Study. It is designed for surface missions with a crew of two or three lasting up to approximately 40 days, its source of energy, a liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen fuel cell, allowing it to be driven and operated during the day as well as the night. Guidance, navigation and obstacle avoidance systems are foreseen as standard equipment to allow it to travel safely over rough terrain at all times of the day. The rover allows extra-vehicular activity and a remote manipulator is provided to recover surface samples, to deploy surface instruments and equipment and, in general

  18. Requirements assessment and operational demands for a resource mapping rover mission to the lunar polar regions

    SciTech Connect

    KLARER,PAUL R.; BINDER,ALAN B.; LENARD,ROGER X.

    2000-01-26

    A preliminary set of requirements for a robotic rover mission to the lunar polar region are described and assessed. Tasks to be performed by the rover include core drill sample acquisition, mineral and volatile soil content assay, and significant wide area traversals. Assessment of the postulated requirements is performed using first order estimates of energy, power, and communications throughput issues. Two potential rover system configurations are considered, a smaller rover envisioned as part of a group of multiple rovers, and a larger single rover envisioned along more traditional planetary surface rover concept lines.

  19. Finding the path to a better Mars rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pivirotto, Donna S.

    1993-09-01

    A Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX) based on a basic Rocky 4 design and conducted in the framework of the NASA Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) Pathfinder program is described. The MFEX rover design features six powered wheels attached by a set of 'bogie levers' to a single body. The rover is designed to perform technology, science, and mission experiments. Instruments on the rover mechanisms will determine wheel-soil interactions, detect hazards, and determine navigational errors. Science data will be gathered using an alpha-proton-X-ray spectrometer against one or more rocks, and possible soil. The pathfinder will also serve as an engineering test of a transport and landing system for the MESUR network mission and the rover will image the lander to assess its condition.

  20. Rover Finds Mars Past Could Have Supported Life

    NASA Video Gallery

    Rocks examined by NASA's Spirit Mars Rover hold evidence of a wet, non-acidic ancient environment that may have been favorable for life. Confirming this mineral clue took four years of analysis by ...

  1. NASA Ames Celebrates Curiosity Rover's Landing on Mars

    NASA Video Gallery

    Nearly 7,000 people came to NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., to watch the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity land on Mars. A full day's worth of activities and discussions wit...

  2. Intelligent rover decision-making in response to exogenous events

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chouinard, C.; Estlin, T.; Gaines, D.; Fisher, F.

    2005-01-01

    This paper presents an introduction to the CLEAR system which performs rover command generation and re-planning, the challenges faced maintaining domain specific information in an uncertain environment, and the successes demonstrated with several methods of system testing.

  3. Machine learning challenges in Mars rover traverse science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Castano, R.; Judd, M.; Anderson, R. C.; Estlin, T.

    2003-01-01

    The successful implementation of machine learning in autonomous rover traverse science requires addressing challenges that range from the analytical technical realm, to the fuzzy, philosophical domain of entrenched belief systems within scientists and mission managers.

  4. Finding the path to a better Mars rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pivirotto, Donna S.

    1993-01-01

    A Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX) based on a basic Rocky 4 design and conducted in the framework of the NASA Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) Pathfinder program is described. The MFEX rover design features six powered wheels attached by a set of 'bogie levers' to a single body. The rover is designed to perform technology, science, and mission experiments. Instruments on the rover mechanisms will determine wheel-soil interactions, detect hazards, and determine navigational errors. Science data will be gathered using an alpha-proton-X-ray spectrometer against one or more rocks, and possible soil. The pathfinder will also serve as an engineering test of a transport and landing system for the MESUR network mission and the rover will image the lander to assess its condition.

  5. Mars Exploration Rover mobility assembly design, test and performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lindemann, Randel A.; Voorhees, Chris J.

    2005-01-01

    Key to the success of the rovers was the development of their advanced mobility system. In this paper the mobility assembly, the mechanical hardware that determines the vehicles mobility capability, is described.

  6. Deployment Process, Mechanization, and Testing for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Iskenderian, Ted

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Mar Exploration Rover (MER) robotic prospectors were produced in an environment of unusually challenging schedule, volume, and mass restrictions. The technical challenges pushed the system s design towards extensive integration of function, which resulted in complex system engineering issues. One example of the system's integrated complexity can be found in the deployment process for the rover. Part of this process, rover "standup", is outlined in this paper. Particular attention is given to the Rover Lift Mechanism's (RLM) role and its design. Analysis methods are presented and compared to test results. It is shown that because prudent design principles were followed, a robust mechanism was created that minimized the duration of integration and test, and enabled recovery without perturbing related systems when reasonably foreseeable problems did occur. Examples of avoidable, unnecessary difficulty are also presented.

  7. Animation of Curiosity Rover's First 'Touch and Go'

    NASA Video Gallery

    Animation shows NASA's Mars Curiosity rover touching a rock with aninstrument on its arm, then stowing the arm and driving on.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech› Curiosity's mission site › Related s...

  8. The Mars Exploration Rover Surface Mobility Flight Software: Driving Ambition

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Biesiadecki, Jeffrey J.; Maimone, Mark W.

    2006-01-01

    In this paper we describe the software that has driven these rovers more than a combined 11,000 meters over the Martian surface, including its design and implementation, and summarize current mobility performance results from Mars.

  9. A Framework for Distributed Rover Control and Three Sample Applications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McGuire, Steve

    2001-01-01

    In order to develop quality control software for multiple robots, a common interface is required. By developing components in a modular fashion with well-defined boundaries, roboticists can write code to program a generic rover, and only require very simple modifications to run on any robot with a properly implemented framework. The proposed framework advances a Generic Rover that could be any rover, from Real World Interface's All Terrain Robot Vehicle Jr. series to the Fido-class rovers from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to any other research robot. Using these generic hardware interfaces, software designers and engineers can concentrate on the actual code, and not have to worry about hardware details. In addition to the hardware support framework, three sample applications have been developed to demonstrate the flexibility and extensibility of the framework.

  10. Planning for execution monitoring on a planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gat, Erann; Firby, R. James; Miller, David P.

    1990-01-01

    A planetary rover will be traversing largely unknown and often unknowable terrain. In addition to geometric obstacles such as cliffs, rocks, and holes, it may also have to deal with non-geometric hazards such as soft soil and surface breakthroughs which often cannot be detected until rover is in imminent danger. Therefore, the rover must monitor its progress throughout a traverse, making sure to stay on course and to detect and act on any previously unseen hazards. Its onboard planning system must decide what sensors to monitor, what landmarks to take position readings from, and what actions to take if something should go wrong. The planning systems being developed for the Pathfinder Planetary Rover to perform these execution monitoring tasks are discussed. This system includes a network of planners to perform path planning, expectation generation, path analysis, sensor and reaction selection, and resource allocation.

  11. Getting the Most from the Twin Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Laufenberg, Larry

    2003-01-01

    The report discusses the Mixed-initiative Activity Planning GENerator (MARGEN) automatically generates activity plans for rovers. Decision support system mixes autonomous planning/scheduling with user modifications. Accommodating change. Technology spotlight

  12. Launch vehicle accident assessment for Mars Exploration Rover missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Yau, M.; Reinhart, L.; Guarro, S.

    2002-01-01

    This paper presents the methodology used in the launch and space vehicle portion of the nuclear risk assessment for the two Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions, which includes the assessment of accident scenarios and associated probabilities.

  13. NASA Unveils Xbox Kinect 'Mars Rover Landing' Game

    NASA Video Gallery

    Danielle Roosa, granddaughter of Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa, demonstrates NASA and Microsoft's free Kinect interactive Xbox video game, "Mars Rover Landing." The new game lets players try the...

  14. Design of a Day/Night Lunar Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berkelman, Peter; Easudes, Jesse; Martin, Martin C.; Rollins, Eric; Silberman, Jack; Chen, Mei; Hancock, John; Mor, Andrew B.; Sharf, Alex; Warren, Tom; Bapna, Deepak

    1995-06-01

    The pair of lunar rovers discussed in this report will return video and state data to various ventures, including theme park and marketing concerns, science agencies, and educational institutions. The greatest challenge accepted by the design team was to enable operations throughout the extremely cold and dark lunar night, an unprecedented goal in planetary exploration. This is achieved through the use of the emerging technology of Alkali Metal Thermal to Electric Converters (AMTEC), provided with heat from a innovative beta-decay heat source, Krypton-85 gas. Although previous space missions have returned still images, our design will convey panoramic video from a ring of cameras around the rover. A six-wheel rocker bogie mechanism is implemented to propel the rover. The rovers will also provide the ability to safeguard their operation to allow untrained members of the general public to drive the vehicle. Additionally, scientific exploration and educational outreach will be supported with a user operable, steerable and zoomable camera.

  15. The Mars Exploration Rover Project : 2005 surface operations results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Erickson, James K.; Callas, John L.; Haldemann, Albert F. C.

    2005-01-01

    The intent of this paper is to provide the aerospace community a status report of the progress of the Mars Rovers exploration of the Martian surface, picking up after the landings and continuing through fiscal year 2005.

  16. Mars Exploration Rover Operations with the Science Activity Planner

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jeffrey S. Norris; Powell, Mark W.; Vona, Marsette A.; Backes, Paul G.; Wick, Justin V.

    2005-01-01

    The Science Activity Planner (SAP) is the primary science operations tool for the Mars Exploration Rover mission and NASA's Software of the Year for 2004. SAP utilizes a variety of visualization and planning capabilities to enable the mission operations team to direct the activities of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers. This paper outlines some of the challenging requirements that drove the design of SAP and discusses lessons learned from the development and use of SAP in mission operations.

  17. (abstract) Telecommunications for Mars Rovers and Robotic Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cesarone, Robert J.; Hastrup, Rolf C.; Horne, William; McOmber, Robert

    1997-01-01

    Telecommunications plays a key role in all rover and robotic missions to Mars both as a conduit for command information to the mission and for scientific data from the mission. Telecommunications to the Earth may be accomplished using direct-to-Earth links via the Deep Space Network (DSN) or by relay links supported by other missions at Mars. This paper reviews current plans for missions to Mars through the 2005 launch opportunity and their capabilities in support of rover and robotic telecommunications.

  18. Mars Exploration Rover: thermal design is a system engineering activity

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsuyuki, Glenn T.; Avila, Arturo; Awaya, Henry I.; Krylo, Robert; Novak, Keith; Phillips, Charles

    2003-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), were launched in June and July of 2003, repsectively and successfully landed on Mars in early and late January of 2004, repectively. The flight system architecture implemented many successful features of the Mars Pathfinder (MPF) system: A cruise stage that transported an entry vehicle that housed the Lander, which in turn, used airbags to cushion the Rover during the landing event.

  19. Development of Testing Station for Prototype Rover Thermal Subsystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burlingame, Kaitlin

    2010-01-01

    In order to successfully and efficiently explore the moon or other planets, a vehicle must be built to assist astronauts as they travel across the surface. One concept created to meet this need is NASA's Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV). The SEV, a small pressurized cabin integrated onto a 12-wheeled chassis, can support two astronauts up to 14 days. Engineers are currently developing the second generation of the SEV, with the goal of being faster, more robust, and able to carry a heavier payload. In order to function properly, the rover must dissipate heat produced during operation and maintain an appropriate temperature profile inside the rover. If these activities do not occur, components of the rover will start to break down, eventually leading to the failure of the rover. On the rover, these requirements are the responsibility of the thermal subsystem. My project for the summer was to design and build a testing station to facilitate the design and testing of the new thermal subsystem. As the rover develops, initial low fidelity parts can be interchanged for the high fidelity parts used on the rover. Based on a schematic of the proposed thermal system, I sized and selected parts for each of the components in the thermal subsystem. For the components in the system that produced heat but had not yet been finalized or fabricated, I used power resistors to model their load patterns. I also selected all of the fittings to put the system together and a mounting platform to support the testing station. Finally, I implemented sensors at various points in the system to measure the temperature, pressure, and flow rate, and a data acquisition system to collect this information. In the future, the information from these sensors will be used to study the behavior of the subsystem under different conditions and select the best part for the rover.

  20. Rig Rover System views wellhead from every angle

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1983-09-01

    The Rig Rover System (RRS), a new type of submersible remotely operated vehicle (ROV), has been introduced by Deep Ocean Technology, Oakland, California. It is described as a sophisticated wellhead TV with remote controlled arms, or a remotely controlled vehicle that is deployed like a wellhead TV. The RRS is available in 2 models. Rig Rover was designed specifically to support offshore exploration drilling to 2000 ft. of water.

  1. NASA Mars 2020 Rover Mission: New Frontiers in Science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Calle, Carlos I.

    2014-01-01

    The Mars 2020 rover mission is the next step in NASAs robotic exploration of the red planet. The rover, based on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover now on Mars, will address key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission would also provide opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.Like the Mars Science Laboratory rover, which has been exploring Mars since 2012, the Mars 2020 spacecraft will use a guided entry, descent, and landing system which includes a parachute, descent vehicle, and, during the provides the ability to land a very large, heavy rover on the surface of Mars in a more precise landing area. The Mars 2020 mission is designed to accomplish several high-priority planetary science goals and will be an important step toward meeting NASAs challenge to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. The mission will conduct geological assessments of the rover's landing site, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. The science instruments aboard the rover also will enable scientists to identify and select a collection of rock and soil samples that will be stored for potential return to Earth in the future. The rover also may help designers of a human expedition understand the hazards posed by Martian dust and demonstrate how to collect carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which could be a valuable resource for producing oxygen and rocket fuel.

  2. Mars Exploration Rovers Launch Contingency Efforts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGrath, Brian E.; Frostbutter, David A.; Parthasarathy, Karungulam N.; Heyler, Gene A.; Chang, Yale

    2004-02-01

    On 10 June 2003 at 1:58 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and 7 July 2003 at 11:18 p.m. EDT, two separate spacecraft/rovers were successfully launched to Mars atop a Delta II 7925 and Delta II 7925H, respectively. Each spacecraft/rover carried eight Light Weight Radioisotope Heater Units (LWRHUs) for thermal conditioning of electronics during the cold Martian nights. As a part of the joint National Aeronautics and Space Administration/U. S. Department of Energy safety effort, a contingency plan was prepared to address the unlikely events of an accidental suborbital reentry or out-of-orbit reentry. The objective of the contingency plan was to develop and implement procedures to predict, within the first hour, the probable Earth Impact Footprints (EIFs) for the LWRHUs or other possible spacecraft debris after an accidental reentry. No ablation burn-through of the heat sources' aeroshells was expected, as a result of earlier testing. Any predictions would be used in subsequent notification and recovery efforts. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, as part of a multi-agency team, was responsible for prediction of the EIFs, and the time of reentry from a potential orbital decay. The tools used to predict the EIFs included a Three-Degree-of-Freedom (3DOF) trajectory simulation code, a Six-Degree-of-Freedom (6DOF) code, a database of aerodynamic coefficients for the LWRHUs and other spacecraft debris, secure links to obtain tracking data, and a high fidelity special perturbation orbit integrator code to predict time of spacecraft reentry from orbital decay. This paper will discuss the contingency plan and process, as well as highlight the improvements made to the analytical tools. Improvements to the 3DOF, aerodynamic database, and orbit integrator and inclusion of the 6DOF have significantly enhanced the prediction capabilities. In the days before launch, the trajectory simulation codes were exercised and predictions of hypothetical EIFs were produced

  3. Positive-Buoyancy Rover for Under Ice Mobility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leichty, John M.; Klesh, Andrew T.; Berisford, Daniel F.; Matthews, Jaret B.; Hand, Kevin P.

    2013-01-01

    A buoyant rover has been developed to traverse the underside of ice-covered lakes and seas. The rover operates at the ice/water interface and permits direct observation and measurement of processes affecting freeze- over and thaw events in lake and marine environments. Operating along the 2- D ice-water interface simplifies many aspects of underwater exploration, especially when compared to submersibles, which have difficulty in station-keeping and precision mobility. The buoyant rover consists of an all aluminum body with two aluminum sawtooth wheels. The two independent body segments are sandwiched between four actuators that permit isolation of wheel movement from movement of the central tether spool. For normal operations, the wheels move while the tether spool feeds out line and the cameras on each segment maintain a user-controlled fixed position. Typically one camera targets the ice/water interface and one camera looks down to the lake floor to identify seep sources. Each wheel can be operated independently for precision turning and adjustments. The rover is controlled by a touch- tablet interface and wireless goggles enable real-time viewing of video streamed from the rover cameras. The buoyant rover was successfully deployed and tested during an October 2012 field campaign to investigate methane trapped in ice in lakes along the North Slope of Alaska.

  4. Visual Target Tracking on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Won S.; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey J.; Ali, Khaled S.

    2008-01-01

    Visual Target Tracking (VTT) has been implemented in the new Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Flight Software (FSW) R9.2 release, which is now running on both Spirit and Opportunity rovers. Applying the normalized cross-correlation (NCC) algorithm with template image magnification and roll compensation on MER Navcam images, VTT tracks the target and enables the rover to approach the target within a few cm over a 10 m traverse. Each VTT update takes 1/2 to 1 minute on the rovers, 2-3 times faster than one Visual Odometry (Visodom) update. VTT is a key element to achieve a target approach and instrument placement over a 10-m run in a single sol in contrast to the original baseline of 3 sols. VTT has been integrated into the MER FSW so that it can operate with any combination of blind driving, Autonomous Navigation (Autonav) with hazard avoidance, and Visodom. VTT can either guide the rover towards the target or simply image the target as the rover drives by. Three recent VTT operational checkouts on Opportunity were all successful, tracking the selected target reliably within a few pixels.

  5. A Cross-Site Visual Localization Method for Yutu Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wan, W.; Liu, Z.; Di, K.; Wang, B.; Zhou, J.

    2014-04-01

    Localization of the rover is critical to support science and engineering operations in planetary rover missions, such as rover traverse planning and hazard avoidance. It is desirable for planetary rover to have visual localization capability with high degree of automation and quick turnaround time. In this research, we developed a visual localization method for lunar rover, which is capable of deriving accurate localization results from cross-site stereo images. Tie points are searched in correspondent areas predicted by initial localization results and determined by ASIFT matching algorithm. Accurate localization results are derived from bundle adjustment based on an image network constructed by the tie points. In order to investigate the performance of proposed method, theoretical accuracy analysis on is implemented by means of error propagation principles. Field experiments were conducted to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method in practical applications. Experiment results prove that the proposed method provides more accurate localization results (1 %~4 %) than dead-reckoning. After more validations and enhancements, the developed rover localization method has been successfully used in Chang'e-3 mission operations.

  6. A Conceptual Venus Rover Mission Using Advanced Radioisotope Power Systems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, Michael; Shirley, James H.; Abelson, Robert Dean

    2006-01-01

    This concept study demonstrates that a long lived Venus rover mission could be enabled by a novel application of advanced RPS technology. General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules would be employed to drive an advanced thermoacoustic Stirling engine, pulse tube cooler and linear alternator that provides electric power and cooling for the rover. The Thermoacoustic Stirling Heat Engine (TASHE) is a system for converting high-temperature heat into acoustic power which then drives linear alternators and a pulse tube cooler to provide both electric power and coolin6g for the rover. A small design team examined this mission concept focusing on the feasibility of using the TASHE system in this hostile environment. A rover design is described that would provide a mobile platform for science measurements on the Venus surface for 60 days, with the potential of operating well beyond that. A suite of science instruments is described that collects data on atmospheric and surface composition, surface stratigraphy, and subsurface structure. An Earth-Venus-Venus trajectory would be used to deliver the rover to a low entry angle allowing an inflated ballute to provide a low deceleration and low heat descent to the surface. All rover systems would be housed in a pressure vessel in vacuum with the internal temperature maintained by the TASHE at under 50 °C.

  7. Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Berisford, D. F.; Leichty, J. M.; Klesh, A. T.; Matthews, J. B.; Hand, K. P.

    2012-12-01

    We have designed, constructed and tested a prototype robotic mobility platform for exploring the underside of ice sheets in frozen lake or ocean environments. The ice-water interface often provides some of the most interesting and dynamic chemistry in partially frozen systems, as dissolved impurities are rejected from the advancing freezing front. Higher concentrations of microorganisms can be found in this region, and the topography of the ice underside can help reveal the history of its formation. Furthermore, in lake environments ice cover can serve to trap gases released from biological and geological processes in the subsurface. The rover uses a two-wheeled design with a flexible dragging tail, enabling it to fit into a 10-inch diameter ice borehole. The sealed air-filled cylindrical body, along with closed-cell foam inside of cone-shaped wheels, provides buoyancy force to enable roving along the underside of the ice. The prototype contains two cameras that stream live video via a tethered connection to a ground station and uses semi-autonomous control via a PC. Preliminary testing of the prototype in a cold lab and in northern Alaskan thermokarst lakes demonstrates the utility and simplicity of this type of robotic platform for exploring the ice-water interface. This technology has potential future use in landed missions to icy ocean worlds in the solar system.

  8. Rover Wheel-Actuated Tool Interface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matthews, Janet; Ahmad, Norman; Wilcox, Brian

    2007-01-01

    A report describes an interface for utilizing some of the mobility features of a mobile robot for general-purpose manipulation of tools and other objects. The robot in question, now undergoing conceptual development for use on the Moon, is the All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) rover, which is designed to roll over gentle terrain or walk over rough or steep terrain. Each leg of the robot is a six-degree-of-freedom general purpose manipulator tipped by a wheel with a motor drive. The tool interface includes a square cross-section peg, equivalent to a conventional socket-wrench drive, that rotates with the wheel. The tool interface also includes a clamp that holds a tool on the peg, and a pair of fold-out cameras that provides close-up stereoscopic images of the tool and its vicinity. The field of view of the imagers is actuated by the clamp mechanism and is specific to each tool. The motor drive can power any of a variety of tools, including rotating tools for helical fasteners, drills, and such clamping tools as pliers. With the addition of a flexible coupling, it could also power another tool or remote manipulator at a short distance. The socket drive can provide very high torque and power because it is driven by the wheel motor.

  9. Mars Exploration Rovers Landing Dispersion Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Knocke, Philip C.; Wawrzyniak, Geoffrey G.; Kennedy, Brian M.; Desai, Prasun N.; Parker, TImothy J.; Golombek, Matthew P.; Duxbury, Thomas C.; Kass, David M.

    2004-01-01

    Landing dispersion estimates for the Mars Exploration Rover missions were key elements in the site targeting process and in the evaluation of landing risk. This paper addresses the process and results of the landing dispersion analyses performed for both Spirit and Opportunity. The several contributors to landing dispersions (navigation and atmospheric uncertainties, spacecraft modeling, winds, and margins) are discussed, as are the analysis tools used. JPL's MarsLS program, a MATLAB-based landing dispersion visualization and statistical analysis tool, was used to calculate the probability of landing within hazardous areas. By convolving this with the probability of landing within flight system limits (in-spec landing) for each hazard area, a single overall measure of landing risk was calculated for each landing ellipse. In-spec probability contours were also generated, allowing a more synoptic view of site risks, illustrating the sensitivity to changes in landing location, and quantifying the possible consequences of anomalies such as incomplete maneuvers. Data and products required to support these analyses are described, including the landing footprints calculated by NASA Langley's POST program and JPL's AEPL program, cartographically registered base maps and hazard maps, and flight system estimates of in-spec landing probabilities for each hazard terrain type. Various factors encountered during operations, including evolving navigation estimates and changing atmospheric models, are discussed and final landing points are compared with approach estimates.

  10. A New Paradigm for Robotic Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, P. E.; Curtis, S. A.; Rilee, M. L.

    We are in the process of developing rovers with extreme mobility needed to explore remote, rugged terrain. We call these systems Tetrahedral Explorer Technologies (TETs). Architecture is based on conformable tetrahedra, the simplest space-filling form, as building blocks, single or networked, where apices act as nodes from which struts reversibly deploy. The tetrahedral framework acts as a simple skeletal muscular structure. We have already prototyped a simple robotic walker from a single reconfigurable tetrahedron capable of tumbling and a more evolved 12Tetrahedral Walker, the Autonomous Landed Investigator (ALI), which has interior nodes for payload, more continuous motion, and is commandable through a user friendly interface. ALI is an EMS level mission concept which would allow autonomous in situ exploration of the lunar poles within the next decade. ALI would consist of one or more 12tetrahedral walkers capable of rapid locomotion with the many degrees of freedom and equipped for navigation in the unilluminated, inaccessible and thus largely unexplored rugged terrains where lunar resources are likely to be found: the Polar Regions. ALI walkers would act as roving reconnaissance teams for unexplored regions, analyzing samples along the way.

  11. Lessons Learned From Field Tests Of Planetary Surface Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, C. R.

    2003-04-01

    I review results and lessons learned from field tests of planetary surface rovers. Terrestrial field tests help to train scientists in rover capabilities, and guides developments to improve them. Key metrics of rover science performance include distance traveled and number of science targets studied using instrument placement or sample manipulation. Field tests show that traverse range is governed primarily by commanding frequency rather than a rover’s maximum speed. With real-time feedback, teleoperated rovers can traverse kilometers per day. With commanded operations, typical traverses are a few meters. Longer traverses are risky and error prone. Tasks requiring moving a few meters to a target followed by manipulation or instrument placement take several command cycles per target. Higher level autonomy for navigation and manipulation is needed to improve performance. Rovers are being called upon to play a key role in the search for evidence of life on Mars. Conditions on the Martian surface today appear to preclude living organisms, but more clement conditions in the past may have supported the formation of a fossil record. However, any fossil record on Mars is likely to be produced by microbial life, and to be extremely ancient. Finding unambiguous evidence of biogenic origin of putative fossil structures will require collecting high priority samples and returning them to Earth. Recognition of fossiliferous deposits using rover data is problematical. Information provided by a rover is of very low bandwidth and fidelity compared to that observed by a field geologist. Limitations arise in both quality and quantity of data transmitted to Earth. In a rover mission simulation performed in a fossil-rich terrestrial field site hosting dinosaur tracks and stromatolites, science teams did not find any evidence of fossils. However, living organisms such as endolithic microorganisms and lichens have been identified in field experiments using color imaging and

  12. Mars exploration rover geologic traverse by the spirit rover in the plains of Gusev crater, Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Crumpler, L.S.; Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J.F.; Blaney, D.; Cabrol, N.A.; Christensen, P.R.; DesMarais, D.J.; Farmer, J.D.; Fergason, R.; Golombek, M.P.; Grant, F.D.; Grant, J. A.; Greeley, R.; Hahn, B.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Knudson, A.T.; Landis, G.A.; Li, R.; Maki, J.; McSween, H.Y.; Ming, D. W.; Moersch, J.E.; Payne, M.C.; Rice, J.W.; Richter, L.; Ruff, S.W.; Sims, M.; Thompson, S.D.; Tosca, N.; Wang, A.; Whelley, P.; Wright, S.P.; Wyatt, M.B.

    2005-01-01

    The Spirit rover completed a 2.5 km traverse across gently sloping plains on the floor of Gusev crater from its location on the outer rim of Bonneville crater to the lower slopes of the Columbia Hills, Mars. Using the Athena suite of instruments in a transect approach, a systematic series of overlapping panoramic mosaics, remote sensing observations, surface analyses, and trenching operations documented the lateral variations in landforms, geologic materials, and chemistry of the surface throughout the traverse, demonstrating the ability to apply the techniques of field geology by remote rover operations. Textures and shapes of rocks within the plains are consistent with derivation from impact excavation and mixing of the upper few meters of basaltic lavas. The contact between surrounding plains and crater ejecta is generally abrupt and marked by increases in clast abundance and decimeter-scale steps in relief. Basaltic materials of the plains overlie less indurated and more altered rock types at a time-stratigraphic contact between the plains and Columbia Hills that occurs over a distance of one to two meters. This implies that regional geologic contacts are well preserved and that Earth-like field geologic mapping will be possible on Mars despite eons of overturn by small impacts. ?? 2005 Geological Society of America.

  13. The Mars Exploration Rover/Collaborative Information Portal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Walton, Joan; Filman, Robert E.; Schreiner, John; Koga, Dennis (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Astrology has long argued that the alignment of the planets governs human affairs. Science usually scoffs at this. There is, however, an important exception: sending spacecraft for planetary exploration. In late May and early June, 2003, Mars will be in position for Earth launch. Two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) will rocket towards the red planet. The rovers will perform a series of geological and meteorological experiments, seeking to examine geological evidence for water and conditions once favorable for life. Back on earth, a small army of surface operations staff will work to keep the rovers running, sending directions for each day's operations and receiving the files encoding the outputs of the Rover's six instruments. (Mars is twenty light minutes from Earth. The rovers must be robots.) The fundamental purpose of the project is, after all, Science. Scientists have experiments they want to run. Ideally, scientists want to be immediately notified when the data products of their experiments have been received, so that they can examine their data and (collaboratively) deduce results. Mars is an unpredictable environment. We may issue commands to the rovers but there is considerable uncertainty in how the commands will be executed and whether what the rovers sense will be worthy of further pursuit. The steps of what is, to a scientist, conceptually an individual experiment may be scattered over a large number of activities. While the scientific staff has an overall strategic idea of what it would like to accomplish, activities are planned daily. The data and surprises of the previous day need to be integrated into the negotiations for the next day's activities, all synchronized to a schedule of transmission windows . Negotiations is the operative term, as different scientists want the resources to run possibly incompatible experiments. Many meetings plan each day's activities.

  14. Device for Lowering Mars Science Laboratory Rover to the Surface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This is hardware for controlling the final lowering of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover to the surface of Mars from the spacecraft's hovering, rocket-powered descent stage.

    The photo shows the bridle device assembly, which is about two-thirds of a meter, or 2 feet, from end to end, and has two main parts. The cylinder on the left is the descent brake. On the right is the bridle assembly, including a spool of nylon and Vectran cords that will be attached to the rover.

    When pyrotechnic bolts fire to sever the rigid connection between the rover and the descent stage, gravity will pull the tethered rover away from the descent stage. The bridle or tether, attached to three points on the rover, will unspool from the bridle assembly, beginning from the larger-diameter portion of the spool at far right. The rotation rate of the assembly, hence the descent rate of the rover, will be governed by the descent brake. Inside the housing of that brake are gear boxes and banks of mechanical resistors engineered to prevent the bridle from spooling out too quickly or too slowly. The length of the bridle will allow the rover to be lowered about 7.5 meters (25 feet) while still tethered to the descent stage.

    The Starsys division of SpaceDev Inc., Poway, Calif., provided the descent brake. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., built the bridle assembly. Vectran is a product of Kuraray Co. Ltd., Tokyo. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

  15. Small Power Technology for Tetrahedral Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, P. E.; Floyd, S. R.; Butler, C. D.; Flom, Y.

    2006-01-01

    The Small Power Technology (SPOT) being studied at GSFC has the potential to be an efficient and compact radioisotope based electrical power system. Such a system would provide power for innovative tetrahedral robotic arms and walkers to support the lunar exploration initiative within the next decade. Presently, NASA has designated two flight qualified Radioisotope Power Supplies (RPS): the Multi-Mission RTG (MMRTG) which uses thermocouple technology and the more efficient but more massive Stirling RTG (SRTG) which uses a mechanical heat (Stirling) engine technology. With SPOT, thermal output from a radioisotope source is converted to electrical power using a combination of shape memory material and piezoelectric crystals. The SPOT combined energy conversion technologies are potentially more efficient than thermocouples and do not require moving parts, thus keeping efficiency high with an excellent mass to power ratio. Applications of particular interest are highly modular, addressable, reconfigurable arrays of tetrahedral structural components designed to be arms or rovers with high mobility in rough terrain. Such prototypes are currently being built at GSFC. Missions requiring long-lived operation in unilluminated environments preclude the use of solar cells as the main power source and must rely on the use of RPS technology. The design concept calls for a small motor and battery assembly for each strut, and thus a distributed power system. We estimate, based on performance of our current tetrahedral prototypes and power scaling for small motors, that such devices require tens of watts of power output per kilogram of power supply. For these reasons, SPOT is a good candidate for the ART (addressable Reconfigurable Technology) baseline power system.

  16. Pancam Imaging of the Mars Exploration Rover Landing Sites in Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, J. F., III; Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Arneson, H. M.; Bass, D.; Cabrol, N.; Calvin, W.; Farmer, J.; Farrand, W. H.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers carry four Panoramic Camera (Pancam) instruments (two per rover) that have obtained high resolution multispectral and stereoscopic images for studies of the geology, mineralogy, and surface and atmospheric physical properties at both rover landing sites. The Pancams are also providing significant mission support measurements for the rovers, including Sun-finding for rover navigation, hazard identification and digital terrain modeling to help guide long-term rover traverse decisions, high resolution imaging to help guide the selection of in situ sampling targets, and acquisition of education and public outreach imaging products.

  17. Improved Path Planning Onboard the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stentz, Anthony; Ferguson, David; Carsten, Joseph; Rankin, Arturo

    2007-01-01

    A revised version of the AutoNav (autonomous navigation with hazard avoidance) software running onboard each Mars Exploration Rover (MER) affords better obstacle avoidance than does the previous version. Both versions include GESTALT (Grid-based Estimation of Surface Traversability Applied to Local Terrain), a navigation program that generates local-terrain models from stereoscopic image pairs captured by onboard rover cameras; uses this information to evaluate candidate arcs that extend across the terrain from the current rover location; ranks the arcs with respect to hazard avoidance, minimization of steering time, and the direction towards the goal; and combines the rankings in a weighted vote to select an arc, along which the rover is then driven. GESTALT works well in navigating around small isolated obstacles, but tends to fail when the goal is on the other side of a large obstacle or multiple closely spaced small obstacles. When that occurs, the goal seeking votes and hazard avoidance votes conflict severely. The hazard avoidance votes will not allow the rover to drive through the unsafe area, and the waypoint votes will not allow enough deviation from the straight-line path for the rover to get around the hazard. The rover becomes stuck and is unable to reach the goal. The revised version of AutoNav utilizes a global path-planning program, Field D*, to evaluate the cost of traveling from the end of each GESTALT arc to the goal. In the voting process, Field D* arc votes supplant GESTALT goal-seeking arc votes. Hazard avoidance, steering bias, and Field D* votes are merged and the rover is driven a preset distance along the arc with the highest vote. Then new images are acquired and the process as described is repeated until the goal is reached. This new technology allows the rovers to autonomously navigate around much more complex obstacle arrangements than was previously possible. In addition, this improved autonomy enables longer traverses per Sol (a day

  18. Planetary surface exploration: MESUR/autonomous lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stauffer, Larry; Dilorenzo, Matt; Austin, Dave; Ayers, Raymond; Burton, David; Gaylord, Joe; Kennedy, Jim; Lentz, Dale; Laux, Richard; Nance, Preston

    1992-01-01

    Planetary surface exploration micro-rovers for collecting data about the Moon and Mars was designed by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho. The goal of both projects was to design a rover concept that best satisfied the project objectives for NASA-Ames. A second goal was to facilitate student learning about the process of design. The first micro-rover is a deployment mechanism for the Mars Environmental SURvey (MESUR) Alpha Particle/Proton/X-ray instruments (APX). The system is to be launched with the sixteen MESUR landers around the turn of the century. A Tubular Deployment System and a spiked-legged walker was developed to deploy the APX from the lander to the Martian surface. While on Mars the walker is designed to take the APX to rocks to obtain elemental composition data of the surface. The second micro-rover is an autonomous, roving vehicle to transport a sensor package over the surface of the moon. The vehicle must negotiate the lunar-terrain for a minimum of one year by surviving impacts and withstanding the environmental extremes. The rover is a reliable track-driven unit that operates regardless of orientation which NASA can use for future lunar exploratory missions. A detailed description of the designs, methods, and procedures which the University of Idaho design teams followed to arrive at the final designs are included.

  19. Planetary surface exploration MESUR/autonomous lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stauffer, Larry; Dilorenzo, Matt; Austin, Dave; Ayers, Raymond; Burton, David; Gaylord, Joe; Kennedy, Jim; Laux, Richard; Lentz, Dale; Nance, Preston

    1992-01-01

    Planetary surface exploration micro-rovers for collecting data about the Moon and Mars have been designed by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho. The goal of both projects was to design a rover concept that best satisfied the project objectives for NASA/Ames. A second goal was to facilitate student learning about the process of design. The first micro-rover is a deployment mechanism for the Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) Alpha Particle/Proton/X-ray (APX) Instrument. The system is to be launched with the 16 MESUR landers around the turn of the century. A Tubular Deployment System and a spiked-legged walker have been developed to deploy the APX from the lander to the Martian Surface. While on Mars, the walker is designed to take the APX to rocks to obtain elemental composition data of the surface. The second micro-rover is an autonomous, roving vehicle to transport a sensor package over the surface of the moon. The vehicle must negotiate the lunar terrain for a minimum of one year by surviving impacts and withstanding the environmental extremes. The rover is a reliable track-driven unit that operates regardless of orientation that NASA can use for future lunar exploratory missions. This report includes a detailed description of the designs and the methods and procedures which the University of Idaho design teams followed to arrive at the final designs.

  20. The Mars Surveyor '01 Rover and Robotic Arm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bonitz, Robert G.; Nguyen, Tam T.; Kim, Won S.

    1999-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander will carry with it both a Robotic Arm and Rover to support various science and technology experiments. The Marie Curie Rover, the twin sister to Sojourner Truth, is expected to explore the surface of Mars in early 2002. Scientific investigations to determine the elemental composition of surface rocks and soil using the Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) will be conducted along with several technology experiments including the Mars Experiment on Electrostatic Charging (MEEC) and the Wheel Abrasion Experiment (WAE). The Rover will follow uplinked operational sequences each day, but will be capable of autonomous reactions to the unpredictable features of the Martian environment. The Mars Surveyor 2001 Robotic Arm will perform rover deployment, and support various positioning, digging, and sample acquiring functions for MECA (Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment) and Mossbauer Spectrometer experiments. The Robotic Arm will also collect its own sensor data for engineering data analysis. The Robotic Arm Camera (RAC) mounted on the forearm of the Robotic Arm will capture various images with a wide range of focal length adjustment during scientific experiments and rover deployment

  1. Planetary surface exploration MESUR/autonomous lunar rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stauffer, Larry; Dilorenzo, Matt; Austin, Dave; Ayers, Raymond; Burton, David; Gaylord, Joe; Kennedy, Jim; Laux, Richard; Lentz, Dale; Nance, Preston

    Planetary surface exploration micro-rovers for collecting data about the Moon and Mars have been designed by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Idaho. The goal of both projects was to design a rover concept that best satisfied the project objectives for NASA/Ames. A second goal was to facilitate student learning about the process of design. The first micro-rover is a deployment mechanism for the Mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) Alpha Particle/Proton/X-ray (APX) Instrument. The system is to be launched with the 16 MESUR landers around the turn of the century. A Tubular Deployment System and a spiked-legged walker have been developed to deploy the APX from the lander to the Martian Surface. While on Mars, the walker is designed to take the APX to rocks to obtain elemental composition data of the surface. The second micro-rover is an autonomous, roving vehicle to transport a sensor package over the surface of the moon. The vehicle must negotiate the lunar terrain for a minimum of one year by surviving impacts and withstanding the environmental extremes. The rover is a reliable track-driven unit that operates regardless of orientation that NASA can use for future lunar exploratory missions. This report includes a detailed description of the designs and the methods and procedures which the University of Idaho design teams followed to arrive at the final designs.

  2. A comparison of energy conversion systems for meeting the power requirements of manned rover for Mars missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Morley, Nicholas; Cataldo, Robert; Bloomfield, Harvey

    1990-01-01

    Several types of conversion systems of interest for a nuclear Mars manned application are examined, including: free-piston Stirling engines (FPSE), He/Xe closed Brayton cycle (CBC), CO2 open Brayton, and SiGe/GaP thermoelectric systems. Optimization studies were conducted to determine the impact of the conversion system on the overall mass of the nuclear power system and the mobility power requirement of the rover vehicle. The results of an analysis of a manned Mars rover equipped with a nuclear reactor power system show that the free-piston Stirling engine and the He/Xe closed Brayton cycle are the best available options for minimizing the overall mass and electric power requirements of the rover vehicle. While the current development of Brayton technology is further advanced than that of FPSE, the FPSE could provide approximately 13.5 percent lower mass than the He/Xe closed Brayton system. Results show that a specific mass of 160 is achievable with FPSE, for which the mass of the radiation shield (2.8 tons) is about half that for He/Xe CBC (5 tons).

  3. Mars Exploration Rover: Launch, Cruise, Entry, Descent, and Landing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Erickson, James K.; Manning, Robert M.; Adler, M.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Project was an ambitious effort to land two highly capable rovers on Mars and concurrently explore the Martian surface for three months each. Launched in June and July of 2003, cruise operations were conducted through January 4, 2004 with the first landing, followed by the second landing on January 25. The prime mission for the second rover ended on April 27, 2004. This paper will provide an overview of the launch, cruise, and landing phases of the mission, including the engineering and science objectives and challenges involved in the selection and targeting of the landing sites, as well as the excitement and challenges of atmospheric entry, descent and landing execution.

  4. High gain antenna pointing on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vanelli, C. Anthony; Ali, Khaled S.

    2005-01-01

    This paper describes the algorithm used to point the high gain antennae on NASA/JPL's Mars Exploration Rovers. The gimballed antennae must track the Earth as it moves across the Martian sky during communication sessions. The algorithm accounts for (1) gimbal range limitations, (2) obstructions both on the rover and in the surrounding environment, (3) kinematic singularities in the gimbal design, and (4) up to two joint-space solutions for a given pointing direction. The algorithm computes the intercept-times for each of the occlusions and chooses the jointspace solution that provides the longest track time before encountering an occlusion. Upon encountering an occlusion, the pointing algorithm automatically switches to the other joint-space solution if it is not also occluded. The algorithm has successfully provided flop-free pointing for both rovers throughout the mission.

  5. Scaling Up Decision Theoretic Planning to Planetary Rover Problems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meuleau, Nicolas; Dearden, Richard; Washington, Rich

    2004-01-01

    Because of communication limits, planetary rovers must operate autonomously during consequent durations. The ability to plan under uncertainty is one of the main components of autonomy. Previous approaches to planning under uncertainty in NASA applications are not able to address the challenges of future missions, because of several apparent limits. On another side, decision theory provides a solid principle framework for reasoning about uncertainty and rewards. Unfortunately, there are several obstacles to a direct application of decision-theoretic techniques to the rover domain. This paper focuses on the issues of structure and concurrency, and continuous state variables. We describes two techniques currently under development that address specifically these issues and allow scaling-up decision theoretic solution techniques to planetary rover planning problems involving a small number of goals.

  6. A Battery Health Monitoring Framework for Planetary Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Daigle, Matthew J.; Kulkarni, Chetan Shrikant

    2014-01-01

    Batteries have seen an increased use in electric ground and air vehicles for commercial, military, and space applications as the primary energy source. An important aspect of using batteries in such contexts is battery health monitoring. Batteries must be carefully monitored such that the battery health can be determined, and end of discharge and end of usable life events may be accurately predicted. For planetary rovers, battery health estimation and prediction is critical to mission planning and decision-making. We develop a model-based approach utilizing computaitonally efficient and accurate electrochemistry models of batteries. An unscented Kalman filter yields state estimates, which are then used to predict the future behavior of the batteries and, specifically, end of discharge. The prediction algorithm accounts for possible future power demands on the rover batteries in order to provide meaningful results and an accurate representation of prediction uncertainty. The framework is demonstrated on a set of lithium-ion batteries powering a rover at NASA.

  7. Experimental Results of Rover-Based Coring and Caching

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Backes, Paul G.; Younse, Paulo; DiCicco, Matthew; Hudson, Nicolas; Collins, Curtis; Allwood, Abigail; Paolini, Robert; Male, Cason; Ma, Jeremy; Steele, Andrew; Conrad, Pamela G.

    2011-01-01

    Experimental results are presented for experiments performed using a prototype rover-based sample coring and caching system. The system consists of a rotary percussive coring tool on a five degree-of-freedom manipulator arm mounted on a FIDO-class rover and a sample caching subsystem mounted on the rover. Coring and caching experiments were performed in a laboratory setting and in a field test at Mono Lake, California. Rock abrasion experiments using an abrading bit on the coring tool were also performed. The experiments indicate that the sample acquisition and caching architecture is viable for use in a 2018 timeframe Mars caching mission and that rock abrasion using an abrading bit may be feasible in place of a dedicated rock abrasion tool.

  8. Preliminary assessment of rover power systems for the Mars Rover Sample Return Mission

    SciTech Connect

    Bents, D.J.

    1989-01-01

    Four isotope power system concepts were presented and compared on a common basis for application to on-board electrical prime power for an autonomous planetary rover vehicle. A representative design point corresponding to the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) preliminary mission requirements (500 W) was selected for comparison purposes. All systems concepts utilize the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) isotope heat source developed by DOE. Two of the concepts employ thermoelectric (TE) conversion: one using the GPHS Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) used as a reference case, the other using an advanced RTG with improved thermoelectric materials. The other two concepts employed are dynamic isotope power systems (DIPS): one using a closed Brayton cycle (CBC) turboalternator, and the other using a free piston Stirling cycle engine/linear alternator (FPSE) with integrated heat source/heater head. Near term technology levels have been assumed for concept characterization using component technology figure-of-merit values taken from the published literature. For example, the CBC characterization draws from the historical test database accumulated from space Brayton cycle subsystems and components from the NASA B engine through the mini-Brayton rotating unit. TE system performance is estimated from Voyager/multihundred Watt (MHW)-RTG flight experience through Mod-RTG performance estimates considering recent advances in TE materials under the DOD/DOE/NASA SP-100 and NASA Committee on Scientific and Technological Information programs. The Stirling DIPS system is characterized from scaled-down Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) data using the GPHS directly incorporated into the heater head.

  9. Preliminary assessment of rover power systems for the Mars Rover Sample Return Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, D. J.

    1989-01-01

    Four isotope power system concepts were presented and compared on a common basis for application to on-board electrical prime power for an autonomous planetary rover vehicle. A representative design point corresponding to the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) preliminary mission requirements (500 W) was selected for comparison purposes. All systems concepts utilize the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) isotope heat source developed by DOE. Two of the concepts employ thermoelectric (TE) conversion: one using the GPHS Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) used as a reference case, the other using an advanced RTG with improved thermoelectric materials. The other two concepts employed are dynamic isotope power systems (DIPS): one using a closed Brayton cycle (CBC) turboalternator, and the other using a free piston Stirling cycle engine/linear alternator (FPSE) with integrated heat source/heater head. Near-term technology levels have been assumed for concept characterization using component technology figure-of-merit values taken from the published literature. For example, the CBC characterization draws from the historical test database accumulated from space Brayton cycle subsystems and components from the NASA B engine through the mini-Brayton rotating unit. TE system performance is estimated from Voyager/multihundred Watt (MHW)-RTG flight experience through Mod-RTG performance estimates considering recent advances in TE materials under the DOD/DOE/NASA SP-100 and NASA Committee on Scientific and Technological Information programs. The Stirling DIPS system is characterized from scaled-down Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) data using the GPHS directly incorporated into the heater head. The characterization/comparison results presented here differ from previous comparison of isotope power (made for LEO applications) because of the elevated background temperature on the Martian surface compared to LEO, and the higher sensitivity of dynamic systems to elevated

  10. Preliminary assessment of rover power systems for the Mars Rover Sample Return Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, David J.

    1989-01-01

    Four isotope power system concepts were presented and compared on a common basis for application to on-board electrical prime power for an autonomous planetary rover vehicle. A representative design point corresponding to the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) preliminary mission requirements (500 W) was selected for comparison purposes. All systems concepts utilize the General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) isotope heat source developed by DOE. Two of the concepts employ thermoelectric (TE) conversion: one using the GPHS Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) used as a reference case, the other using an advanced RTG with improved thermoelectric materials. The other two concepts employed are dynamic isotope power systems (DIPS): one using a closed Brayton cycle (CBC) turboalternator, and the other using a free piston Stirling cycle engine/linear alternator (FPSE) with integrated heat source/heater head. Near term technology levels have been assumed for concept characterization using component technology figure-of-merit values taken from the published literature. For example, the CBC characterization draws from the historical test database accumulated from space Brayton cycle subsystems and components from the NASA B engine through the mini-Brayton rotating unit. TE system performance is estimated from Voyager/multihundred Watt (MHW)-RTG flight experience through Mod-RTG performance estimates considering recent advances in TE materials under the DOD/DOE/NASA SP-100 and NASA Committee on Scientific and Technological Information programs. The Stirling DIPS system is characterized from scaled-down Space Power Demonstrator Engine (SPDE) data using the GPHS directly incorporated into the heater head. The characterization/comparison results presented here differ from previous comparison of isotope power (made for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) applications) because of the elevated background temperature on the Martian surface compared to LEO, and the higher sensitivity of dynamic

  11. Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries on Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ratnakumar, B. V.; Smart, M. C.; Ewell, R. C.; Whitcanack, L. D.; Chin, K. B.; Surampudi, S.

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been roving on the surface of Mars, capturing impressive images of its terrain and analyzing the drillings from Martian rocks, to answer the ever -puzzling questions of life beyond Earth and origin of our planets. These rovers are being enabled by an advanced rechargeable battery system, lithium-ion, for the first time on a space mission of this scale, for keeping the rover electronics warm, and for supporting nighttime experimentation and communications. These rover Li-ion batteries are characterized by their unique low temperature capability, in addition to the usual advantages associated with Li-ion chemistry in terms of mass, volume and energy efficiency. To enable a rapid insertion of this advanced Li-ion chemistry into flight missions, we have performed several performance assessment studies on several prototype cells over the last few years. These tests mainly focused primarily on the long-term performance characteristics, such as cycling and storage, as described in our companion paper. In addition, various tests have been performed on MER cells and engineering and proto flight batteries; under conditions relevant to these missions. For example, we have examined the performance of the cells in: a) an inverted orientation, as during integration and launch, and b) conditions of low rate discharge, between 3.0-2.5 V to support the mission clock. Likewise, we have determined the impedance of the proto-flight Rover battery assembly unit in detail, with a view to asses whether a current-limiting resistor would be unduly stressed, in the event of a shorting induced by a failed pyro. In this paper we will describe these studies in detail, as well as the performance of Li-ion batteries in Spirit and Opportunity rovers, during cruise and on Mars.

  12. Creation and Control of an Internet Controlled Mars Rover Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Angeli, Gabor; Walker, C.

    2007-12-01

    The latest project in a longstanding correspondence between NOAO Tucson and the CADIAS center in La Serena, Chile focuses on Mars and Mars exploration. The objective was to provide a user-friendly yet moderately versatile imitation of the Spirit and Opportunity MARS rovers to be used by grade school students. In addition to basic motion, the rover that was built is able to take color photographs from a rotating camera, and avoid harmful collisions or structural stress via 'bumper' sensors on each of the wheels. The rover is intended to be used remotely via the Internet, and controlled locally via wireless radio. The focus of the project was to create a system that is stable, versatile, and user friendly. The majority of the system was coded in Java, including the micro controller, providing stability and a reliable internet protocol. A partial implementation of Scheme was used as a scripting language, providing an abstraction in the means of communication and control of the robot and allowing for a level of versatility in the range of commands available to the rover and the ease of tweaking those commands. A graphical user interface was implemented to provide a safe means of controlling the rover, creating an 'action queue' of safe commands to be sent as a block to the rover. We hope the project will provide a useful education tool for students in Chile, and potentially in the future students in Tucson as well. Angeli's research was supported by the NOAO/KPNO Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program which is funded by the National Science Foundation through Scientific Program Order No. 3 (AST-0243875) of the Cooperative Agreement No. AST-0132798 between the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) and the NSF.

  13. Immersive visualization for navigation and control of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hartman, Frank R.; Cooper, Brian; Maxwell, Scott; Wright, John; Yen, Jeng

    2004-01-01

    The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) is a suite of tools for sequencing of planetary rovers, which are subject to significant light time delay and thus are unsuitable for teleoperation.

  14. FIDO Rover Trials, Silver Lake, California, in Preparation for the Mars Sample Return Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; Baumgartner, E. T.; Blaney, D. L.; Haldemann, A. F.; Klingelhoefer, G.

    2000-01-01

    During field trials in the Mojave Desert, the Mars Sample Return (MSR) prototype rover, FIDO, simulated sampling and exploration activities with a science payload similar to what will be on the MSR rover, validating the mission operations approach.

  15. An update on Lab Rover: A hospital material transporter

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mattaboni, Paul

    1994-01-01

    The development of a hospital material transporter, 'Lab Rover', is described. Conventional material transport now utilizes people power, push carts, pneumatic tubes and tracked vehicles. Hospitals are faced with enormous pressure to reduce operating costs. Cyberotics, Inc. developed an Autonomous Intelligent Vehicle (AIV). This battery operated service robot was designed specifically for health care institutions. Applications for the AIV include distribution of clinical lab samples, pharmacy drugs, administrative records, x-ray distribution, meal tray delivery, and certain emergency room applications. The first AIV was installed at Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. Lab Rover was beta tested for one year and has been 'on line' for an additional 2 years.

  16. A Long Range Science Rover For Future Mars Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hayati, Samad

    1997-01-01

    This paper describes the design and implementation currently underway at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of a long range science rover for future missions to Mars. The small rover prototype, called Rocky 7, is capable of long traverse. autonomous navigation. and science instrument control, carries three science instruments, and can be commanded from any computer platform and any location using the World Wide Web. In this paper we describe the mobility system, the sampling system, the sensor suite, navigation and control, onboard science instruments. and the ground command and control system.

  17. The Collaborative Information Portal and NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mak, Ronald; Walton, Joan

    2005-01-01

    The Collaborative Information Portal was enterprise software developed jointly by the NASA Ames Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission. Mission managers, engineers, scientists, and researchers used this Internet application to view current staffing and event schedules, download data and image files generated by the rovers, receive broadcast messages, and get accurate times in various Mars and Earth time zones. This article describes the features, architecture, and implementation of this software, and concludes with lessons we learned from its deployment and a look towards future missions.

  18. Mars Rover Navigation Results Using Sun Sensor Heading Determination

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Volpe, Richard

    1998-01-01

    Upcoming missions to the surface of Mars will use mobile robots to traverse long distances from the landing site. To prepare for these missions, the prototype rover, Rocky 7, has been tested in desert field trials conducted with a team of planetary scientists. While several new capabilities have been demonstrated, foremost among these was sun-sensor based traversal of natural terrain totaling a distance of one kilometer. This paper describes navigation results obtained in the field tests, where cross-track error was only 6% of distance traveled. Comparison with previous results of other planetary rover systems shows this to be a significant improvement.

  19. A 'Super Bowl' Approach to Mars Rover Touchdown Loads Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Peng, Chia-Yen; Ortiz, Gary

    2006-01-01

    Touchdown Driving Requirement: The mechanical system surface element shall be capable of facilitating a safe, stable landing at terrain angles up to 15 degrees, given an initial vertical velocity of 1 m/sec, horizontal velocity of 0.5 m/sec, and Z-axis spin rate of [4] deg/sec.Touchdown Loads Development: A multi-year development effort has been successfully conducted leading to an innovative analytical methodology for the prediction of rover touchdown design loads and the assessment of rover touchdown stability.

  20. Nuclear thermal rocket workshop reference system Rover/NERVA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.

    1991-01-01

    The Rover/NERVA engine system is to be used as a reference, against which each of the other concepts presented in the workshop will be compared. The following topics are reviewed: the operational characteristics of the nuclear thermal rocket (NTR); the accomplishments of the Rover/NERVA programs; and performance characteristics of the NERVA-type systems for both Mars and lunar mission applications. Also, the issues of ground testing, NTR safety, NASA's nuclear propulsion project plans, and NTR development cost estimates are briefly discussed.

  1. Driving on the surface of Mars with the rover sequencing and visualization program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wright, J.; Hartman, F.; Cooper, B.; Maxwell, S.; Yen, J.; Morrison, J.

    2005-01-01

    Operating a rover on Mars is not possible using teleoperations due to the distance involved and the bandwith limitations. To operate these rovers requires sophisticated tools to make operators knowledgeable of the terrain, hazards, features of interest, and rover state and limitations, and to support building command sequences and rehearsing expected operations. This paper discusses how the Rover Sequencing and Visualization program and a small set of associated tools support this requirement.

  2. Mars Exploration Rover Surface Mission: Thermal Performance for More Than an Entire Martian Year

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Novak, Keith; Porter, Dan; Phillips, Charles; Sunada, Eric; Kinsella, Gary

    2006-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the thermal performance of the Mars Exploration Rovers. The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project landed two identical roving science vehicles on Mars in January 2004; they have continued to perform geological science data collection well beyond their surface design lifetime of 90 sols. The design of the thermal system is described. Pictures from the rovers are also included,

  3. A propulsion system for the Mars rover vehicle

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bogdan, D. C.

    1980-01-01

    The vehicle control electronics for the Mars rover vehicle is described. A functional description of the electronics and its place in the entire system is given. The hardware involved is described from a user's point of view. Changes and additions to the software are included.

  4. Autonomous Navigation Results from the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maimone, Mark; Johnson, Andrew; Cheng, Yang; Willson, Reg; Matthies, Larry H.

    2004-01-01

    In January, 2004, the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission landed two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, on the surface of Mars. Several autonomous navigation capabilities were employed in space for the first time in this mission. ]n the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) phase, both landers used a vision system called the, Descent Image Motion Estimation System (DIMES) to estimate horizontal velocity during the last 2000 meters (m) of descent, by tracking features on the ground with a downlooking camera, in order to control retro-rocket firing to reduce horizontal velocity before impact. During surface operations, the rovers navigate autonomously using stereo vision for local terrain mapping and a local, reactive planning algorithm called Grid-based Estimation of Surface Traversability Applied to Local Terrain (GESTALT) for obstacle avoidance. ]n areas of high slip, stereo vision-based visual odometry has been used to estimate rover motion, As of mid-June, Spirit had traversed 3405 m, of which 1253 m were done autonomously; Opportunity had traversed 1264 m, of which 224 m were autonomous. These results have contributed substantially to the success of the mission and paved the way for increased levels of autonomy in future missions.

  5. Rover traverse science for increased mission science return

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Castano, Rebecca; Anderson, Robert C.; Estlin, Tara; DeCoste, Dennis; Fisher, Forest; Gaines, Daniel; Mazzoni, Dominic; Judd, Michele

    2003-01-01

    In this paper, we will describe out methods for the prioritization of geologic data acquired by an in-situ rover. Our techniques are applicable to a wide range of data modalites, however out initial demonstration is focused on image analysis, as images consume a large volume of the downlink bandwidth for such missions.

  6. Current results from a Rover Science Data Analysis System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Castano, Rebecca; Judd, Michele; Estlin, Tara; Anderson, Robert C.; Gaines, Daniel; Castano, Andres; Bornstein, Ben; Stough, Tim; Wagstaff, Kiri

    2005-01-01

    In this paper, we provide a brief overview of the OASIS system, and then describe our recent successes in integrating with and using rover hardware. OASIS currently works in a closed loop fashion with onboard control software (e.g., navigation and vision) and has the ability to autonomously perform the following sequence of steps: analyze gray scale images to find rocks, extract the properties of the rocks, identify rocks of interest, retask the rover to take additional imagery of the identified target and then allow the rover to continue on its original mission. We also describe the early 2004 ground test validation of specific OASIS components on selected Mars Exploration Rover (MER) images. These components include the rockfinding algorithm, RockIT, and the rock size feature extraction code. Our team also developed the RockIT GUI, an interface that allows users to easily visualize and modify the rock-finder results. This interface has allowed us to conduct preliminary testing and validation of the rockfinder's performance.

  7. Mars Exploration Rover surface mission flight thermal performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Novak, Keith S.; Phillips, Charles J.; Sunada, Eric T.; Kinsella, Gary M.

    2005-01-01

    NASA launched two rovers in June and July of 2003 as a part of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project. MER-A (Spirit) landed on Mars in Gusev Crater at 15 degrees South latitude and 175 degree East longitude on January 4, 2004 (Squyres, et al., Dec. 2004)). MER-B (Opportunity) landed on Mars in Terra Meridiani at 2 degrees South latitude and 354 degrees East longitude on January 25, 2004 (Squyres, et al., August 2004) Both rovers have well exceeded their design lifetime (90 Sols) by more than a factor of 4. Spirit and Opportunity are still healthy and continue to execute their roving science missions at the time of this writing. This paper discusses rover flight thermal performance during the surface missions of both vehicles, covering roughly the time from the MER-A landing in late Southern Summer (Ls = 328, Sol 1A) through the Southern Winter solstice (Ls = 90, Sol 255A) to nearly Southern Vernal equinox (Ls = 160 , Sol 398A).

  8. MRSR: Rationale for a Mars Rover/Sample Return mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carr, Michael H.

    1992-01-01

    The Solar System Exploration Committee of the NASA Advisory Council has recommended that a Mars Rover/Sample Return mission be launched before the year 2000. The recommendation is consistent with the science objectives as outlined by the National Academy of Sciences committees on Planetary and Lunar Exploration, and Planetary Biology and Chemical Evolution. Interest has also focused on Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) missions, because of their crucial role as precursors for human exploration. As a result of this consensus among the advisory groups, a study of an MRSR mission began early in 1987. The study has the following goals: (1) to assess the technical feasibility of the mission; (2) to converge on two or three options for the general architecture of the mission; (3) to determine what new technologies need to be developed in order to implement the mission; (4) to define the different options sufficiently well that preliminary cost estimates can be made; and (5) to better define the science requirements. This chapter briefly describes Mars Rover/Sample Return missions that were examined in the late 1980s. These missions generally include a large (1000 kg) rover and return of over 5 kg of sample.

  9. Using a Multicore Processor for Rover Autonomous Science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bornstein, Benjamin; Estlin, Tara; Clement, Bradley; Springer, Paul

    2011-01-01

    Multicore processing promises to be a critical component of future spacecraft. It provides immense increases in onboard processing power and provides an environment for directly supporting fault-tolerant computing. This paper discusses using a state-of-the-art multicore processor to efficiently perform image analysis onboard a Mars rover in support of autonomous science activities.

  10. Hardware design of a spherical mini-rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tarlton, John

    1992-01-01

    In this hardware project the students designed the prototype of a novel mini-rover for the exploration of a planetary surface. In an actual application, a large number of such miniature roving devices would be released from a landing craft. Each rover would be equipped with a Cd 109 radio-isotope source (a gamma ray emitter) irradiating the planetary surface below the rover, and an x-ray fluorescence detector for a quantitative assay of high atomic weight elements in the planet's surface. (Similar, miniaturized, hand-held devices have recently been developed for use in gold mines). The device developed by the students was limited to demonstrating the mechanical and electrical drive. The geometric external shape is a sphere; hence there is no danger of the rover being turned on its back and stopped. Propulsion is by means of an interior mass, eccentric to the sphere and driven by an electric motor. In an inter-disciplinary effort in mechanical and electrical engineering, the students designed the mechanical parts, built the transistorized circuit board, and tested the device.

  11. Li-ion rechargeable batteries on Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bugga, Ratnakumar; Smart, M.; Whitacanack, L.; Ewell, R.; Surampudi, S.

    2006-01-01

    Lithium-ion batteries have contributed significantly to the success of NASA's Mars Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity that have been exploring the surface of Mars for the last two years and performing astounding geological studies to answer the ever-puzzling questions of life beyond Earth and the origin of our planets. Combined with the triple-junction solar cells, the lithium-ion batteries have been powering the robotic rovers, and assist in keeping the rover electronics warm, and in supporting nighttime experimentation and communications. The use of Li-ion batteries has resulted in significant benefits in several categories, such as mass, volume, energy efficiency, self discharge, and above all low temperature performance. Designed initially for the primary mission needs of 300 cycles over 90 days of surface operation, the batteries have been performing admirably, over the last two years. After about 670 days of exploration and at least as many cycles, there is little change in the end-of discharge (EOD) voltages or capacities of these batteries, as estimated from the in-flight data and corroborated by ground testing. Aided by such impressive durability from the Li-ion batteries, both from cycling and calendar life stand point, these rovers are poised to extend their exploration well beyond two years. In this paper, we will describe the performance characteristics of these batteries during launch, cruise phase and on the surface of Mars thus far.

  12. Path Following with Slip Compensation for a Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Helmick, Daniel; Cheng, Yang; Clouse, Daniel; Matthies, Larry; Roumeliotis, Stergios

    2005-01-01

    A software system for autonomous operation of a Mars rover is composed of several key algorithms that enable the rover to accurately follow a designated path, compensate for slippage of its wheels on terrain, and reach intended goals. The techniques implemented by the algorithms are visual odometry, full vehicle kinematics, a Kalman filter, and path following with slip compensation. The visual-odometry algorithm tracks distinctive scene features in stereo imagery to estimate rover motion between successively acquired stereo image pairs, by use of a maximum-likelihood motion-estimation algorithm. The full-vehicle kinematics algorithm estimates motion, with a no-slip assumption, from measured wheel rates, steering angles, and angles of rockers and bogies in the rover suspension system. The Kalman filter merges data from an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and the visual-odometry algorithm. The merged estimate is then compared to the kinematic estimate to determine whether and how much slippage has occurred. The kinematic estimate is used to complement the Kalman-filter estimate if no statistically significant slippage has occurred. If slippage has occurred, then a slip vector is calculated by subtracting the current Kalman filter estimate from the kinematic estimate. This slip vector is then used, in conjunction with the inverse kinematics, to determine the wheel velocities and steering angles needed to compensate for slip and follow the desired path.

  13. Mars Exploration Rover mobility and robotic arm operational performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tunstel, Edward; Maimone, Mark; Trebi-Ollennu, Ashitey; Yen, Jeng; Petras, Richard; Wilson, Reg

    2005-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to describe an actual instance of a practical human-robot system used on a NASA Mars rover mission that has been underway since January 2004 involving daily intercation between humans on Earth and mobile robots on Mars.

  14. In-Situ Pointing Correction and Rover Microlocalization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deen, Robert G.; Lorre, Jean J.

    2010-01-01

    Two software programs, marstie and marsnav, work together to generate pointing corrections and rover micro-localization for in-situ images. The programs are based on the PIG (Planetary Image Geometry) library, which handles all mission dependencies. As a result, there is no mission-specific code in either of these programs. This software corrects geometric seams in images as much as possible.

  15. NASA Selects Mars Exploration Program Rover for 2003 Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

    In 2003, NASA plans to launch a relative of the now-famous 1997 Mars Pathfinder rover. Using drop, bounce and roll technology, this larger cousin is expected to reach the surface of the red planet in January 2004 and begin the longest journey of scientific exploration ever undertaken across the surface of that alien world. The rover will weigh about nearly 150 kilograms (about 300 pounds) and has a range of up to about 100 meters (110 yards) per sol, or Martian day. Surface operations will last for at least 90 sols, extending to late April 2004, but could continue longer, depending on the health of the rover. One aspect of the Mars rover's mission is to determine history of climate and water at a site or sites on Mars where conditions may once have been warmer and wetter and thus potentially favorable to life as we know it here on Earth. The exact landing site has not yet been chosen, but is likely to be a location such as a former lakebed or channel deposit -- a place where scientists believe there was once water. A site will be selected on the basis of intensive study of orbital data collected by the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, as well as the Mars 2001 orbiter and other missions.

  16. The RIMFAX Ground Penetrating Radar on the Mars 2020 Rover.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hamran, S. E.; Amundsen, H. E. F.; Carter, L. M.; Ghent, R. R.; Kohler, J.; Mellon, M. T.; Paige, D. A.

    2014-12-01

    The Radar Imager for Mars' Subsurface Exploration - RIMFAX is a Ground Penetrating Radar selected for NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission. RIMFAX will add a new dimension to the rover's toolset by providing the capability to image the shallow subsurface beneath the rover. The principal goals of the RIMFAX investigation are to image subsurface layering and structure, and to provide information regarding subsurface composition. Depending on materials, RIMFAX will image the subsurface stratigraphy to maximum depths of 10 to 500 meters, with vertical resolutions of 5 to 20 cm, with a horizontal sampling distance of 2 to 20 cm along the rover track. The resulting radar cross sections will provide important information on the geological context of surface outcrops as well as the geological and environmental history of the field area. The radar uses a Gated FMCW waveform and a single ultra wideband antenna that is used both for transmitting and receiving. The presentation will give an overview of the RIMFAX investigation, the radar system and show experimental results from a prototype radar.

  17. Estimation and Control for Autonomous Coring from a Rover Manipulator

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hudson, Nicolas; Backes, Paul; DiCicco, Matt; Bajracharya, Max

    2010-01-01

    A system consisting of a set of estimators and autonomous behaviors has been developed which allows robust coring from a low-mass rover platform, while accommodating for moderate rover slip. A redundant set of sensors, including a force-torque sensor, visual odometry, and accelerometers are used to monitor discrete critical and operational modes, as well as to estimate continuous drill parameters during the coring process. A set of critical failure modes pertinent to shallow coring from a mobile platform is defined, and autonomous behaviors associated with each critical mode are used to maintain nominal coring conditions. Autonomous shallow coring is demonstrated from a low-mass rover using a rotary-percussive coring tool mounted on a 5 degree-of-freedom (DOF) arm. A new architecture of using an arm-stabilized, rotary percussive tool with the robotic arm used to provide the drill z-axis linear feed is validated. Particular attention to hole start using this architecture is addressed. An end-to-end coring sequence is demonstrated, where the rover autonomously detects and then recovers from a series of slip events that exceeded 9 cm total displacement.

  18. 2D/3D Visual Tracker for Rover Mast

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bajracharya, Max; Madison, Richard W.; Nesnas, Issa A.; Bandari, Esfandiar; Kunz, Clayton; Deans, Matt; Bualat, Maria

    2006-01-01

    A visual-tracker computer program controls an articulated mast on a Mars rover to keep a designated feature (a target) in view while the rover drives toward the target, avoiding obstacles. Several prior visual-tracker programs have been tested on rover platforms; most require very small and well-estimated motion between consecutive image frames a requirement that is not realistic for a rover on rough terrain. The present visual-tracker program is designed to handle large image motions that lead to significant changes in feature geometry and photometry between frames. When a point is selected in one of the images acquired from stereoscopic cameras on the mast, a stereo triangulation algorithm computes a three-dimensional (3D) location for the target. As the rover moves, its body-mounted cameras feed images to a visual-odometry algorithm, which tracks two-dimensional (2D) corner features and computes their old and new 3D locations. The algorithm rejects points, the 3D motions of which are inconsistent with a rigid-world constraint, and then computes the apparent change in the rover pose (i.e., translation and rotation). The mast pan and tilt angles needed to keep the target centered in the field-of-view of the cameras (thereby minimizing the area over which the 2D-tracking algorithm must operate) are computed from the estimated change in the rover pose, the 3D position of the target feature, and a model of kinematics of the mast. If the motion between the consecutive frames is still large (i.e., 3D tracking was unsuccessful), an adaptive view-based matching technique is applied to the new image. This technique uses correlation-based template matching, in which a feature template is scaled by the ratio between the depth in the original template and the depth of pixels in the new image. This is repeated over the entire search window and the best correlation results indicate the appropriate match. The program could be a core for building application programs for systems

  19. Lunar rover technology demonstrations with Dante and Ratler

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Krotkov, Eric; Bares, John; Katragadda, Lalitesh; Simmons, Reid; Whittaker, Red

    1994-01-01

    Carnegie Mellon University has undertaken a research, development, and demonstration program to enable a robotic lunar mission. The two-year mission scenario is to traverse 1,000 kilometers, revisiting the historic sites of Apollo 11, Surveyor 5, Ranger 8, Apollo 17, and Lunokhod 2, and to return continuous live video amounting to more than 11 terabytes of data. Our vision blends autonomously safeguarded user driving with autonomous operation augmented with rich visual feedback, in order to enable facile interaction and exploration. The resulting experience is intended to attract mass participation and evoke strong public interest in lunar exploration. The encompassing program that forwards this work is the Lunar Rover Initiative (LRI). Two concrete technology demonstration projects currently advancing the Lunar Rover Initiative are: (1) The Dante/Mt. Spurr project, which, at the time of this writing, is sending the walking robot Dante to explore the Mt. Spurr volcano, in rough terrain that is a realistic planetary analogue. This project will generate insights into robot system robustness in harsh environments, and into remote operation by novices; and (2) The Lunar Rover Demonstration project, which is developing and evaluating key technologies for navigation, teleoperation, and user interfaces in terrestrial demonstrations. The project timetable calls for a number of terrestrial traverses incorporating teleoperation and autonomy including natural terrain this year, 10 km in 1995. and 100 km in 1996. This paper will discuss the goals of the Lunar Rover Initiative and then focus on the present state of the Dante/Mt. Spurr and Lunar Rover Demonstration projects.

  20. SCREAM (Subsurface Characterization Rover for Exobiology Assessment on Mars)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cook, A. M.; Spencer, M.; Avnet, M.; Bonetti, J.; Bryson, K.; Busch, M.; Cheng, S.; Crawford, Z.; Edmunson, J.; Fahnestock, E.; Fuse, C.; Hardgrove, C.; Hier-Majumder, C.; Johnson, N.; Mikucki, J.; Smith, H.; Son, L.; Wilson, S.; Balint, T.

    2006-12-01

    The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) hosts a Planetary Science Summer School (PSSS) annually to train a group of early- career scientists (graduate and post-doctoral students) for NASA mission planning. This work presents the results of the 2006 design study modeled after the European Space Agency's (ESA) ExoMars Rover. The PSSS students designed a mission commensurate with the science goals of the ExoMars mission, but within the mass, design, and cost constraints of a NASA mid-class rover. This, in turn, allowed them to evaluate the feasibility of the proposed ExoMars mission. SCREAM also represents a bridge between NASA's Mars Science Lab (MSL) Rover and Astrobiology Field Lab (AFL) Rover. Primary science goals include the search for subsurface biology (extant or extinct) in context with geological morphology, and demonstration of subsurface core sampling. The rovers enabling instruments include an ultra-sonic drill capable of producing cores at a depth of 1 meter, and a Panoramic Camera for surface navigation. The analysis instruments are the MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) and an AP-MALDI with GCMS (Atmospheric Pressure Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization instrument with Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry). Results of the study indicate that ESA's ExoMars is a difficult mission to design within a $900 million cost cap and 180 kg maximum mass. However, most of the primary science goals for ExoMars were satisfied by the SCREAM design, with about one-fifth of the proposed ExoMars instruments. The design of the instrument suite highlighted the major difficulties associated with indisputable detection of biological material.

  1. Using Wind Driven Tumbleweed Rovers to Explore Martian Gully Features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Woodard, Stanley E.; Hajos, Gregory A.; Heldmann, Jennifer L.; Taylor, Bryant D.

    2004-01-01

    Gully features have been observed on the slopes of numerous Martian crater walls, valleys, pits, and graben. Several mechanisms for gully formation have been proposed, including: liquid water aquifers (shallow and deep), melting ground ice, snow melt, CO2 aquifers, and dry debris flow. Remote sensing observations indicate that the most likely erosional agent is liquid water. Debate concerns the source of this water. Observations favor a liquid water aquifer as the primary candidate. The current strategy in the search for life on Mars is to "follow the water." A new vehicle known as a Tumbleweed rover may be able to conduct in-situ investigations in the gullies, which are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Deriving mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, Tumbleweed rovers would be lightweight and relatively inexpensive thus allowing multiple rovers to be deployed in a single mission to survey areas for future exploration. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is developing deployable structure Tumbleweed concepts. An extremely lightweight measurement acquisition system and sensors are proposed for the Tumbleweed rover that greatly increases the number of measurements performed while having negligible mass increase. The key to this method is the use of magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits that produce magnetic field responses whose attributes correspond to values of physical properties for which the sensors measure. The sensors do not need a physical connection to a power source or to data acquisition equipment resulting in additional weight reduction. Many of the sensors and interrogating antennae can be directly placed on the Tumbleweed using film deposition methods such as photolithography thus providing further weight reduction. Concepts are presented herein for methods to measure subsurface water, subsurface metals, planetary winds and environmental gases.

  2. Using Wind Driven Tumbleweed Rovers to Explore Martian Gully Features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Woodard, Stanley E.; Hajos, Gregory A.; Heldmann, Jennifer L.; Taylor, Bryant D.

    2005-01-01

    Gully features have been observed on the slopes of numerous Martian crater walls, valleys, pits, and graben. Several mechanisms for gully formation have been proposed, including: liquid water aquifers (shallow and deep), melting ground ice, snow melt, CO2 aquifers, and dry debris flow. Remote sensing observations indicate that the most likely erosional agent is liquid water. Debate concerns the source of this water. Observations favor a liquid water aquifer as the primary candidate. The current strategy in the search for life on Mars is to "follow the water." A new vehicle known as a Tumbleweed rover may be able to conduct in-situ investigations in the gullies, which are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Deriving mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, Tumbleweed rovers would be lightweight and relatively inexpensive thus allowing multiple rovers to be deployed in a single mission to survey areas for future exploration. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is developing deployable structure Tumbleweed concepts. An extremely lightweight measurement acquisition system and sensors are proposed for the Tumbleweed rover that greatly increases the number of measurements performed while having negligible mass increase. The key to this method is the use of magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits that produce magnetic field responses whose attributes correspond to values of physical properties for which the sensors measure. The sensors do not need a physical connection to a power source or to data acquisition equipment resulting in additional weight reduction. Many of the sensors and interrogating antennae can be directly placed on the Tumbleweed using film deposition methods such as photolithography thus providing further weight reduction. Concepts are presented herein for methods to measure subsurface water, subsurface metals, planetary winds and environmental gases.

  3. Quantifying mesoscale soil moisture with the cosmic-ray rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrisman, B.; Zreda, M.

    2013-06-01

    Soil moisture governs the surface fluxes of mass and energy and is a major influence on floods and drought. Existing techniques measure soil moisture either at a point or over a large area many kilometers across. To bridge these two scales we used the cosmic-ray rover, an instrument similar to the recently developed COSMOS probe, but bigger and mobile. This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for mapping soil moisture over large areas using the cosmic-ray rover. In 2012, soil moisture was mapped 22 times in a 25 km × 40 km survey area of the Tucson Basin at 1 km2 resolution, i.e., a survey area extent comparable to that of a pixel for the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite mission. The soil moisture distribution is dominated by climatic variations, notably by the North American monsoon, that results in a systematic increase in the standard deviation, observed up to 0.022 m3 m-3, as a function of the mean, between 0.06 and 0.14 m3 m-3. Two techniques are explored to use the cosmic-ray rover data for hydrologic applications: (1) interpolation of the 22 surveys into a daily soil moisture product by defining an approach to utilize and quantify the observed temporal stability producing an average correlation coefficient of 0.82 for the soil moisture distributions that were surveyed and (2) estimation of soil moisture profiles by combining surface moisture from satellite microwave sensors with deeper measurements from the cosmic-ray rover. The interpolated soil moisture and soil moisture profile estimates allow for basin-wide mass balance calculation of evapotranspiration, totaling 241 mm for the year 2012. Generating soil moisture maps with cosmic-ray rover at this intermediate scale may help in the calibration and validation of satellite campaigns and may also aid in various large scale hydrologic studies.

  4. A preliminary study of Mars rover/sample return missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

    The Solar System Exploration Committee (SSEC) of the NASA Advisory Council recommends that a Mars Sample Return mission be undertaken before the year 2000. Comprehensive studies of a Mars Sample Return mission have been ongoing since 1984. The initial focus of these studies was an integrated mission concept with the surface rover and sample return vehicle elements delivered to Mars on a single launch and landed together. This approach, to be carried out as a unilateral U.S. initiative, is still a high priority goal in an Augmented Program of exploration, as the SSEC recommendation clearly states. With this background of a well-understood mission concept, NASA decided to focus its 1986 study effort on a potential opportunity not previously examined; namely, a Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) mission which would involve a significant aspect of international cooperation. As envisioned, responsibility for the various mission operations and hardware elements would be divided in a logical manner with clearly defined and acceptable interfaces. The U.S. and its international partner would carry out separately launched but coordinated missions with the overall goal of accomplishing in situ science and returning several kilograms of surface samples from Mars. Important considerations for implementation of such a plan are minimum technology transfer, maximum sharing of scientific results, and independent credibility of each mission role. Under the guidance and oversight of a Mars Exploration Strategy Advisory Group organized by NASA, a study team was formed in the fall of 1986 to develop a preliminary definition of a flight-separable, cooperative mission. The selected concept assumes that the U.S. would undertake the rover mission with its sample collection operations and our international partner would return the samples to Earth. Although the inverse of these roles is also possible, this study report focuses on the rover functions of MRSR because rover operations have not

  5. Mars Pathfinder Rover-Lewis Research Center Technology Experiments Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stevenson, Steven M.

    1997-01-01

    An overview of NASA's Mars Pathfinder Program is given and the development and role of three technology experiments from NASA's Lewis Research Center and carried on the Mars Pathfinder rover is described. Two recent missions to Mars were developed and managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and launched late last year: Mars Global Surveyor in November 1996 and Mars Pathfinder in December 1996. Mars Global Surveyor is an orbiter which will survey the planet with a number of different instruments, and will arrive in September 1997, and Mars Pathfinder which consists of a lander and a small rover, landing on Mars July 4, 1997. These are the first two missions of the Mars Exploration Program consisting of a ten year series of small robotic martian probes to be launched every 26 months. The Pathfinder rover will perform a number of technology and operational experiments which will provide the engineering information necessary to design and operate more complex, scientifically oriented surface missions involving roving vehicles and other machinery operating in the martian environment. Because of its expertise in space power systems and technologies, space mechanisms and tribology, Lewis Research Center was asked by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is heading the Mars Pathfinder Program, to contribute three experiments concerning the effects of the martian environment on surface solar power systems and the abrasive qualities of the Mars surface material. In addition, rover static charging was investigated and a static discharge system of several fine Tungsten points was developed and fixed to the rover. These experiments and current findings are described herein.

  6. Lightweight rovers for Mars science exploration and sample return

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schenker, Paul S.; Sword, Lee F.; Ganino, A. J.; Bickler, Donald B.; Hickey, G. S.; Brown, D. K.; Baumgartner, Eric T.; Matthies, Larry H.; Wilcox, Brian H.; Balch, T.; Aghazarian, H.; Garrett, M. S.

    1997-09-01

    We report on the development of new mobile robots for Mars exploration missions. These 'lightweight survivable rover (LSR)' systems are of potential interest to both space and terrestrial applications, and are distinguished from more conventional designs by their use of new composite materials, collapsible running gear, integrated thermal-structural chassis, and other mechanical features enabling improved mobility and environmental robustness at reduced mass, volume, and power. Our first demonstrated such rover architecture, LSR-1, introduces running gear based on 2D composite struts and 3D machined composite joints, a novel collapsible hybrid composite-aluminum wheel design, a unit-body structural- thermal chassis with improved internal temperature isolation and stabilization, and a spot-pushbroom laser/CCD sensor enabling accurate, fast hazard detection and terrain mapping. LSR-1 is an approximately .7 $MIL 1.0 meter(Lambda) 2(W X L) footprint six-wheel (20 cm dia.) rocker-bogie geometry vehicle of approximately 30 cm ground clearance, weighing only 7 kilograms with an onboard .3 kilogram multi-spectral imager and spectroscopic photometer. By comparison, NASA/JPL's recently flown Mars Pathfinder rover Sojourner is an 11+ kilogram flight experiment (carrying a 1 kg APXS instrument) having approximately .45 X .6 meter(Lambda) 2(WXL) footprint and 15 cm ground clearance, and about half the warm electronics enclosure (WEE) volume with twice the diurnal temperature swing (-40 to +40 degrees Celsius) of LSR- 1 in nominal Mars environments. We are also developing a new, smaller 5 kilogram class LSR-type vehicle for Mars sample return -- the travel to, localization of, pick-up, and transport back to an Earth return ascent vehicle of a sample cache collected by earlier science missions. This sample retrieval rover R&D prototype has a completely collapsible mobility system enabling rover stowage to approximately 25% operational volume, as well an actively articulated axle

  7. Risk-Aware Planetary Rover Operation: Autonomous Terrain Classification and Path Planning

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ono, Masahiro; Fuchs, Thoams J.; Steffy, Amanda; Maimone, Mark; Yen, Jeng

    2015-01-01

    Identifying and avoiding terrain hazards (e.g., soft soil and pointy embedded rocks) are crucial for the safety of planetary rovers. This paper presents a newly developed groundbased Mars rover operation tool that mitigates risks from terrain by automatically identifying hazards on the terrain, evaluating their risks, and suggesting operators safe paths options that avoids potential risks while achieving specified goals. The tool will bring benefits to rover operations by reducing operation cost, by reducing cognitive load of rover operators, by preventing human errors, and most importantly, by significantly reducing the risk of the loss of rovers.

  8. Using Very Small Rovers to Explore the Surface of Primitive Bodies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Vane, Gregg

    2008-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the use of very small roving vehicles to assist in exploration of various primitive bodies in the Solar System. It reviews the lessons learned from the mobility of the rovers on Mars, and the importance of the what we learned from these rovers. It also examines the core payload for the what would be a new class of rovers, that include a camera, and spectrometer. It also briefly reviews the MUSES-C (i.e., Hyabusa) mission for which a nano-rover had been planned. A prototype of the rover is shown, along with some of the characteristics.

  9. Performance of the Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop Rover Heat Rejection System Used for Thermal Control of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover on the Surface of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bhandari, Pradeep; Birur, Gajanana; Bame, David; Mastropietro, A. J.; Miller, Jennifer; Karlmann, Paul; Liu, Yuanming; Anderson, Kevin

    2013-01-01

    The challenging range of landing sites for which the Mars Science Laboratory Rover was designed, required a rover thermal management system that is capable of keeping temperatures controlled across a wide variety of environmental conditions. On the Martian surface where temperatures can be as cold as -123 C and as warm as 38 C, the Rover relies upon a Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) Rover Heat Rejection System (RHRS) and external radiators to maintain the temperature of sensitive electronics and science instruments within a -40 C to +50 C range. The RHRS harnesses some of the waste heat generated from the Rover power source, known as the Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), for use as survival heat for the rover during cold conditions. The MMRTG produces 110 Watts of electrical power while generating waste heat equivalent to approximately 2000 Watts. Heat exchanger plates (hot plates) positioned close to the MMRTG pick up this survival heat from it by radiative heat transfer and supply it to the rover. This design is the first instance of use of a RHRS for thermal control of a rover or lander on the surface of a planet. After an extremely successful landing on Mars (August 5), the rover and the RHRS have performed flawlessly for close to an earth year (half the nominal mission life). This paper will share the performance of the RHRS on the Martian surface as well as compare it to its predictions.

  10. Planetary Rover Robotics Experiments in Education: HUSAR-5, the NXT-Based Rover Model for Measuring the Planetary Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lang, Á.; Bérczi, Sz.; Szalay, K.; Prajczer, P.; Kocsis, Á.

    2014-11-01

    We report about the work of the HUSAR-5 groups from the Széchenyi István Gimnázium High School Sopron, Hungary. We build and program robot-rovers, that can autonomous move and measure on a planetary surface.

  11. Scout Rover Applications for Forward Acquisition of Soil and Terrain Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sonsalla, R.; Ahmed, M.; Fritsche, M.; Akpo, J.; Voegele, T.

    2014-04-01

    As opposed to the present mars exploration missions future mission concepts ask for a fast and safe traverse through vast and varied expanses of terrain. As seen during the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission the rovers suffered a lack of detailed soil and terrain information which caused Spirit to get permanently stuck in soft soil. The goal of the FASTER1 EU-FP7 project is to improve the mission safety and the effective traverse speed for planetary rover exploration by determining the traversability of the terrain and lowering the risk to enter hazardous areas. To achieve these goals, a scout rover will be used for soil and terrain sensing ahead of the main rover. This paper describes a highly mobile, and versatile micro scout rover that is used for soil and terrain sensing and is able to co-operate with a primary rover as part of the FASTER approach. The general reference mission idea and concept is addressed within this paper along with top-level requirements derived from the proposed ESA/NASA Mars Sample Return mission (MSR) [4]. Following the mission concept and requirements [3], a concept study for scout rover design and operations has been performed [5]. Based on this study the baseline for the Coyote II rover was designed and built as shown in Figure 1. Coyote II is equipped with a novel locomotion concept, providing high all terrain mobility and allowing to perform side-to-side steering maneuvers which reduce the soil disturbance as compared to common skid steering [6]. The rover serves as test platform for various scout rover application tests ranging from locomotion testing to dual rover operations. From the lessons learned from Coyote II and for an enhanced design, a second generation rover (namely Coyote III) as shown in Figure 2 is being built. This rover serves as scout rover platform for the envisaged FASTER proof of concept field trials. The rover design is based on the test results gained by the Coyote II trials. Coyote III is equipped with two

  12. Using RSVP for analyzing state and previous activities for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cooper, Brian K.; Hartman, Frank; Maxwell, Scott; Wright, John; Yen, Jeng

    2004-01-01

    Current developments in immersive environments for mission planning include several tools which make up a system for performing and rehearsing missions. This system, known as the Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP), includes tools for planning long range sorties for highly autonomous rovers, tools for planning operations with robotic arms, and advanced tools for visualizing telemetry from remote spacecraft and landers. One of the keys to successful planning of rover activities is knowing what the rover has accomplished to date and understanding the current rover state. RSVP builds on the lessons learned and the heritage of the Mars Pathfinder mission This paper will discuss the tools and methodologies present in the RSVP suite for examining rover state, reviewing previous activities, visually comparing telemetered results to rehearsed results, and reviewing science and engineering imagery. In addition we will present how this tool suite was used on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) project to explore the surface of Mars.

  13. Conceptual Design and Architecture of Mars Exploration Rover (MER) for Seismic Experiments Over Martian Surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garg, Akshay; Singh, Amit

    2012-07-01

    Keywords: MER, Mars, Rover, Seismometer Mars has been a subject of human interest for exploration missions for quite some time now. Both rover as well as orbiter missions have been employed to suit mission objectives. Rovers have been preferentially deployed for close range reconnaissance and detailed experimentation with highest accuracy. However, it is essential to strike a balance between the chosen science objectives and the rover operations as a whole. The objective of this proposed mechanism is to design a vehicle (MER) to carry out seismic studies over Martian surface. The conceptual design consists of three units i.e. Mother Rover as a Surrogate (Carrier) and Baby Rovers (two) as seeders for several MEMS-based accelerometer / seismometer units (Nodes). Mother Rover can carry these Baby Rovers, having individual power supply with solar cells and with individual data transmission capabilities, to suitable sites such as Chasma associated with Valles Marineris, Craters or Sand Dunes. Mother rover deploys these rovers in two opposite direction and these rovers follow a triangulation pattern to study shock waves generated through firing tungsten carbide shells into the ground. Till the time of active experiments Mother Rover would act as a guiding unit to control spatial spread of detection instruments. After active shock experimentation, the babies can still act as passive seismometer units to study and record passive shocks from thermal quakes, impact cratering & landslides. Further other experiments / payloads (XPS / GAP / APXS) can also be carried by Mother Rover. Secondary power system consisting of batteries can also be utilized for carrying out further experiments over shallow valley surfaces. The whole arrangement is conceptually expected to increase the accuracy of measurements (through concurrent readings) and prolong life cycle of overall experimentation. The proposed rover can be customised according to the associated scientific objectives and further

  14. The MITy micro-rover: Sensing, control, and operation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Malafeew, Eric; Kaliardos, William

    1994-01-01

    The sensory, control, and operation systems of the 'MITy' Mars micro-rover are discussed. It is shown that the customized sun tracker and laser rangefinder provide internal, autonomous dead reckoning and hazard detection in unstructured environments. The micro-rover consists of three articulated platforms with sensing, processing and payload subsystems connected by a dual spring suspension system. A reactive obstacle avoidance routine makes intelligent use of robot-centered laser information to maneuver through cluttered environments. The hazard sensors include a rangefinder, inclinometers, proximity sensors and collision sensors. A 486/66 laptop computer runs the graphical user interface and programming environment. A graphical window displays robot telemetry in real time and a small TV/VCR is used for real time supervisory control. Guidance, navigation, and control routines work in conjunction with the mapping and obstacle avoidance functions to provide heading and speed commands that maneuver the robot around obstacles and towards the target.

  15. A Decision-Theoretic Approach to Autonomous Planetary Rover Control

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zilberstein, Shlomo

    2004-01-01

    The report discusses the: Decentralized Control of Markov Decision Processes. Study the complexity of decentralized control of Markov decision processes, and develop algorithms for finding optimal control policies. Scheduling Contract Algorithms. Develop an optimal method for scheduling runs of a contract anytime algorithm (one that takes the deadline as input) in situations where the deadline is unknown, multiple problem instances must be solved, and a multi-processor machine is available. Planetary Rover Control as a Markov Decision Process.Use the Markov decision process framework to formalize and solve problems in planetary rover control. Adaptive Peer Selection. Use reinforcement learning to maximize the expected down-load speed for a client in a peer-to-peer file sharing system.

  16. Intelligent Rover Execution for Detecting Life in the Atacama Desert

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baskaran, Vijayakumar; Muscettola, Nicola; Rijsman, David; Plaunt, Chris; Fry, Chuck

    2006-01-01

    On-board supervisory execution is crucial for the deployment of more capable and autonomous remote explorers. Planetary science is considering robotic explorers operating for long periods of time without ground supervision while interacting with a changing and often hostile environment. Effective and robust operations require on-board supervisory control with a high level of awareness of the principles of functioning of the environment and of the numerous internal subsystems that need to be coordinated. We describe an on-board rover executive that was deployed on a rover as past of the "Limits of Life in the Atacama Desert (LITA)" field campaign sponsored by the NASA ASTEP program. The executive was built using the Intelligent Distributed Execution Architecture (IDEA), an execution framework that uses model-based and plan-based supervisory control of its fundamental computational paradigm. We present the results of the third field experiment conducted in the Atacama desert (Chile) in August - October 2005.

  17. Towards terrain interaction prediction for bioinspired planetary exploration rovers.

    PubMed

    Yeomans, Brian; Saaj, Chakravathini M

    2014-03-01

    Deployment of a small legged vehicle to extend the reach of future planetary exploration missions is an attractive possibility but little is known about the behaviour of a walking rover on deformable planetary terrain. This paper applies ideas from the developing study of granular materials together with a detailed characterization of the sinkage process to propose and validate a combined model of terrain interaction based on an understanding of the physics and micro mechanics at the granular level. Whilst the model reflects the complexity of interactions expected from a walking rover, common themes emerge which enable the model to be streamlined to the extent that a simple mathematical representation is possible without resorting to numerical methods. Bespoke testing and analysis tools are described which reveal some unexpected conclusions and point the way towards intelligent control and foot geometry techniques to improve thrust generation. PMID:24434658

  18. Mars Exploration Rovers Entry, Descent, and Landing Trajectory Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Desai, Prasun N.; Knocke, Philip C.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover mission successfully landed two rovers "Spirit" and "Opportunity" on Mars on January 4th and 25th of 2004, respectively. The trajectory analysis performed to define the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) scenario is described. The entry requirements and constraints are presented, as well as uncertainties used in a Monte Carlo dispersion analysis to statistically assess the robustness of the entry design to off-nominal conditions. In the analysis, six-degree-of-freedom and three-degree-of-freedom trajectory results are compared to assess the entry characteristics of the capsule. Comparison of the preentry results to preliminary post-landing reconstruction data shows that all EDL parameters were within the requirements. In addition, the final landing position for both "Spirit" and "Opportunity" were within 15 km of the predicted landing location.

  19. RATLER: Robotic All-Terrain Lunar Exploration Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Purvis, J. W.; Klarer, P. R.

    1993-01-01

    A robotic rover vehicle designed for use in the exploration of the Lunar surface is described. The Robotic All-Terrain Lunar Exploration Rover (RATLER) is a four wheeled all-wheel-drive dual-body vehicle. A uniquely simple method of chassis articulation is employed which allows all four wheels to remain in contact with the ground, even while climbing over step-like obstacles as large as 1.3 wheel diameters. Skid steering and modular construction are used to produce a simple, rugged, highly agile mobility chassis with a reduction in the number of parts required when compared to current designs being considered for planetary exploration missions. The design configuration, mobility parameters, and performance of several existing RATLER prototypes are discussed.

  20. Small image laser range finder for planetary rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wakabayashi, Yasufumi; Honda, Masahisa; Adachi, Tadashi; Iijima, Takahiko

    1994-10-01

    A variety of technical subjects need to be solved before planetary rover navigation could be a part of future missions. The sensors which will perceive terrain environment around the rover will require critical development efforts. The image laser range finder (ILRF) discussed here is one of the candidate sensors because of its advantage in providing range data required for its navigation. The authors developed a new compact-sized ILRF which is a quarter of the size of conventional ones. Instead of the current two directional scanning system which is comprised of nodding and polygon mirrors, the new ILRF is equipped with the new concept of a direct polygon mirror driving system, which successfully made its size compact to accommodate the design requirements. The paper reports on the design concept and preliminary technical specifications established in the current development phase.

  1. Rover Traverse Planning to Support a Lunar Polar Volatiles Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heldmann, J.L.; Colaprete, A.C.; Elphic, R. C.; Bussey, B.; McGovern, A.; Beyer, R.; Lees, D.; Deans, M. C.; Otten, N.; Jones, H.; Wettergreen, D.

    2015-01-01

    Studies of lunar polar volatile depositsare of interest for scientific purposes to understandthe nature and evolution of the volatiles, and alsofor exploration reasons as a possible in situ resource toenable long term exploration and settlement of theMoon. Both theoretical and observational studies havesuggested that significant quantities of volatiles exist inthe polar regions, although the lateral and horizontaldistribution remains unknown at the km scale and finerresolution. A lunar polar rover mission is required tofurther characterize the distribution, quantity, andcharacter of lunar polar volatile deposits at thesehigher spatial resolutions. Here we present two casestudies for NASA’s Resource Prospector (RP) missionconcept for a lunar polar rover and utilize this missionarchitecture and associated constraints to evaluatewhether a suitable landing site exists to support an RPflight mission.

  2. Demonstrating xLuna on ESA EXOMADER Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Braga, P.

    2012-01-01

    In this article we present xLuna [1] and its successful demonstration on the ESA EXOMArs DEmonstration Rover (EXOMADER) [2]. xLuna is a Linux-specific hypervisor extension for RTEMS, a Real-time Executive already used on ESA missions. On xLuna, RTEMS runs natively and directly on top of the hardware providing all its native services to real- time control applications. On top of the hypervisor runs a Linux kernel para-virtualised specifically for the system that provides all the well known POSIX based services and an endless set of software libraries to payload applications. On the demonstration, the complete navigation software of the rover (with stereo image processing and path processing) that was being tested ran on xLuna's Linux subsystem, while the RTEMS components were running control tasks. Due to impossibilities of integration, the RTEMS tasks running were simulated. The control was performed by existing HW.

  3. Students Work Alongside Scientists to Test Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fuchs, M. P.; Green, T. J.; Levant, J. M. S.; Nunez, J. I.; Bowman, C. D.; Sherman, D. M.

    2003-01-01

    NASA's 2003-2004 Mars Exploration Rovers and associated Athena Science Payload will provide an exciting opportunity to get students and the public involved in Mars exploration. One outreach component, the Athena Student Interns Program, will directly engage high school students in scientific discovery on Mars by incorporating the students into the mission s science team. The Athena Student Interns Program, based on the successful LAPIS program, was prototyped during the FIDO rover field trials that took place in the Arizona desert and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in August 2002 (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer/fido). Use of a participatory evaluation process allowed mid-course corrections to be made to the program and provided the model for mission-related outreach.

  4. Flexible Rover Architecture for Science Instrument Integration and Testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bualat, Maria G.; Kobayashi, Linda; Lee, Susan Y.; Park, Eric

    2006-01-01

    At NASA Ames Research Center, the Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) fields the K9 and K10 class rovers. Both use a mobile robot hardware architecture designed for extensibility and reconfigurability that allows for rapid changes in instrumentation and provides a high degree of modularity. Over the past ssveral years, we have worked with instrument developers at NASA centers, universities, and national laboratories to integrate or partially integrate their instruments onboard the K9 and K10 rovers. Early efforts required considerable interaction to work through integration issues such as power, data protocol and mechanical mounting. These interactions informed the design of our current avionics architecture, and have simplified more recent integration projects. In this paper, we will describe the IRG extensible avionics and software architecture and the effect it has had on our recent instrument integration efforts, including integration of four Mars Instrument Development Program devices.

  5. Autonomous Rock Tracking and Acquisition from a Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maimone, Mark W.; Nesnas, Issa A.; Das, Hari

    1999-01-01

    Future Mars exploration missions will perform two types of experiments: science instrument placement for close-up measurement, and sample acquisition for return to Earth. In this paper we describe algorithms we developed for these tasks, and demonstrate them in field experiments using a self-contained Mars Rover prototype, the Rocky 7 rover. Our algorithms perform visual servoing on an elevation map instead of image features, because the latter are subject to abrupt scale changes during the approach. 'This allows us to compensate for the poor odometry that results from motion on loose terrain. We demonstrate the successful grasp of a 5 cm long rock over 1m away using 103-degree field-of-view stereo cameras, and placement of a flexible mast on a rock outcropping over 5m away using 43 degree FOV stereo cameras.

  6. Working on Mars: Understanding How Scientists, Engineers and Rovers Interacted Across Space and Time during the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wales, Roxana C.

    2005-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation summarizes the scheduling and planning difficulties inherent in operating the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) during the overlapping terrestrial day and Martian sol. The presentation gives special empahsis to communication between the teams controlling the rovers from Earth, and keeping track of time on the two planets.

  7. Learning to behave: adaptive behavior for planetary surface rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Huntsberger, Terry; Aghazarian, Hrand

    2004-01-01

    Robotic missions to planetary surfaces are becoming more ambitious and of longer duration. The nominal mission timeline for the MER called Spirit currently on the Martian surface is 90 days, with extensions to 180 days depending on rover health. The upcoming 2009 MSL mission is planned to be 300-500 days and will possibly involve traverses on the order of a kilometer or more.

  8. Low computation vision-based navigation for a Martian rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gavin, Andrew S.; Brooks, Rodney A.

    1994-01-01

    Construction and design details of the Mobot Vision System, a small, self-contained, mobile vision system, are presented. This system uses the view from the top of a small, roving, robotic vehicle to supply data that is processed in real-time to safely navigate the surface of Mars. A simple, low-computation algorithm for constructing a 3-D navigational map of the Martian environment to be used by the rover is discussed.

  9. Lithium-sulfur dioxide batteries on Mars rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ratnakumar, Bugga V.; Smart, M. C.; Ewell, R. C.; Whitcanack, L. D.; Kindler, A.; Narayanan, S. R.; Surampudi, S.

    2004-01-01

    NASA's 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions, Spirit and Opportunity, have been performing exciting surface exploration studies for the past six months. These two robotic missions were aimed at examining the presence of water and, thus, any evidence of life, and at understanding the geological conditions of Mars, These rovers have been successfully assisted by primary lithium-sulfur dioxide batteries during the critical entry, descent, and landing (EDL) maneuvers. These batteries were located on the petals of the lander, which, unlike in the Mars Pathfinder mission, was designed only to carry the rover. The selection of the lithium-sulfur dioxide battery system for this application was based on its high specific energy and high rate discharge capability, combined with low heat evolution, as dictated by this application. Lithium-sulfur dioxide batteries exhibit voltage delay, which tends to increase at low discharge temperatures, especially after extended storage at warm temperatures, In the absence of a depassivation circuit, as provided on earlier missions, e.g., Galileo, we were required to depassivate the lander primary batteries in a unique manner. The batteries were brought onto a shunt-regulated bus set at pre-selected discharge voltages, thus affecting depassivation during constant discharge voltages. Several ground tests were preformed, on cells, cell strings and battery assembly with five parallel strings, to identify optimum shunt voltages and durations of depassivation. We also examined the repassivation of lithium anodes, subsequent to depassivation. In this paper, we will describe these studies, in detail, as well as the depassivation of the lander flight batteries on both Spirit and Opportunity rover prior to the EDL sequence and their performance during landing on Mars.

  10. Reasoning with inaccurate spatial knowledge. [for Planetary Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Doshi, Rajkumar S.; White, James E.; Lam, Raymond; Atkinson, David J.

    1988-01-01

    This paper describes work in progress on spatial planning for a semiautonomous mobile robot vehicle. The overall objective is to design a semiautonomous rover to plan routes in unknown, natural terrains. The approach to spatial planning involves deduction of common-sense spatial knowledge using geographical information, natural terrain representations, and assimilation of new and possibly conflicting terrain information. This report describes the ongoing research and implementation.

  11. A Rover Concept for Exploring the Surface of Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balint, T. S.; Shirley, J. H.; Schriener, T. M.

    2005-12-01

    Titan is one of the premier targets for future in-situ exploration in the outer solar system, as unique "pre-biotic" organic chemical processes may be presently occurring at its surface. A mission to the surface of Titan is not as technically difficult as one to Europa; Titan's atmosphere allows for aerobraking descents, the radiation environment is not a mission-critical factor, and the organic materials we want to sample should be widely distributed (and easily accessible). The recent Titan landing by the Huygens Probe has focused considerable scientific interest on this remarkable body, and future missions to Titan are under consideration. We evaluated a Titan Rover mission concept that would have the capability to survive on Titan's surface for a period of 3 terrestrial years. This long mission lifetime is enabled by employing a radioisotope power system (RPS). To minimize costs and use as much flight heritage as possible, we began by assuming that system masses, dimensions, and instrumentation would be comparable to those of the Mars Surface Lander (MSL). We found that a rover configuration with a 110 W (electric) power system and four 1.5 m diameter inflatable wheels could potentially enable traverse distances up to ~500 km, depending on science and mission requirements, surface environments, and the capability of the autonomous navigation system employed. Direct to Earth communication would simplify the mission by removing the need for a relay orbiter. We will describe our strawman instrument payload and rover subsystems. Trades between the potentially available RPS systems (RTG, Advanced RTG, TPV, SRG, Advanced Stirling and Brayton RPSs) will be outlined. While many possible approaches exist for Titan in-situ exploration, the Titan rover concept presented here could provide a scientifically interesting and programmatically affordable solution.

  12. Mars exploration. Plan for two rovers squeezes NASA budget.

    PubMed

    Lawler, A; MacNeil, J

    2000-08-18

    NASA's decision last week to send two rovers to Mars in 2003 is being hailed by researchers as affirming the agency's commitment to exploring the Red Planet. But once the applause dies down, cash-strapped space science managers will be forced to make tough decisions about how to shoulder the added $200 million cost of a second mission, starting with $96 million that must come out of NASA's 2001 budget. PMID:10970217

  13. Caging mechanisms for the Mars Exploration Rover instrument deployment device

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Billing, Rius

    2003-09-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) program will land two rovers on the Martian surface in January 2004. Each will be equipped with a 5 degree-of-freedom, 1-meter long robotic arm known as the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD). The IDD will position instruments mounted to its end effector with greater precision than any previous Martian arm. Two dual-use caging mechanisms were designed for the IDD. The mechanisms are very small in size, and act as launch restraints as well as passive cradling (re-stowing) features during rover excursions on the Martian surface. The caging mechanisms are designed to use existing structural elements of the IDD to minimize mass and volume. The design also uses the IDD actuators to deploy and re-stow subsequent to the arm's release from the launch locks. Unique design elements are employed because typical release interfaces, such as those using shear-pins in engagement with spherical bearings, could not be utilized due to volume constraints. The final designs, however, do not sacrifice release performance. A cable-cutter and pin-puller, both with standard NSI pyrotechnic initiators, are used to unlatch the IDD after landing. The cable-cutter is used at the end effector in the area of the IDD instruments, which have the highest susceptibility to pyrotechnic shock. This paper discusses design tradeoffs and considerations for the two mechanisms, reasons for choosing each pyrotechnic device, lubrication methodology, thermal-vacuum system testing, and lessons learned.

  14. MERLIN: Martian Exploratory Rover for Long-range INvestigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Henriette, Jean-Marc; Patel, Kevin; Brenza, Michelle; Gelchion, Donna; Shaiou, Wei; Potocko, Joshua; Watkins, Christopher; Marsh, Kevin; Zuniga, Patricia; Kothari, Kamini; Stachel, Sofia; Turner, Melissa; Hughes, Lee; Radcliff, E. Grant; Akin, David; Bowden, Mary; Shook, Laurie

    1998-01-01

    In the days of the Apollo program, it was recognized that it was necessary to cover as much of the surface of the Moon as possible in order to accurately portray the planet's geology. Due to the time and weight constraints of the program, the first few missions covered the surface on foot, with only the last three using battery-powered, unpressurized rovers. In the future, when mankind colonizes the other planets, the surface stay will be considerably longer, the weight allowances will be much greater, and the science to be performed will be expanded dramatically. All of these factors will cause serious consideration to be given to the idea of a pressurized rover for extended surface excursions. The following is one possible design for a pressurized rover for use on Mars. It was designed by University of Maryland, College Park Aerospace Engineering students in the second semester of their senior Space Systems Design class. The class was broken down into six groups in order to spread out the workload. The groups were the following: Avionics; Crew Systems; Mission Analysis; Power, Propulsion, and Thermal; Structures and Loads; and Systems Integration.

  15. Mars Exploration Rover's image analysis: Evidence of Microbialites on Mars.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bianciardi, Giorgio; Rizzo, Vincenzo; Cantasano, Nicola

    2015-04-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers, Opportunity and Spirit, investigated Martian plains, where sedimentary rocks are present. The Mars Exploration Rover's Athena morphological investigation showed microstructures organized in intertwined filaments of microspherules: a texture we have also found on samples of terrestrial (biogenic) stromatolites and other microbialites. We performed a quantitative image analysis to compare images of microbialites with the images photographed by the Rovers (corresponding, approximately, to 25,000/25,000 microstructures, Earth/Mars). Contours were extracted and morphometric indexes were obtained: geometric and algorithmic complexities, entropy, tortuosity, minimum and maximum diameters. Terrestrial and Martian textures present a multifractal aspect. Mean values and confidence intervals from the Martian images overlapped perfectly with those from the terrestrial samples. The probability of this occurring by chance is 1/2^8, less than p<0.004. Terrestrial abiogenic pseudostromatolites showed a simple fractal structure and different morphometric values from those of the terrestrial biogenic stromatolite images or Martian images with a less ordered texture (p<0.001). Our work shows the presumptive evidence of microbialites in the Martian outcroppings: the presence of unicellular life widespread on the ancient Mars.

  16. A Plume Tracing, Source Identifying Technique for Mars Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banfield, Don; Lamb, Brian; Hovde, Chris; Ferrara, Tom

    2015-11-01

    We have developed and field-tested a technique to identify and characterize the source of an effluent plume (biogenic or otherwise) on Mars, using a slow-moving vehicle like a Mars Rover. The technique is based on terrestrial plume characterization methods (EPA Method 33a), and uses puff models of variable complexity to predict the plume behavior for a given source. The technique is developed assuming that a Mars Rover would be equipped with a high-performance eddy-sensing 3-D anemometer (e.g., a Martian Sonic Anemometer), as well as a fast-response tracer molecule-specific sensor (e.g., a TLS methane sensor). The platform is assumed to move only once a day, but have the ability to observe throughout the day and night. Data obtained from any one sol while the effluent plume meanders across the rover can be used to estimate the azimuth, range and strength of the source, but combining observations from multiple sols and locations is used to improve the estimate of the souce location and strength.We have conducted preliminary field tests using a Sonic Anemometer (Gill and Campbell) and fast-response methane sensors (LICOR and Picarro) on mobile platforms using both controlled and existing methane releases to prove our algorithm in simple terrain, and with varying atmospheric stability. We will discuss our results and the efficacy of our algorithm in real world conditions.

  17. Mars Exploration Rover Spirit End of Mission Report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Callas, John L.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit landed in Gusev crater on Mars on January 4, 2004, for a prime mission designed to last three months (90 sols). After more than six years operating on the surface of Mars, the last communication received from Spirit occurred on Sol 2210 (March 22, 2010). Following the loss of signal, the Mars Exploration Rover Project radiated over 1400 commands to Mars in an attempt to elicit a response from the rover. Attempts were made utilizing Deep Space Network X-Band and UHF relay via both Mars Odyssey and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Search and recovery efforts concluded on July 13, 2011. It is the MER project's assessment that Spirit succumbed to the extreme environmental conditions experienced during its fourth winter on Mars. Focusing on the time period from the end of the third Martian winter through the fourth winter and end of recovery activities, this report describes possible explanations for the loss of the vehicle and the extent of recovery efforts that were performed. It offers lessons learned and provides an overall mission summary.

  18. GIS Methodology for Planning Planetary-Rover Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Powell, Mark; Norris, Jeffrey; Fox, Jason; Rabe, Kenneth; Shu, I-Hsiang

    2007-01-01

    A document describes a methodology for utilizing image data downlinked from cameras aboard a robotic ground vehicle (rover) on a remote planet for analyzing and planning operations of the vehicle and of any associated spacecraft. Traditionally, the cataloging and presentation of large numbers of downlinked planetary-exploration images have been done by use of two organizational methods: temporal organization and correlation between activity plans and images. In contrast, the present methodology involves spatial indexing of image data by use of the computational discipline of geographic information systems (GIS), which has been maturing in terrestrial applications for decades, but, until now, has not been widely used in support of exploration of remote planets. The use of GIS to catalog data products for analysis is intended to increase efficiency and effectiveness in planning rover operations, just as GIS has proven to be a source of powerful computational tools in such terrestrial endeavors as law enforcement, military strategic planning, surveying, political science, and epidemiology. The use of GIS also satisfies the need for a map-based user interface that is intuitive to rover-activity planners, many of whom are deeply familiar with maps and know how to use them effectively in field geology.

  19. Tele-Operated Lunar Rover Navigation Using Lidar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pedersen, Liam; Allan, Mark B.; Utz, Hans, Heinrich; Deans, Matthew C.; Bouyssounouse, Xavier; Choi, Yoonhyuk; Fluckiger, Lorenzo; Lee, Susan Y.; To, Vinh; Loh, Jonathan; Bluethmann, William; Burridge, Robert R.; Graf, Jodi; Hambuchen, Kimberly

    2012-01-01

    Near real-time tele-operated driving on the lunar surface remains constrained by bandwidth and signal latency despite the Moon s relative proximity. As part of our work within NASA s Human-Robotic Systems Project (HRS), we have developed a stand-alone modular LIDAR based safeguarded tele-operation system of hardware, middleware, navigation software and user interface. The system has been installed and tested on two distinct NASA rovers-JSC s Centaur2 lunar rover prototype and ARC s KRex research rover- and tested over several kilometers of tele-operated driving at average sustained speeds of 0.15 - 0.25 m/s around rocks, slopes and simulated lunar craters using a deliberately constrained telemetry link. The navigation system builds onboard terrain and hazard maps, returning highest priority sections to the off-board operator as permitted by bandwidth availability. It also analyzes hazard maps onboard and can stop the vehicle prior to contacting hazards. It is robust to severe pose errors and uses a novel scan alignment algorithm to compensate for attitude and elevation errors.

  20. Parametric study of the factors affecting wheel slip and sinkage for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Johnson, J.; Kulchitsky, A. V.; Duvoy, P.; Arvidson, R. E.; Iagnemma, K.; Senatore, C.

    2013-12-01

    In 2004 two rovers landed on Mars to conduct scientific investigations of the Martian surface in an effort to better understand its surface geology, climate, and potential to support life. During the mission, both rovers experienced events of severe rover wheel sinkage and slip in the highly variable Martian regolith. Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity experienced high wheel slip and sinkage when it attempted to cross a series of wind-blown ripples. MER rover Spirit became immobilized after breaking through a soil crust into highly deformable poorly sorted sands. Events of MER rover wheel high-sinkage and slip make mobility difficult, creating challenges for rover drive planners and increasing the risk of ending a mission early due to a lack of rover mobility. The ARTEMIS (Adams- based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction Simulator) MER rover simulation tool was developed in an effort to improve the ability to simulate rover mobility on planetary surfaces to aid planning of rover drives and to extract a rover if it becomes embedded in soil [1]. While ARTEMIS has demonstrated its ability to simulate a wide variety of rover mobility scenarios using a library of empirically based terramechanics subroutines and high-resolution digital elevation maps of Mars, it has had less success at simulating the high-sinkage, high-slip conditions that pose the highest risk to rover mobility. To improve ARTEMIS's high-slip, high-sinkage terramechanics subroutines, the COUPi discrete element method (DEM) model of MER rover wheel motion under conditions of high-sinkage and slip is being used to examine the effects of soil particle size distribution (PSD), shape, and bulk density. DEM simulations of MER wheel digging tests and the resistance forces of penetrometers in soil have demonstrated the importance of particle shape and bulk density on soil strength [2, 3]. Simulations of the densification of particle beds as functions of the spread (ratio of largest to smallest

  1. Accessing Information on the Mars Exploration Rovers Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walton, J. D.; Schreiner, J. A.

    2005-12-01

    In January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission successfully deployed two robotic geologists - Spirit and Opportunity - to opposite sides of the red planet. Onboard each rover is an array of cameras and scientific instruments that send data back to Earth, where ground-based systems process and store the information. During the height of the mission, a team of about 250 scientists and engineers worked around the clock to analyze the collected data, determine a strategy and activities for the next day and then carefully compose the command sequences that would instruct the rovers in how to perform their tasks. The scientists and engineers had to work closely together to balance the science objectives with the engineering constraints so that the mission achieved its goals safely and quickly. To accomplish this coordinated effort, they adhered to a tightly orchestrated schedule of meetings and processes. To keep on time, it was critical that all team members were aware of what was happening, knew how much time they had to complete their tasks, and could easily access the information they need to do their jobs. Computer scientists and software engineers at NASA Ames Research Center worked closely with the mission managers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to create applications that support the mission. One such application, the Collaborative Information Portal (CIP), helps mission personnel perform their daily tasks, whether they work inside mission control or the science areas at JPL, or in their homes, schools, or offices. With a three-tiered, service-oriented architecture (SOA) - client, middleware, and data repository - built using Java and commercial software, CIP provides secure access to mission schedules and to data and images transmitted from the Mars rovers. This services-based approach proved highly effective for building distributed, flexible applications, and is forming the basis for the design of future mission software systems. Almost two

  2. Quantifying mesoscale soil moisture with the cosmic-ray rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrisman, B.; Zreda, M.

    2013-12-01

    Soil moisture governs the surface fluxes of mass and energy and is a major influence on floods and drought. Existing techniques measure soil moisture either at a point or over a large area many kilometers across. To bridge these two scales we used the cosmic-ray rover, an instrument similar to the recently developed COSMOS probe, but bigger and mobile. This paper explores the challenges and opportunities for mapping soil moisture over large areas using the cosmic-ray rover. In 2012, soil moisture was mapped 22 times in a 25 km × 40 km survey area of the Tucson Basin at an average of 1.7 km2 resolution, i.e., a survey area extent comparable to that of a pixel for the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite mission. The soil moisture distribution is dominated by climatic variations, notably by the North American monsoon, that results in a systematic increase in the standard deviation, observed up to 0.022 m3 m-3, as a function of the mean, between 0.06 m3 m-3 and 0.14 m3 m-3. Two techniques are explored to use the cosmic-ray rover data for hydrologic applications: (1) interpolation of the 22 surveys into a daily soil moisture product by defining an approach to utilize and quantify the observed temporal stability producing an average correlation coefficient of 0.82 for the soil moisture distributions that were surveyed, and (2) estimation of soil moisture profiles by combining surface moisture from satellite microwave sensors (SMOS) with deeper measurements from the cosmic-ray rover. The interpolated soil moisture and soil moisture profiles allow for basin-wide mass balance calculation of evapotranspiration, which amounted to 241 mm in 2012. Generating soil moisture maps with a cosmic-ray rover at this intermediate scale may help in the calibration and validation of satellite soil moisture data products and may also aid in various large-scale hydrologic studies.

  3. Mars Exploration Rover Athena Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bell, J.F., III; Squyres, S. W.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Maki, J.N.; Arneson, H.M.; Brown, D.; Collins, S.A.; Dingizian, A.; Elliot, S.T.; Hagerott, E.C.; Hayes, A.G.; Johnson, M.J.; Johnson, J. R.; Joseph, J.; Kinch, K.; Lemmon, M.T.; Morris, R.V.; Scherr, L.; Schwochert, M.; Shepard, M.K.; Smith, G.H.; Sohl-Dickstein, J. N.; Sullivan, R.J.; Sullivan, W.T.; Wadsworth, M.

    2003-01-01

    The Panoramic Camera (Pancam) investigation is part of the Athena science payload launched to Mars in 2003 on NASA's twin Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. The scientific goals of the Pancam investigation are to assess the high-resolution morphology, topography, and geologic context of each MER landing site, to obtain color images to constrain the mineralogic, photometric, and physical properties of surface materials, and to determine dust and aerosol opacity and physical properties from direct imaging of the Sun and sky. Pancam also provides mission support measurements for the rovers, including Sun-finding for rover navigation, hazard identification and digital terrain modeling to help guide long-term rover traverse decisions, high-resolution imaging to help guide the selection of in situ sampling targets, and acquisition of education and public outreach products. The Pancam optical, mechanical, and electronics design were optimized to achieve these science and mission support goals. Pancam is a multispectral, stereoscopic, panoramic imaging system consisting of two digital cameras mounted on a mast 1.5 m above the Martian surface. The mast allows Pancam to image the full 360?? in azimuth and ??90?? in elevation. Each Pancam camera utilizes a 1024 ?? 1024 active imaging area frame transfer CCD detector array. The Pancam optics have an effective focal length of 43 mm and a focal ratio f/20, yielding an instantaneous field of view of 0.27 mrad/pixel and a field of view of 16?? ?? 16??. Each rover's two Pancam "eyes" are separated by 30 cm and have a 1?? toe-in to provide adequate stereo parallax. Each eye also includes a small eight position filter wheel to allow surface mineralogic studies, multispectral sky imaging, and direct Sun imaging in the 400-1100 nm wavelength region. Pancam was designed and calibrated to operate within specifications on Mars at temperatures from -55?? to +5??C. An onboard calibration target and fiducial marks provide the capability

  4. Assessment of Proficiency During Simulated Rover Operations Following Long-Duration Spaceflight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beltran, E. J.; Wood, S. J.; Moore, S. T.

    2014-01-01

    Following long-duration space travel, pressurized rovers will enhance crew mobility to explore Mars and other planetary surfaces. Adaptive changes in sensorimotor function may limit the crew's proficiency when performing some rover operations shortly after transition to the new gravitoinertial environment. The primary goal of this investigation is to quantify postflight decrements in operational proficiency in a motion-based rover simulation after International Space Station (ISS) expeditions.

  5. Assessment of Proficiency During Simulated Rover Operations Following Long-Duration Spaceflight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Beltran, E. J.; Wood, S. J.; Moore, S. T.

    2016-01-01

    Following long-duration spaceflight, pressurized rovers will enhancecrew mobility to explore Mars and other planetary surfaces. Adaptivechanges in sensorimotor function may limit the crew’s proficiencywhen performing some rover operations shortly after transition to thenew gravito-inertial environment. The primary goal of thisinvestigation is to quantify postflight decrements in operationalproficiency in a motion-based rover simulation after InternationalSpace Station (ISS) expeditions.

  6. Liquid hydrogen flow problems in Kiwi reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Thurston, R.S.

    1992-09-01

    The Kiwi series of reactors were the first ones tested in the US Rover Program in the development of nuclear rocket engines for space propulsion. The early experiments with liquid hydrogen showed that parallel flow systems were prone to uneven flow distributions and violent fluctuations in pressure and flow that were capable of destroying a reactor core. Kiwi flow distribution problems were solved by using multiple feed lines into the nozzle cooling system and carefully balancing impedance among them. The violent pressure and flow fluctuations were eliminated after their cause was identified as resonance phenomena driven by the response to flow disturbances of heat transfer through a superheated hydrogen layer. Smooth flow operations were assured by rapidly bringing operating pressures beyond several times the critical pressure of hydrogen. After this initial rough start, solid core nuclear rocket engines successfully passed milestones of achievements during the remainder of the Rover program.

  7. On-Board Real-Time State and Fault Identification for Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Washington, Richard

    2000-01-01

    For extended autonomous operation, rovers must identify potential faults to determine whether its execution needs to be halted or not. At the same time, rovers present particular challenges for state estimation techniques: they are subject to environmental influences that affect senior readings during normal and anomalous operation, and the sensors fluctuate rapidly both because of noise and because of the dynamics of the rover's interaction with its environment. This paper presents MAKSI, an on-board method for state estimation and fault diagnosis that is particularly appropriate for rovers. The method is based on a combination of continuous state estimation, wing Kalman filters, and discrete state estimation, wing a Markov-model representation.

  8. Geologic Measurements using Rover Images: Lessons from Pathfinder with Application to Mars 2001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bridges, N. T.; Haldemann, A. F. C.; Herkenhoff, K. E.

    1999-01-01

    The Pathfinder Sojourner rover successfully acquired images that provided important and exciting information on the geology of Mars. This included the documentation of rock textures, barchan dunes, soil crusts, wind tails, and ventifacts. It is expected that the Marie Curie rover cameras will also successfully return important information on landing site geology. Critical to a proper analysis of these images will be a rigorous determination of rover location and orientation. Here, the methods that were used to compute rover position for Sojourner image analysis are reviewed. Based on this experience, specific recommendations are made that should improve this process on the '01 mission.

  9. Lunar Surface Scenarios: Habitation and Life Support Systems for a Pressurized Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, Molly; Hanford, Anthony; Howard, Robert; Toups, Larry

    2006-01-01

    Pressurized rovers will be a critical component of successful lunar exploration to enable safe investigation of sites distant from the outpost location. A pressurized rover is a complex system with the same functions as any other crewed vehicle. Designs for a pressurized rover need to take into account significant constraints, a multitude of tasks to be performed inside and out, and the complexity of life support systems to support the crew. In future studies, pressurized rovers should be given the same level of consideration as any other vehicle occupied by the crew.

  10. Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Christensen, Philip R.; Mehall, Greg L.; Silverman, Steven H.; Anwar, Saadat; Cannon, George; Gorelick, Noel; Kheen, Rolph; Tourville, Tom; Bates, Duane; Ferry, Steven; Fortuna, Teresa; Jeffryes, John; O'Donnell, William; Peralta, Richard; Wolverton, Thomas; Blaney, Diana; Denise, Robert; Rademacher, Joel; Morris, Richard V.; Squyres, Steven

    2003-12-01

    The Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) will provide remote measurements of mineralogy and thermophysical properties of the scene surrounding the Mars Exploration Rovers and guide the rovers to key targets for detailed in situ measurements by other rover experiments. The specific scientific objectives of the Mini-TES investigation are to (1) determine the mineralogy of rocks and soils, (2) determine the thermophysical properties of selected soil patches, and (3) determine the temperature profile, dust and water-ice opacity, and water vapor abundance in the lower atmospheric boundary layer. The Mini-TES is a Fourier Transform Spectrometer covering the spectral range 5-29 μm (339.50 to 1997.06 cm-1) with a spectral sample interval of 9.99 cm-1. The Mini-TES telescope is a 6.35-cm-diameter Cassegrain telescope that feeds a flat-plate Michelson moving mirror mounted on a voice-coil motor assembly. A single deuterated triglycine sulfate (DTGS) uncooled pyroelectric detector with proven space heritage gives a spatial resolution of 20 mrad; an actuated field stop can reduce the field of view to 8 mrad. Mini-TES is mounted within the rover's Warm Electronics Box and views the terrain using its internal telescope looking up the hollow shaft of the Pancam Mast Assembly (PMA) to the fixed fold mirror and rotating elevation scan mirror in the PMA head located ~1.5 m above the ground. The PMA provides a full 360°of azimuth travel and views from 30° above the nominal horizon to 50° below. An interferogram is collected every two seconds and transmitted to the Rover computer, where the Fast Fourier Transform, spectral summing, lossless compression, and data formatting are performed prior to transmission to Earth. Radiometric calibration is provided by two calibration V-groove blackbody targets instrumented with platinum thermistor temperature sensors with absolute temperature calibration of +/-0.1°C. One calibration target is located inside the PMA head; the

  11. Miniature thermal emission spectrometer for the Mars Exploration Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silverman, Steven; Peralta, Richard; Christensen, Phil; Mehall, Greg

    2006-10-01

    This paper describes results of the calibration of the miniature thermal emission spectrometer (Mini-TES) being built by Raytheon Santa Barbara Remote Sensing (SBRS) under contract to Arizona State University (ASU). This paper also serves as an update to an earlier paper [R.J. Peralta, S. Silverman, D. Bates, Raytheon/Santa Barbara Remote Sensing, P. Christensen, G. Mehall, T. Tourville, R. Keehn, G. Cannon, Arizona State University, Miniature thermal emission spectrometer for the Mars Exploration Rover, Proceedings of the SPIE, vol. 4485-09, August 2001] for mission description and instrument design. Mini-TES is a single detector Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS), covering the spectral range 5 29μm at 10cm spectral resolution. Launched in June 2003, one Mini-TES instrument will fly to Mars aboard each of the two missions of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Project (MER), named Spirit and Opportunity. Mini-TES is designed to provide a key minerological remote sensing component of the MER mission, which includes several other science instruments. The first Mini-TES unit was required to meet a two-year development schedule with proven, flight-tested instrumentation. Therefore, SBRS designed Mini-TES based on proven heritage from the successful Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) thermal emission spectrometer (TES), which was launched in 1996 and is still operational with over 500 million spectra collected to date. Mini-TES design, performance, integration onto the rovers, as well as details of the calibration are discussed. Full instrument and calibration details are the subject of an upcoming Journal of Geophysical Research Mini-TES paper by Christensen, et al.

  12. Applied design methodology for lunar rover elastic wheel

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cardile, Diego; Viola, Nicole; Chiesa, Sergio; Rougier, Alessandro

    2012-12-01

    In recent years an increasing interest in the Moon surface operations has been experienced. In the future robotic and manned missions of Moon surface exploration will be fundamental in order to lay the groundwork for more ambitious space exploration programs. Surface mobility systems will be the key elements to ensure an efficient and safe Moon exploration. Future lunar rovers are likely to be heavier and able to travel longer distances than the previously developed Moon rover systems. The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) is the only manned rover, which has so far been launched and used on the Moon surface. Its mobility system included flexible wheels that cannot be scaled to the heavier and longer range vehicles. Thus the previously developed wheels are likely not to be suitable for the new larger vehicles. Taking all these considerations into account, on the basis of the system requirements and assumptions, several wheel concepts have been discussed and evaluated through a trade-off analysis. Semi-empirical equations have been utilized to predict the wheel geometrical characteristics, as well as to estimate the motion resistances and the ability of the system to generate thrust. A numerical model has also been implemented, in order to define more into the details the whole wheel design, in terms of wheel geometry and physical properties. As a result of the trade-off analysis, the ellipse wheel concept has shown the best behavior in terms of stiffness, mass budget and dynamic performance. The results presented in the paper have been obtained in cooperation with Thales Alenia Space-Italy and Sicme motori, in the framework of a regional program called STEPS . STEPS-Sistemi e Tecnologie per l'EsPlorazione Spaziale is a research project co-financed by Piedmont Region and firms and universities of the Piedmont Aerospace District in the ambit of the P.O.R-F.E.S.R. 2007-2013 program.

  13. Design and Structural Analysis of Mars Rover RTG

    SciTech Connect

    Schock, Alfred; Hamrick, T.; Sankarankandath, V.; Shirbacheh, M.

    1989-09-29

    The paper describes the design and the structural and mass analysis of a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) for powering the MARS Rover vehicle, which is a critical element of the unmanned Mars Rover and Sample Return mission (MRSR). The RTG design study was conducted by Fairchild Space Company for the U.S. Department of Energy, in support of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's MRSR project.; The paper briefly describes a reference mission scenario, an illustrative Rover design and activity pattern on Mars, and its power system requirements and environmental constraints, including the RTG cooling requirements during transit to Mars. It identifies the key RTG design problem, i.e. venting the helium generated by the fuel's alpha decay without intrusion of the Martian atmosphere into the RTG, and proposes a design approach for solving that problem.; Using that approach, it describes a very conservative baseline RTG design. The design is based on the proven and safety-qualified General Purpose Heat Source module, and employs standard thermoelectric unicouples whose reliability and performance stability has been extensively demonstrated on previous space missions. The heat source of the 250-watt RTG consists of a stack of 18 separate modules that is supported at its ends but not along its length. The paper describes and analyzes the structure that holds the stack together during Earth launch and Mars operations but allows it to come apart in case of an inadvertent reentry.; A companion paper presented at this conference describes the RTG's thermal and electrical analysis, and compares its performance with that of several lighter but less conservative design options.; There is a duplicate copy in the ESD files. This document is not relevent to OSTI Library. Do not send.

  14. A Rover Deployed Ground Penetrating Radar on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Grant, J. A.; Campbell, B. A.; Schutz, A. E.

    2001-01-01

    Radar is a fundamental tool capable of addressing a variety of geological problems on Mars via collection of data suitable for interpreting variations in surface morphology and reflectivity. Surface-deployed ground penetrating radar (GPR) can help further constrain the geology and structure of the near surface of Mars by directly measuring the range and character of in situ radar properties. In recognition of this potential, a miniaturized, easily modified GPR is being developed for possible deployment on a future Mars rover and will enable definition of radar stratigraphy at high spatial resolution to depths of 10-20 meters. Ongoing development of a Mars impulse GPR with industry partners at Geophysical Survey Systems, Inc., focuses on design and testing of a prototype transducer array (with both high frequency bistatic and low frequency monostatic components) in parallel with fabrication of a low power, mass, and volume control unit. The operational depth of 10-20 meters is geared towards definition of stratigraphy, subsurface blocks, and structure at the decimeter to meter scale that is critical for establishing the geologic setting of the rover. GPR data can also be used to infer the degree of any post-depositional pedogenic alteration or weathering that has subsequently taken place, thereby enabling assessment of pristine versus secondary morphology at the landing site. As is the case for most remote sensing instruments, a GPR may not detect water unambiguously. Nevertheless, any local, near-surface occurrence of liquid water will lead to large, easily detected dielectric contrasts. Moreover, definition of stratigraphy and setting will help in evaluating the history of aqueous activity and where any water might occur and be accessible. Most importantly perhaps, GPR can provide critical context for other rover and orbital instruments/data sets. Hence, GPR deployment along well positioned transects in the vicinity of a lander should enable 3-D mapping of

  15. Evolving Multi Rover Systems in Dynamic and Noisy Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tumer, Kagan; Agogino, Adrian

    2005-01-01

    In this chapter, we address how to evolve control strategies for a collective: a set of entities that collectively strives to maximize a global evaluation function that rates the performance of the full system. Addressing such problems by directly applying a global evolutionary algorithm to a population of collectives is unworkable because the search space is prohibitively large. Instead, we focus on evolving control policies for each member of the collective, where each member is trying to maximize the fitness of its own population. The main difficulty with this approach is creating fitness evaluation functions for the members of the collective that induce the collective to achieve high performance with respect to the system level goal. To overcome this difficulty, we derive member evaluation functions that are both aligned with the global evaluation function (ensuring that members trying to achieve high fitness results in a collective with high fitness) and sensitive to the fitness of each member (a member's fitness depends more on its own actions than on actions of other members). In a difficult rover coordination problem in dynamic and noisy environments, we show how to construct evaluation functions that lead to good collective behavior. The control policy evolved using aligned and member-sensitive evaluations outperforms global evaluation methods by up to a factor of four. in addition we show that the collective continues to perform well in the presence of high noise levels and when the environment is highly dynamic. More notably, in the presence of a larger number of rovers or rovers with noisy sensors, the improvements due to the proposed method become significantly more pronounced.

  16. Rocky 7 prototype Mars rover field geology experiments 1. Lavic Lake and sunshine volcanic field, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arvidson, R. E.; Acton, C.; Blaney, D.; Bowman, J.; Kim, S.; Klingelhofer, G.; Marshall, J.; Niebur, C.; Plescia, J.; Saunders, R.S.; Ulmer, C.T.

    1998-01-01

    Experiments with the Rocky 7 rover were performed in the Mojave Desert to better understand how to conduct rover-based, long-distance (kilometers) geological traverses on Mars. The rover was equipped with stereo imaging systems for remote sensing science and hazard avoidance and 57Fe Mo??ssbauer and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers for in situ determination of mineralogy of unprepared rock and soil surfaces. Laboratory data were also obtained using the spectrometers and an X ray diffraction (XRD)/XRF instrument for unprepared samples collected from the rover sites. Simulated orbital and descent image data assembled for the test sites were found to be critical for assessing the geologic setting, formulating hypotheses to be tested with rover observations, planning traverses, locating the rover, and providing a regional context for interpretation of rover-based observations. Analyses of remote sensing and in situ observations acquired by the rover confirmed inferences made from orbital and simulated descent images that the Sunshine Volcanic Field is composed of basalt flows. Rover data confirmed the idea that Lavic Lake is a recharge playa and that an alluvial fan composed of sediments with felsic compositions has prograded onto the playa. Rover-based discoveries include the inference that the basalt flows are mantled with aeolian sediment and covered with a dense pavement of varnished basalt cobbles. Results demonstrate that the combination of rover remote sensing and in situ analytical observations will significantly increase our understanding of Mars and provide key connecting links between orbital and descent data and analyses of returned samples. Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.

  17. The Spirit Rover's Athena science investigation at Gusev Crater, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F., III; Brueckner, J.; Cabrol, N. A.; Calvin, W.; Carr, M. H.; Christensen, P. R.; Clark, B. C.; Crumpler, L.; DesMarais, D. J.; D'Uston, C.; Economou, T.; Farmer, J.; Folkner, W.; Golombek, M.; Landis, G.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Parker, T.; Sims, M.; Smith, M.; Yen, A.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and its Athena science payload have been used to investigate a landing site in Gusev crater. Gusev is hypothesized to be the site of a former lake, but no clear evidence for lacustrine sedimentation has been found to date. Instead, the dominant lithology is basalt, and the dominant geologic processes are impact events and eolian transport. Many rocks exhibit coatings and other characteristics that may be evidence for minor aqueous alteration. Any lacustrine sediments that may exist at this location within Gusev apparently have been buried by lavas that have undergone subsequent impact disruption.

  18. Exploration of Victoria crater by the mars rover opportunity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Squyres, S. W.; Knoll, A.H.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ashley, James W.; Bell, J.F., III; Calvin, W.M.; Christensen, P.R.; Clark, B. C.; Cohen, B. A.; De Souza, P.A., Jr.; Edgar, L.; Farrand, W. H.; Fleischer, I.; Gellert, Ralf; Golombek, M.P.; Grant, J.; Grotzinger, J.; Hayes, A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Jolliff, B.; Klingelhofer, G.; Knudson, A.; Li, R.; McCoy, T.J.; McLennan, S.M.; Ming, D. W.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; Rice, J. W., Jr.; Schroder, C.; Sullivan, R.J.; Yen, A.; Yingst, R.A.

    2009-01-01

    The Mars rover Opportunity has explored Victoria crater, a ???750-meter eroded impact crater formed in sulfate-rich sedimentary rocks. Impact-related stratigraphy is preserved in the crater walls, and meteoritic debris is present near the crater rim. The size of hematite-rich concretions decreases up-section, documenting variation in the intensity of groundwater processes. Layering in the crater walls preserves evidence of ancient wind-blown dunes. Compositional variations with depth mimic those ???6 kilometers to the north and demonstrate that water-induced alteration at Meridiani Planum was regional in scope.

  19. The Spirit Rover's Athena science investigation at Gusev crater, Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J.F., III; Brückner, J.; Cabrol, N.A.; Calvin, W.; Carr, M.H.; Christensen, P.R.; Clark, B. C.; Crumpler, L.; Des Marais, D.J.; D'Uston, C.; Economou, T.; Farmer, J.; Farrand, W.; Folkner, W.; Golombek, M.; Gorevan, S.; Grant, J. A.; Greeley, R.; Grotzinger, J.; Haskin, L.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hviid, S.; Johnson, J.; Klingelhofer, G.; Knoll, A.; Landis, G.; Lemmon, M.; Li, R.; Madsen, M.B.; Malin, M.C.; McLennan, S.M.; McSween, H.Y.; Ming, D. W.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R.V.; Parker, T.; Rice, J. W., Jr.; Richter, L.; Rieder, R.; Sims, M.; Smith, M.; Smith, P.; Soderblom, L.A.; Sullivan, R.; Wanke, H.; Wdowiak, T.; Wolff, M.; Yen, A.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and its Athena science payload have been used to investigate a landing site in Gusev crater. Gusev is hypothesized to be the site of a former take, but no clear evidence for lacustrine sedimentation has been found to date. Instead, the dominant lithology is basalt, and the dominant geologic processes are impact events and eolian transport. Many rocks exhibit coatings and other characteristics that may be evidence for minor aqueous alteration. Any lacustrine sediments that may exist at this location within Gusev apparently have been buried by lavas that have undergone subsequent impact disruption.

  20. An Overview of Wind-Driven Rovers for Planetary Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hajos, Gregory A.; Jones, Jack A.; Behar, Alberto; Dodd, Micheal

    2005-01-01

    The use of in-situ propulsion is considered enabling technology for long duration planetary surface missions. Most studies have focused on stored energy from chemicals extracted from the soil or the use of soil chemicals to produce photovoltaic arrays. An older form of in-situ propulsion is the use of wind power. Recent studies have shown potential for wind driven craft for exploration of Mars, Titan and Venus. The power of the wind, used for centuries to power wind mills and sailing ships, is now being applied to modern land craft. Efforts are now underway to use the wind to push exploration vehicles on other planets and moons in extended survey missions. Tumbleweed rovers are emerging as a new type of wind-driven science platform concept. Recent investigations by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) indicate that these light-weight, mostly spherical or quasi-spherical devices have potential for long distance surface exploration missions. As a power boat has unique capabilities, but relies on stored energy (fuel) to move the vessel, the Tumbleweed, like the sailing ships of the early explorers on earth, uses an unlimited resource the wind to move around the surface of Mars. This has the potential to reduce the major mass drivers of robotic rovers as well as the power generation and storage systems. Jacques Blamont of JPL and the University of Paris conceived the first documented Mars wind-blown ball in 1977, shortly after the Viking landers discovered that Mars has a thin CO2 atmosphere with relatively strong winds. In 1995, Jack Jones, et al, of JPL conceived of a large wind-blown inflated ball for Mars that could also be driven and steered by means of a motorized mass hanging beneath the rolling axis of the ball. A team at NASA Langley Research Center started a biomimetic Tumbleweed design study in 1998. Wind tunnel and CFD analysis were applied to a variety of concepts to optimize the aerodynamic

  1. Challenges of Rover Navigation at the Lunar Poles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nefian, Ara; Deans, Matt; Bouyssounouse, Xavier; Edwards, Larry; Dille, Michael; Fong, Terry; Colaprete, Tony; Miller, Scott; Vaughan, Ryan; Andrews, Dan; Allan, Mark; Furlong, Michael

    2015-01-01

    Observations from Lunar Prospector, LCROSS, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), and other missions have contributed evidence that water and other volatiles exist at the lunar poles in permanently shadowed regions. Combining a surface rover and a volatile prospecting and analysis payload would enable the detection and characterization of volatiles in terms of nature, abundance, and distribution. This knowledge could have impact on planetary science, in-situ resource utilization, and human exploration of space. While Lunar equatorial regions of the Moon have been explored by manned (Apollo) and robotic missions (Lunokhod, Cheng'e), no surface mission has reached the lunar poles.

  2. Experiments with a small behaviour controlled planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, David P.; Desai, Rajiv S.; Gat, Erann; Ivlev, Robert; Loch, John

    1993-01-01

    A series of experiments that were performed on the Rocky 3 robot is described. Rocky 3 is a small autonomous rover capable of navigating through rough outdoor terrain to a predesignated area, searching that area for soft soil, acquiring a soil sample, and depositing the sample in a container at its home base. The robot is programmed according to a reactive behavior control paradigm using the ALFA programming language. This style of programming produces robust autonomous performance while requiring significantly less computational resources than more traditional mobile robot control systems. The code for Rocky 3 runs on an eight bit processor and uses about ten k of memory.

  3. An advanced terrain modeler for an autonomous planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunter, E. L.

    1980-01-01

    A roving vehicle capable of autonomously exploring the surface of an alien world is under development and an advanced terrain modeler to characterize the possible paths of the rover as hazardous or safe is presented. This advanced terrain modeler has several improvements over the Troiani modeler that include: a crosspath analysis, better determination of hazards on slopes, and methods for dealing with missing returns at the extremities of the sensor field. The results from a package of programs to simulate the roving vehicle are then examined and compared to results from the Troiani modeler.

  4. APOLLO 16: Putting the 'rover' thru its paces

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1974-01-01

    APOLLO 16 : Cmdr Young puts the 'rover' thru a full field test... From the film documentary 'APOLLO 16: 'Nothing So Hidden'', part of a documentary series on the APOLLO missions made in the early '70's and narrated by Burgess Meredith. APOLLO 16: Fifth manned lunar landing mission with John W. Young, Ken Mattingly, and Charles M. Duke. Landed at Descartes on April 20 1972. Deployed camera and experiments; performed EVA with lunar roving vehicle. Deployed P&F subsattelite in lunar orbit. Mission Duration 265hrs. 51 min. 5sec.

  5. Binocular stereo vision system design for lunar rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chu, Jun; Jiao, Chunlin; Guo, Hang; Zhang, Xiaoyu

    2007-11-01

    In this paper, we integrate a pair of CCD cameras and a digital pan/title of two degrees of freedom into a binocular stereo vision system, which simulates the panoramic cameras system of the lunar rover. The constraints for placement and parameters choice of the stereo cameras pair are proposed based on science objective of Chang'e-IImission. And then these constraints are applied to our binocular stereo vision system and analyzed the location precise of it. Simulation and experimental result confirm the constraints proposed and the analysis of the location precise.

  6. Science Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    SciTech Connect

    Squyres, Steven

    2007-10-05

    NASA launched two Mars Exploration Rovers, on June 10 and July 7, 2003, primarily to probe the history of water on the red planet. After landing on Mars in January 2004, the robots began to explore the planet. One of the most important scientific goals of the mission was to find and identify a variety of rocks and soils that provide evidence of the past presence of water on the planet. To obtain this information, Squyres is studying the data obtained on Mars by several sophisticated scientific instruments. In his talk, he will discuss his conclusions about water on Mars and other observations about the nature of the planet.

  7. Mars Exploration Rover Potentiometer Problems, Failures and Lessons Learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Balzer, Mark

    2006-01-01

    During qualification testing of three types of non-wire-wound precision potentiometers for the Mars Exploration Rover, a variety of problems and failures were encountered. This paper will describe some of the more interesting problems, detail their investigations and present their final solutions. The failures were found to be caused by design errors, manufacturing errors, improper handling, test errors, and carelessness. A trend of decreasing total resistance was noted, and a resistance histogram was used to identify an outlier. A gang fixture is described for simultaneously testing multiple pots, and real time X-ray imaging was used extensively to assist in the failure analyses. Lessons learned are provided.

  8. Surficial deposits at Gusev crater along Spirit Rover traverses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grant, J. A.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J.F., III; Cabrol, N.A.; Carr, M.H.; Christensen, P.; Crumpler, L.; Des Marais, D.J.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Farmer, J.; Golombek, M.; Grant, F.D.; Greeley, R.; Herkenhoff, K.; Li, R.; McSween, H.Y.; Ming, D. W.; Moersch, J.; Rice, J. W., Jr.; Ruff, S.; Richter, L.; Squyres, S.; Sullivan, R.; Weitz, C.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has traversed a fairly flat, rock-strewn terrain whose surface is shaped primarily by impact events, although some of the landscape has been altered by eolian processes. Impacts ejected basaltic rocks that probably were part of locally formed lava flows from at least 10 meters depth. Some rocks have been textured and/or partially buried by windblown sediments less than 2 millimeters in diameter that concentrate within shallow, partially filled, circular impact depressions referred to as hollows. The terrain traversed during the 90-sol (martian solar day) nominal mission shows no evidence for an ancient lake in Gusev crater.

  9. Exploration of Victoria Crater by the Mars Rover Opportunity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Squyres, S. W.; Knoll, A. H.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ashley, J. W.; Bell, J. F.; Calvin, W. M.; Christensen, P. R.; Clark, B. C.; Cohen, B. A.; de Souza, P. A.; Edgar, L.; Farrand, W. H.; Fleischer, I.; Gellert, R.; Golombek, M. P.; Grant, J.; Grotzinger, J.; Hayes, A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Jolliff, B.; Klingelhöfer, G.; Knudson, A.; Li, R.; McCoy, T. J.; McLennan, S. M.; Ming, D. W.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Rice, J. W.; Schröder, C.; Sullivan, R. J.; Yen, A.; Yingst, R. A.

    2009-05-01

    The Mars rover Opportunity has explored Victoria crater, a ~750-meter eroded impact crater formed in sulfate-rich sedimentary rocks. Impact-related stratigraphy is preserved in the crater walls, and meteoritic debris is present near the crater rim. The size of hematite-rich concretions decreases up-section, documenting variation in the intensity of groundwater processes. Layering in the crater walls preserves evidence of ancient wind-blown dunes. Compositional variations with depth mimic those ~6 kilometers to the north and demonstrate that water-induced alteration at Meridiani Planum was regional in scope.

  10. A conceptual design and operational characteristics for a Mars rover for a 1979 or 1981 Viking science mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Darnell, W. L.; Wessel, V. W.

    1974-01-01

    The feasibility of a small Mars rover for use on a 1979 or 1981 Viking mission was studied and a preliminary design concept was developed. Three variations of the concept were developed to provide comparisons in mobility and science capability of the rover. Final masses of the three rover designs were approximately 35 kg, 40 kg, and 69 kg. The smallest rover is umbilically connected to the lander for power and communications purposes whereas the larger two rovers have secondary battery power and a 2-way very high frequency communication link to the lander. The capability for carrying Viking rovers (including development system) to the surface of Mars was considered first. It was found to be feasible to carry rovers of over 100 kg. Virtually all rover systems were then studied briefly to determine a feasible system concept and a practical interface with the comparable system of a 1979 or 1981 lander vehicle.

  11. The best of both worlds : integrating textual and visual command interfaces for Mars Rover Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maxwell, Scott A.; Cooper, Brian; Hartman, Frank; Wright, John; Yen, Jeng; Leger, Chris

    2005-01-01

    A Mars rover is a complex system, and driving one is a complex endeavor. Rover driver must be intimately familiar with the hardware and software of the mobility system and of the robotic arm. They must rapidly assess threats in the terrain, then creatively combine their knowledge o f the vehicle and its environment to achieve each day's science and engineering objective.

  12. Optomechanical Design of Ten Modular Cameras for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ford, Virginia G.; Karlmann, Paul; Hagerott, Ed; Scherr, Larry

    2003-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews the design and fabrication of the modular cameras for the Mars Exploration Rovers. In the 2003 mission there were to be 2 landers and 2 rovers, each were to have 10 cameras each. Views of the camera design, the lens design, the lens interface with the detector assembly, the detector assembly, the electronics assembly are shown.

  13. Thermal Performance of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover During Mars Surface Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Novak, Keith S.; Kempenaar, Joshua E.; Liu, Yuanming; Bhandari, Pradeep; Lee, Chern-Jiin

    2013-01-01

    On November 26, 2011, NASA launched a large (900 kg) rover as part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to Mars. Eight months later, on August 5, 2012, the MSL rover (Curiosity) successfully touched down on the surface of Mars. As of the writing of this paper, the rover had completed over 200 Sols of Mars surface operations in the Gale Crater landing site (4.5 degrees South latitude). This paper describes the thermal performance of the MSL Rover during the early part of its two Earth-0.year (670 Sols) prime surface mission. Curiosity landed in Gale Crater during early Spring (Solar longitude=151) in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars. This paper discusses the thermal performance of the rover from landing day (Sol 0) through Summer Solstice (Sol 197) and out to Sol 204. The rover surface thermal design performance was very close to pre-landing predictions. The very successful thermal design allowed a high level of operational power dissipation immediately after landing without overheating and required a minimal amount of survival heating. Early morning operations of cameras and actuators were aided by successful heating activities. MSL rover surface operations thermal experiences are discussed in this paper. Conclusions about the rover surface operations thermal performance are also presented.

  14. Thermal Performance of the Mars Science Laboratory Rover During Mars Surface Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Novak, Keith S.; Kempenaar, Joshua E.; Liu, Yuanming; Bhandari, Pradeep; Lee, Chern-Jiin

    2013-01-01

    On November 26, 2011, NASA launched a large (900 kg) rover as part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to Mars. Eight months later, on August 5, 2012, the MSL rover (Curiosity) successfully touched down on the surface of Mars. As of the writing of this paper, the rover had completed over 200 Sols of Mars surface operations in the Gale Crater landing site (4.5 deg S latitude). This paper describes the thermal performance of the MSL Rover during the early part of its two Earth-0.year (670 Sols) prime surface mission. Curiosity landed in Gale Crater during early Spring (Ls=151) in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars. This paper discusses the thermal performance of the rover from landing day (Sol 0) through Summer Solstice (Sol 197) and out to Sol 204. The rover surface thermal design performance was very close to pre-landing predictions. The very successful thermal design allowed a high level of operational power dissipation immediately after landing without overheating and required a minimal amount of survival heating. Early morning operations of cameras and actuators were aided by successful heating activities. MSL rover surface operations thermal experiences are discussed in this paper. Conclusions about the rover surface operations thermal performance are also presented.

  15. Autonomously Generating Operations Sequences for a Mars Rover Using Artificial Intelligence-Based Planning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sherwood, R.; Mutz, D.; Estlin, T.; Chien, S.; Backes, P.; Norris, J.; Tran, D.; Cooper, B.; Rabideau, G.; Mishkin, A.; Maxwell, S.

    2001-07-01

    This article discusses a proof-of-concept prototype for ground-based automatic generation of validated rover command sequences from high-level science and engineering activities. This prototype is based on ASPEN, the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment. This artificial intelligence (AI)-based planning and scheduling system will automatically generate a command sequence that will execute within resource constraints and satisfy flight rules. An automated planning and scheduling system encodes rover design knowledge and uses search and reasoning techniques to automatically generate low-level command sequences while respecting rover operability constraints, science and engineering preferences, environmental predictions, and also adhering to hard temporal constraints. This prototype planning system has been field-tested using the Rocky 7 rover at JPL and will be field-tested on more complex rovers to prove its effectiveness before transferring the technology to flight operations for an upcoming NASA mission. Enabling goal-driven commanding of planetary rovers greatly reduces the requirements for highly skilled rover engineering personnel. This in turn greatly reduces mission operations costs. In addition, goal-driven commanding permits a faster response to changes in rover state (e.g., faults) or science discoveries by removing the time-consuming manual sequence validation process, allowing rapid "what-if" analyses, and thus reducing overall cycle times.

  16. Calibration and validation of the COSMOS rover for surface soil moisture

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The mobile COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System (COSMOS) rover may be useful for validating satellite-based estimates of near surface soil moisture, but the accuracy with which the rover can measure 0-5 cm soil moisture has not been previously determined. Our objectives were to calibrate and va...

  17. FIDO Prototype Mars Rover Field Trials, May 2000, Black Rock Summit, Nevada

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Seelos, F. P.; Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; Baumgartner, E. T.; Schenker, P. S.; Jolliff, B. L.; Niebur, C. S.; Larsen, K. W.; Snider, N. O.

    2001-01-01

    Results of May 2000 field testing of the FIDO prototype Mars rover are summarized. Tests included remote science operations and simulated aspects of the Athena payload for 2003 MER (Mars Exploration Rovers). Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  18. Academic Skills Rovers: A Just in Time Peer Support Initiative for Academic Skills and Literacy Development

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Copeman, Peter; Keightley, Polly

    2014-01-01

    In 2013 the University of Canberra (UC) initiated a program of peer-assisted academic skills help, the Academic Skills Rovers program, with the goal of providing drop-in peer learning support to students at campus locations where they congregate to study. The Academic Skills Rovers were initially recruited from the teacher education discipline,…

  19. An artificial target location method for Curiosity rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Ying; Peng, Jing; Du, Ying

    2015-03-01

    Template matching is a common method for object recognition and location. But the premise of template matching is the target should not change a lot in shape from the template image. When non-coplanar rotation exits, the traditional template matching method is helpless. By analyzing the artificial target of the curiosity rover, a two-step artificial target location method is proposed. Firstly, least squares ellipse fitting method is used to recognize the artificial target in the image and locate the center of each ellipse preliminary. Secondly, according to the preliminary result of ellipse fitting, the image is graph cut into pieces, and each piece only has one ellipse. Then Hough transform is used to locate the center of the artificial target precisely. Meanwhile, before edge detection, mathematical morphology technology is conducted to remove the influence of the shadow in the image. Otsu algorithm is used to choose the threshold value of canny edge detector adaptively. Experiments are carried out based on artificial target images of curiosity rover, which show that the robustness of the algorithm in non-ideal illumination situation. The location accuracy is within 1 pixel.

  20. Radio science receiver support of the Mars Exploration Rover Landings

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnston, Douglas; Asmar, Sami; Chang, Christine; Estabrook, Polly; Finely, Sue; Pham, Timothy; Satorius, Edgar

    2004-01-01

    The low power levels of the communication signals during the Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) sequences of the Mars rovers prevented the transmission of telemetry at X-band signal to inform the mission operations center of the health and progress of the spacecraft. As an altemative, a series of tones were sent to indicate basic spacecraft conditions and execution of critical events. An open-loop receiver designed for Radio Science experiments was used to acquire the signal during this time. The receiver recorded over a 100 Khz bandwidth to identify the presence of the carrier and tones. The data were fed in real-time to a processing unit which detected the carrier and the frequency separation of the tones from the carrier, in order to determine which event has occurred. Up to 256 different tones were possible. During the actual events, all tones were identified, and the carrier was tracked down to the surface, and for the second rover, through the bouncing which followed, and finally, while stopped on the surface, found the carrier and tones which indicated the spacecraft was alive. In order to identify the tones, the ground receivers had to be able to respond to the bevy of events occurring in the relatively short timespan of EDL.

  1. The K9 On-Board Rover Architecture

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bresina, John L.; Bualat, Maria; Fair, Michael; Washington, Richard; Wright, Anne

    2006-01-01

    This paper describes the software architecture of NASA Ames Research Center s K9 rover. The goal of the onboard software architecture team was to develop a modular, flexible framework that would allow both high- and low-level control of the K9 hardware. Examples of low-level control are the simple drive or pan/tilt commands which are handled by the resource managers, and examples of high-level control are the command sequences which are handled by the conditional executive. In between these two control levels are complex behavioral commands which are handled by the pilot, such as drive to goal with obstacle avoidance or visually servo to a target. This paper presents the design of the architecture as of Fall 2000. We describe the state of the architecture implementation as well as its current evolution. An early version of the architecture was used for K9 operations during a dual-rover field experiment conducted by NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) from May 14 to May 16, 2000.

  2. Operational Loopwheel Suspension System for Mars Rover Demonstration Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trautwein, W.; Robinson, G. D.

    1978-01-01

    The loopwheel (or elastic loop) mobility concept, appears to be uniquely qualified to provide a high degree of mobility at low weight and stowage requirements for the next Mars mission now in the early planning stage. Traction elements compatible with sterilization and Mars surface environmental constraints were designed and are compatible with the rover mass, range and stowage requirements of JPL's point design Mars rover. In order to save cost, the loopwheel suspensions for the demonstration model were made of S-glass/epoxy instead of titanium, alloy specified for flight units. The load carrying fiberglass loop core is covered by a rubber tread on the outside. Reinforced rubber gear belts bonded along the inside edges provide positive engagement and transmission drive torques. A 12 Vdc drive motor with a 167:1 gear head is installed in the payload section of the hull. A chain drive transmits the motor power to the rear sprocket in the demonstration model, whereas future flight units would be directly driven by brushless hub motors within each sprocket and independent four-leg height control.

  3. Evolving directions in NASA's planetary rover requirements and technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weisbin, C. R.; Montemerlo, Mel; Whittaker, W.

    1993-01-01

    This paper reviews the evolution of NASA's planning for planetary rovers (i.e. robotic vehicles which may be deployed on planetary bodies for exploration, science analysis, and construction) and some of the technology that has been developed to achieve the desired capabilities. The program is comprised of a variety of vehicle sizes and types in order to accommodate a range of potential user needs. This includes vehicles whose weight spans a few kilograms to several thousand kilograms; whose locomotion is implemented using wheels, tracks, and legs; and whose payloads vary from microinstruments to large scale assemblies for construction. We first describe robotic vehicles, and their associated control systems, developed by NASA in the late 1980's as part of a proposed Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission. Suggested goals at that time for such an MRSR mission included navigating for one to two years across hundreds of kilometers of Martian surface; traversing a diversity of rugged, unknown terrain; collecting and analyzing a variety of samples; and bringing back selected samples to the lander for return to Earth. Subsequently, we present the current plans (considerably more modest) which have evolved both from technological 'lessons learned' in the previous period, and modified aspirations of NASA missions. This paper describes some of the demonstrated capabilities of the developed machines and the technologies which made these capabilities possible.

  4. Evolving directions in NASA's planetary rover requirements and technology

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Weisbin, C. R.; Montemerlo, Mel; Whittaker, W.

    1993-01-01

    The evolution of NASA's planning for planetary rovers (that is robotic vehicles which may be deployed on planetary bodies for exploration, science analysis, and construction) and some of the technology that was developed to achieve the desired capabilities is reviewed. The program is comprised of a variety of vehicle sizes and types in order to accommodate a range of potential user needs. This includes vehicles whose weight spans a few kilograms to several thousand kilograms; whose locomotion is implemented using wheels, tracks, and legs; and whose payloads vary from microinstruments to large scale assemblies for construction. Robotic vehicles and their associated control systems, developed in the late 1980's as part of a proposed Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission, are described. Goals suggested at the time for such a MRSR mission included navigating for one to two years across hundreds of kilometers of Martian surface; traversing a diversity of rugged, unknown terrain; collecting and analyzing a variety of samples; and bringing back selected samples to the lander for return to Earth. Current plans (considerably more modest) which have evolved both from technological 'lessons learned' in the previous period, and modified aspirations of NASA missions are presented. Some of the demonstrated capabilities of the developed machines and the technologies which made these capabilities possible are described.

  5. Terrain modelling and motion planning for an autonomous exploration rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Richard, F.; Benoliel, S.; Faugeras, O.; Grandjean, P.; Hayard, M.; Simeon, T.

    1994-01-01

    To assess the feasibility of planetary exploration missions using rovers, the French national agency CNES, with a consortium of European laboratories and industrial concerns, has initiated the Eureka project, 'Illustration of an Autonomous Robot for the Exploration of Space' (IARES). IARES is a demonstrator composed of a rover and a ground station, linked by telemetry and telecommand. It is aimed at verifying, on earth, robotic concepts developed by the RISP group of French laboratories (LAAS, INRIA, CERT, LETI) to perform scientific missions such as autonomous terrain sample collecting over large areas. To cope with the actual needs of planet exploration, IARES suitability is assessed through constraints on limited bandwidth, time delay and on-board resources. This autonomy relies heavily on robust onboard trajectory generation capabilities. This paper presents the main functions of the IARES navigation sub-system and shows how they are combined to allow movement in Mars-like environments. Section 2 gives an overall description of the IARES system. Section 3 details the functions of the Navigation sub-system, and finally, section 4 illustrates with a simple example the use of these functions.

  6. Tele-operator assistance system for small rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eck, Daniel; Schilling, Klaus

    2008-04-01

    Small, agile rovers for harsh outdoor environments offer good potential to support rescue teams in emergency operations. For such exploration purposes the outdoor MERLIN rovers have been developed in tracked and wheeled versions for the weight class between 10 and 20 kg. Those vehicles can achieve velocities up to 50 km/h. Therefore the drive assistance system has to provide the functionalities to perform safe and efficient tele-operations in combination with autonomous reaction capabilities. The tele-operator can select appropriate levels of autonomy, ranging from warning signals to autonomous reactions of the vehicle's on-board data processing system, if an endangering situation is not anticipated. Implemented features include detection of obstacles in the path, as well as an adaptation of speed appropriate to terrain roughness and slope, but also to path curvature. An autonomous return to the initial position is to be realized, when the telecommunication contact to the tele-operator has been lost. This paper addresses the implemented sensor and data processing techniques to handle those tasks in a robust way. Results from extensive tests in various environments will be reported. In particular the results from the C-ELROB 2007 competition, the European Land Robotics trial, will be reported, where the Outdoor MERLIN was the winner of the urban terrain challenge.

  7. Improved Tracking of Targets by Cameras on a Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Won; Ansar, Adnan; Steele, Robert

    2007-01-01

    A paper describes a method devised to increase the robustness and accuracy of tracking of targets by means of three stereoscopic pairs of video cameras on a Mars-rover-type exploratory robotic vehicle. Two of the camera pairs are mounted on a mast that can be adjusted in pan and tilt; the third camera pair is mounted on the main vehicle body. Elements of the method include a mast calibration, a camera-pointing algorithm, and a purely geometric technique for handing off tracking between different camera pairs at critical distances as the rover approaches a target of interest. The mast calibration is an extension of camera calibration in which the camera images of calibration targets at known positions are collected at various pan and tilt angles. In the camerapointing algorithm, pan and tilt angles are computed by a closed-form, non-iterative solution of inverse kinematics of the mast combined with mathematical models of the cameras. The purely geometric camera-handoff technique involves the use of stereoscopic views of a target of interest in conjunction with the mast calibration.

  8. Environmental Test Program for the Mars Exploration Rover Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fisher, Terry C.; VanVelzer, Paul L.

    2004-01-01

    On June 10 and July 7, 2003 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched two spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida for a six (6) months flight to the Red Planet, Mars. The two Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft landed safely on the planet in January 2004. Prior to the successful launch, both of the spacecraft were involved in a comprehensive test campaign that included development, qualification, and protoflight test programs. Testing was performed to simulate the environments associated with launch, inter-planetary cruise, landing on the planet and Mars surface operations. Unique test requirements included operating the spacecraft while the chamber pressure was controlled to simulate the decent to the planet from deep space, high impact landing loads and rover operations on the surface of the planet at 8 Torr and -130 C. This paper will present an overview of the test program that included vibration, pyro-shock, landing loads, acoustic noise, thermal vacuum and solar simulation testing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Environmental Test Laboratory facilities in Pasadena, California.

  9. Seeking Signs of Life: The Mars 2020 Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schulte, M. D.; Meyer, M. A.

    2013-12-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced plans to send a rover to Mars in the year 2020. With NASA's goals for Mars now focused on determining the habitability of environments and detecting signs of past life, this mission constitutes a logical next step in the exploration of Mars. The Mars 2020 Science Definition Team's (SDT) suggested science objectives of the mission are to: 1) explore an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars to decipher its geological processes and history, including the assessment of past habitability; 2) assess the biosignature preservation potential within the selected geological environment and search for potential biosignatures; 3) demonstrate significant technical progress towards the future return of scientifically selected, well-documented samples to Earth; and 4) provide an opportunity for contributed human exploration or space technology Program participation, compatible with the science payload and within the mission's payload capacity. Instruments designed for detecting signs of past life and caching samples on Mars are among those considered by the Science Definition Team as the highest priority for science on the 2020 rover. This presentation will detail NASA's response to the SDT's report (released July 2013) in formulating the 2020 mission.

  10. Investigation of Life in the Atacama Desert by Astrobiology Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wettergreen, D.; Cabrol, N.

    2005-12-01

    The Atacama Desert is the most arid region on Earth and in several ways analogous to Mars. It has been suggested that the interior of the desert is the most lifeless place on Earth, yet it is known that microorganisms exist on rocks and in soils where the desert meets the coastal range. The Life in the Atacama (LITA) project is investigating the distribution and diversity of life and habitats in the desert using an rover guided by a remote science team. The Atacama Desert presents an excellent analogue to Mars because it is extremely dry, but also, like Mars it experiences high levels of ultraviolet radiation due to its altitude and atmospheric transparency. The soils in the Atacama have been found to be particularly high in oxidants, which lead to the rapid breakdown of organic material. The result is that in some regions of desert almost no biogenic material can be found on the surface. To the benefit of analogue studies for Mars exploration, the desert visually resembles Mars as seen through rover cameras. For these reasons: aridity, ultraviolet radiation and soil composition we believe the Atacama is analogous to Mars and an excellent location for rover field experiments. To support our astrobiologic investigation, we have created a mobile robot, Zo, that makes the measurement of the distribution and diversity of microorganisms possible. Mobility is crucial as habitats are hypothesized to depend on locally variable conditions including moisture, solar flux, and rock/soil composition. The ability to traverse tens to hundreds of kilometers while deploying sensors is a fundamental requirement because only by visiting many sites will the few in which organisms exist be found. Many observations provide the basis for statistically valid analysis of distribution. Zo's instrument payload combines complementary elements, some directed towards remote sensing of the environment (geology, morphology, mineralogy, climate) for the detection of conditions favorable to

  11. The Artemis Jr. rover: Mobility platform for lunar ISRU mission simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Reid, Ewan; Iles, Peter; Muise, Jason; Cristello, Nick; Jones, Brad; Faragalli, Michele; Visscher, Peter; Boucher, Dale; Simard-Bilodeau, Vincent; Apostolopoulos, Dimi; Rocco, Paul; Picard, Martin

    2015-05-01

    The Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatiles Extraction (RESOLVE) project aims to verify the presence of water and other volatiles on the Moon, and to serve as a precursor for future prospecting missions. The Artemis Jr. rover was developed as the surface mobility component of the RESOLVE project, and was specifically designed to accommodate the RESOLVE payload in a six-day NASA-CSA mission simulation carried out on Mauna Kea, Hawaii in July 2012. This paper describes the preparation, results, and lessons learned as they apply to the Artemis Jr. rover. Areas of focus include the operations as well as the rover software and hardware. Key results include support for the skid-steer configuration of the rover and the success of the absolute and relative localization functions of the rover.

  12. Speed Measurement and Motion Analysis of Chang'E-3 Rover Based on Differential Phase Delay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, C.; Liu, Q. H.; Zheng, X.; He, Q. B.; Wu, Y. J.

    2015-07-01

    On 2013 December 14, the Chang'E-3 made a successful soft landing on the lunar surface, and then carried out the tasks of separating the lander and the rover, and taking the photos of each other. With the same beam VLBI (Very long baseline interferometry) technique to observe the signals transmitted by the lander and the rover simultaneously, the differential phase delay between them is calculated, which can reflect a minor change of the rover's position on a scale of a few centimeters. Based on the high sensitivity of differential phase delay, the rover's speeds during 5 movements are obtained with an average of 0.056 m/s. The relationship between the rover's shake in moving process, and lunar terrain is analyzed by using the spectrum of the residual of the differential phase delay after the first-order polynomial fitting.

  13. An Environmental Control and Life Support System Concept for a Pressurized Lunar Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bagdigian, Robert M.; Stambaugh, Imelda

    2010-01-01

    Pressurized rovers can add many attractive capabilities to a human lunar exploration campaign, most notably by extending the reach of astronauts far beyond the immediate vicinities of lunar landers and fixed assets such as habitats. Effective campaigns will depend on an efficient allocation of environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) equipment amongst mobile rovers and fixed habitats such that widespread and sustainable exploration can be achieved. This paper will describe some of the key drivers that influence the design of an ECLSS for a pressurized lunar rover and a conceptual design that has been formulated to address those drivers. Opportunities to realize programmatic and operational efficiencies through commonality of rover ECLSS and extravehicular activity (EVA) equipment have also been explored and will be described. Plans for the inclusion of ECLSS functionality in prototype lunar rovers will be summarized

  14. A Real-Time Rover Executive based On Model-Based Reactive Planning

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bias, M. Bernardine; Lemai, Solange; Muscettola, Nicola; Korsmeyer, David (Technical Monitor)

    2003-01-01

    This paper reports on the experimental verification of the ability of IDEA (Intelligent Distributed Execution Architecture) effectively operate at multiple levels of abstraction in an autonomous control system. The basic hypothesis of IDEA is that a large control system can be structured as a collection of interacting control agents, each organized around the same fundamental structure. Two IDEA agents, a system-level agent and a mission-level agent, are designed and implemented to autonomously control the K9 rover in real-time. The system is evaluated in the scenario where the rover must acquire images from a specified set of locations. The IDEA agents are responsible for enabling the rover to achieve its goals while monitoring the execution and safety of the rover and recovering from dangerous states when necessary. Experiments carried out both in simulation and on the physical rover, produced highly promising results.

  15. Speed Measurement and Motion Analysis of Chang'E-3 Rover Based on Differential Phase Delay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chao, Pan; Qing-hui, Liu; Xin, Zheng; Qing-bao, He; Ya-jun, Wu

    2016-04-01

    On 14th December 2013, the Chang'E-3 made a successful soft landing on the lunar surface, and then carried out the tasks of separating the lander and the rover, and taking pictures of each other. With the same beam VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) technique to observe the signals transmitted by the lander and the rover simultaneously, the differential phase delay between them is calculated, which can reflect the minor changes of the rover's position on a scale of a few centimeters. Based on the high sensitivity of differential phase delay, the rover's speeds during 5 movements are obtained with an average of 0.056 m/s. The relationship between the rover's shake in the moving process and the lunar terrain is analyzed by using the spectrum of the residual of the differential phase delay after the first-order polynomial fitting.

  16. The University Rover Challenge: A competition highlighting Human and Robotic partnerships for exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Heather; Duncan, Andrew

    2016-07-01

    The University Rover Challenge began in 2006 with 4 American college teams competing, now in it's 10th year there are 63 teams from 12 countries registered to compete for the top rover designed to assist humans in the exploration of Mars. The Rovers compete aided by the University teams in four tasks (3 engineering and 1 science) in the Mars analog environment of the Utah Southern Desert in the United States. In this presentation we show amazing rover designs with videos demonstrating the incredible ingenuity, skill and determination of the world's most talented college students. We describe the purpose and results of each of the tasks: Astronaut Assistant, Rover Dexterity, Terrain maneuvering, and Science. We explain the evolution of the competition and common challenges faced by the robotic explorers

  17. Dust Accumulation and Solar Panel Array Performance on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Turgay, Eren H.

    2004-01-01

    One of the most fundamental design considerations for any space vehicle is its power supply system. Many options exist, including batteries, fuel cells, nuclear reactors, radioisotopic thermal generators (RTGs), and solar panel arrays. Solar arrays have many advantages over other types of power generation. They are lightweight and relatively inexpensive, allowing more mass and funding to be allocated for other important devices, such as scientific instruments. For Mars applications, solar power is an excellent option, especially for long missions. One might think that dust storms would be a problem; however, while dust blocks some solar energy, it also scatters it, making it diffuse rather than beamed. Solar cells are still able to capture this diffuse energy and convert it into substantial electrical power. For these reasons, solar power was chosen to be used on the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The success of this mission set a precedent, as NASA engineers have selected solar power as the energy system of choice for all future Mars missions, including the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project. Solar sells have their drawbacks, however. They are difficult to manufacture and are relatively fragile. In addition, solar cells are highly sensitive to different parts of the solar spectrum, and finding the correct balance is crucial to the success of space missions. Another drawback is that the power generated is not a constant with respect to time, but rather changes with the relative angle to the sun. On Mars, dust accumulation also becomes a factor. Over time, dust settles out of the atmosphere and onto solar panels. This dust blocks and shifts the frequency of the incoming light, degrading solar cell performance. My goal is to analyze solar panel telemetry data from the two MERs (Spirit and Opportunity) in an effort to accurately model the effect of dust accumulation on solar panels. This is no easy process due to the large number of factors involved. Changing solar

  18. The behavior of fission products during nuclear rocket reactor tests

    SciTech Connect

    Bokor, P.C.; Kirk, W.L.; Bohl, R.J.

    1991-01-01

    The experience base regarding fission product behavior developed during the Rover program, the nuclear rocket development program of 1955--1972, will be useful in planning a renewed nuclear rocket program. During the Rover program, 20 reactors were tested at the Nuclear Rocket Development Station in Nevada. Nineteen of these discharged effluent directly into the atmosphere; the last reactor tested, a non-flight-prototypic, fuel-element-testing reactor called the Nuclear Furnace (NF-1) was connected to an effluent cleanup system that removed fission products before the hydrogen coolant (propellant) was discharged to the atmosphere. In general, we are able to increase both test duration and fuel temperature during the test series. Therefore fission product data from the later part of the program are more interesting and more applicable to future reactors. We have collected fission product retention (and release) data reported in both formal and informal publications for six of the later reactor tests; five of these were Los Alamos reactors that were firsts of a kind in configuration or operating conditions. We have also, with the cooperation of Westinghouse, included fission product data from the NRX-A6 reactor, the final member of series of developmental reactors with the same basic geometry, but with significant design and fabrication improvements as the series continued. Table 1 lists the six selected reactors and the test parameters for each.

  19. Cross-Coupled Control for All-Terrain Rovers

    PubMed Central

    Reina, Giulio

    2013-01-01

    Mobile robots are increasingly being used in challenging outdoor environments for applications that include construction, mining, agriculture, military and planetary exploration. In order to accomplish the planned task, it is critical that the motion control system ensure accuracy and robustness. The achievement of high performance on rough terrain is tightly connected with the minimization of vehicle-terrain dynamics effects such as slipping and skidding. This paper presents a cross-coupled controller for a 4-wheel-drive/4-wheel-steer robot, which optimizes the wheel motors' control algorithm to reduce synchronization errors that would otherwise result in wheel slip with conventional controllers. Experimental results, obtained with an all-terrain rover operating on agricultural terrain, are presented to validate the system. It is shown that the proposed approach is effective in reducing slippage and vehicle posture errors. PMID:23299625

  20. Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Entry, Descent, and Landing System Validation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mitcheltree, Robert A.; Lee, Wayne; Steltzner, Adam; SanMartin, Alejanhdro

    2004-01-01

    System validation for a Mars entry, descent, and landing system is not simply a demonstration that the electrical system functions in the associated environments. The function of this system is its interaction with the atmospheric and surface environment. Thus, in addition to traditional test-bed, hardware-in-the-loop, testing, a validation program that confirms the environmental interaction is required. Unfortunately, it is not possible to conduct a meaningful end-to-end test of a Mars landing system on Earth. The validation plan must be constructed from an interconnected combination of simulation, analysis and test. For the Mars Exploration Rover mission, this combination of activities and the logic of how they combined to the system's validation was explicitly stated, reviewed, and tracked as part of the development plan.

  1. Lunar surface operations. Volume 4: Lunar rover trailer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shields, William; Feteih, Salah; Hollis, Patrick

    1993-01-01

    The purpose of the project was to design a lunar rover trailer for exploration missions. The trailer was designed to carry cargo such as lunar geological samples, mining equipment and personnel. It is designed to operate in both day and night lunar environments. It is also designed to operate with a maximum load of 7000 kilograms. The trailer has a ground clearance of 1.0 meters and can travel over obstacles 0.75 meters high at an incline of 45 degrees. It can be transported to the moon fully assembled using any heavy lift vehicle with a storage compartment diameter of 5.0 meters. The trailer has been designed to meet or exceed the performance of any perceivable lunar vehicle.

  2. Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site Predictions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golombek, M. P.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F., III; Christensen, P. R.; Crisp, J. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Fergason, R. L.; Grant, J. A.; Haldemann, A. F. C.; Parker, T. J.; Squyres, S. W.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) landing sites in Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum were selected because they appeared acceptably safe for MER landing and roving and had strong indicators of liquid water. The engineering constraints critical for safe landing were addressed via comprehensive evaluation of surface and atmospheric characteristics from existing and targeted remote sensing data and models that resulted in a number of predictions of the surface characteristics of the sites, which are tested more fully herein than a preliminary assessment. Relating remote sensing signatures to surface characteristics at landing sites allows these sites to be used as ground truth for the orbital data and is essential for selecting and validating landing sites for future missions.

  3. Sojourner Rover View of Platy Fragments near Pop-Tart

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    Sojourner's excavations brought materials to the surface for examination and allowed estimates of the mechanical properties of the deposits.

    This image is of a 7 cm wide excavation through the veneer of a drift. The platy fragment or piece of crust (upper right) was displaced by the rover wheel.

    NOTE: original caption as published in Science Magazine

    Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  4. The Opportunity Rover's Athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F., III; Bruckner, J.; Cabrol, N. A.; Calvin, W.; Carr, M. H.; Christensen, P. R.; Clark, B. C.; Crumpler, L.; DesMarais, D. J.; d'Uston, C.; Economou, T.; Farmer, J.; Farrand, W.; Folkner, W.; Golombek, M.; Landis, G.; Parker, T.; Sims, M.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Smith, M.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has investigated the landing site in Eagle crater and the nearby plains within Meridiani Planum. The soils consist of fine-grained basaltic sand and a surface lag of hematite-rich spherules, spherule fragments, and other granules. Wind ripples are common. Underlying the thin soil layer, and exposed within small impact craters and troughs, are flat-lying sedimentary rocks. These rocks are finely laminated, are rich in sulfur, and contain abundant sulfate salts. Small-scale cross-lamination in some locations provides evidence for deposition in flowing liquid water. We interpret the rocks to be a mixture of chemical and siliciclastic sediments formed by episodic inundation by shallow surface water, followed by evaporation, exposure, and desiccation. Hematite-rich spherules are embedded in the rock and eroding from them. We interpret these spherules to be concretions formed by postdepositional diagenesis, again involving liquid water.

  5. Path selection process utilizing rapid estimation scheme. [for Martian rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ring, H.; Shen, C. N.

    1978-01-01

    The paper describes the use of a rapid estimation scheme for path selection by a roving vehicle. Essentially, the evaluation procedure simulates movement of the rover over each of several corridors lying radially outward from the scanning position. Two levels of corridors are used, and the path selection scheme selects the optimal primary corridor according to a dynamic programming algorithm. In the present version, the length of the corridors is variable. The rapid estimation scheme provides information to define corridor dimensions. This corridor structure, which varies as a function of the terrain, eliminates the need for backtracking, except in certain extreme cases. Computer results are promising in that obstacles were avoided while corridor lengths were kept to a maximum where safety permitted.

  6. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Vertical)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel.

    The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life.

    The image is presented here as a vertical projection, as if looking straight down, and in false color, which brings out subtle color differences.

  7. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (False Color)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel.

    The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life.

    The image is presented here in false color that is used to bring out subtle differences in color.

  8. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Stereo)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel.

    The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life.

    Multiple images taken with Spirit's panoramic camera are combined here into a stereo view that appears three-dimensional when seen through red-blue glasses, with the red lens on the left.

  9. The opportunity Rover's athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J.F., III; Brückner, J.; Cabrol, N.A.; Calvin, W.; Carr, M.H.; Christensen, P.R.; Clark, B. C.; Crumpler, L.; Des Marais, D.J.; D'Uston, C.; Economou, T.; Farmer, J.; Farrand, W.; Folkner, W.; Golombek, M.; Gorevan, S.; Grant, J. A.; Greeley, R.; Grotzinger, J.; Haskin, L.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Hviid, S.; Johnson, J.; Klingelhofer, G.; Knoll, A.H.; Landis, G.; Lemmon, M.; Li, R.; Madsen, M.B.; Malin, M.C.; McLennan, S.M.; McSween, H.Y.; Ming, D. W.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R.V.; Parker, T.; Rice, J. W., Jr.; Richter, L.; Rieder, R.; Sims, M.; Smith, M.; Smith, P.; Soderblom, L.A.; Sullivan, R.; Wanke, H.; Wdowiak, T.; Wolff, M.; Yen, A.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has investigated the landing site in Eagle crater and the nearby plains within Meridiani Planum. The soils consist of fine-grained basaltic sand and a surface lag of hematite-rich spherules, spherule fragments, and other granules. Wind ripples are common. Underlying the thin soil layer, and exposed within small impact craters and troughs, are flat-lying sedimentary rocks. These rocks are finely laminated, are rich in sulfur, and contain abundant sulfate salts. Small-scale cross-lamination in some locations provides evidence for deposition in flowing liquid water. We interpret the rocks to be a mixture of chemical and siliciclastic sediments formed by episodic inundation by shallow surface water, followed by evaporation, exposure, and desiccation. Hematite-rich spherules are embedded in the rock and eroding from them. We interpret these spherules to be concretions formed by postdepositional diagenesis, again involving liquid water.

  10. Mars Rover Sample Return aerocapture configuration design and packaging constraints

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lawson, Shelby J.

    1989-01-01

    This paper discusses the aerodynamics requirements, volume and mass constraints that lead to a biconic aeroshell vehicle design that protects the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission elements from launch to Mars landing. The aerodynamic requirements for Mars aerocapture and entry and packaging constraints for the MRSR elements result in a symmetric biconic aeroshell that develops a L/D of 1.0 at 27.0 deg angle of attack. A significant problem in the study is obtaining a cg that provides adequate aerodynamic stability and performance within the mission imposed constraints. Packaging methods that relieve the cg problems include forward placement of aeroshell propellant tanks and incorporating aeroshell structure as lander structure. The MRSR missions developed during the pre-phase A study are discussed with dimensional and mass data included. Further study is needed for some missions to minimize MRSR element volume so that launch mass constraints can be met.

  11. Mars rover sample return: An exobiology science scenario

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rosenthal, D. A.; Sims, M. H.; Schwartz, Deborah E.; Nedell, S. S.; Mckay, Christopher P.; Mancinelli, Rocco L.

    1988-01-01

    A mission designed to collect and return samples from Mars will provide information regarding its composition, history, and evolution. At the same time, a sample return mission generates a technical challenge. Sophisticated, semi-autonomous, robotic spacecraft systems must be developed in order to carry out complex operations at the surface of a very distant planet. An interdisciplinary effort was conducted to consider how much a Mars mission can be realistically structured to maximize the planetary science return. The focus was to concentrate on a particular set of scientific objectives (exobiology), to determine the instrumentation and analyses required to search for biological signatures, and to evaluate what analyses and decision making can be effectively performed by the rover in order to minimize the overhead of constant communication between Mars and the Earth. Investigations were also begun in the area of machine vision to determine whether layered sedimentary structures can be recognized autonomously, and preliminary results are encouraging.

  12. Building Hybrid Rover Models for NASA: Lessons Learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Willeke, Thomas; Dearden, Richard

    2004-01-01

    Particle filters have recently become popular for diagnosis and monitoring of hybrid systems. In this paper we describe our experiences using particle filters on a real diagnosis problem, the NASA Ames Research Center's K-9 rover. As well as the challenge of modelling the dynamics of the system, there are two major issues in applying a particle filter to such a model. The first is the asynchronous nature of the system-observations from different subsystems arrive at different rates, and occasionally out of order, leading to large amounts of uncertainty in the state of the system. The second issue is data interpretation. The particle filter produces a probability distribution over the state of the system, from which summary statistics that can be used for control or higher-level diagnosis must be extracted. We describe our approaches to both these problems, as well as other modelling issues that arose in this domain.

  13. Lunar Resource Exploitation with Team Hakuto Swarm Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Acierno, Kyle

    2016-07-01

    While much research has been done on the exploration, extraction and utilization of the Moon's resources, little attention has been given to exploring the economic opportunities that exist in the exploitation of those resources with the use of swam rovers. In order to develop a holistic view of lunar resources, this paper will first investigate the most important volatiles and minerals that are known to exist on the Moon. Next, Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Hakuto's technology and current robotic set up will be given. Finally, TEAM HAKUTO's 2017 Lunar mission plan will be outlined, providing an overview of future architectures using future swarm robotics to search for, map and eventually exploit the resources and volatiles.

  14. Mars rover/sample return mission requirements affecting space station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    The possible interfaces between the Space Station and the Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) mission are defined. In order to constrain the scope of the report a series of seven design reference missions divided into three major types were assumed. These missions were defined to span the probable range of Space Station-MRSR interactions. The options were reduced, the MRSR sample handling requirements and baseline assumptions about the MRSR hardware and the key design features and requirements of the Space Station are summarized. Only the aspects of the design reference missions necessary to define the interfaces, hooks and scars, and other provisions on the Space Station are considered. An analysis of each of the three major design reference missions, is reported, presenting conceptual designs of key hardware to be mounted on the Space Station, a definition of weights, interfaces, and required hooks and scars.

  15. Cross-coupled control for all-terrain rovers.

    PubMed

    Reina, Giulio

    2013-01-01

    Mobile robots are increasingly being used in challenging outdoor environments for applications that include construction, mining, agriculture, military and planetary exploration. In order to accomplish the planned task, it is critical that the motion control system ensure accuracy and robustness. The achievement of high performance on rough terrain is tightly connected with the minimization of vehicle-terrain dynamics effects such as slipping and skidding. This paper presents a cross-coupled controller for a 4-wheel-drive/4-wheel-steer robot, which optimizes the wheel motors' control algorithm to reduce synchronization errors that would otherwise result in wheel slip with conventional controllers. Experimental results, obtained with an all-terrain rover operating on agricultural terrain, are presented to validate the system. It is shown that the proposed approach is effective in reducing slippage and vehicle posture errors. PMID:23299625

  16. The Opportunity Rover's Athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars.

    PubMed

    Squyres, S W; Arvidson, R E; Bell, J F; Brückner, J; Cabrol, N A; Calvin, W; Carr, M H; Christensen, P R; Clark, B C; Crumpler, L; Marais, D J Des; d'Uston, C; Economou, T; Farmer, J; Farrand, W; Folkner, W; Golombek, M; Gorevan, S; Grant, J A; Greeley, R; Grotzinger, J; Haskin, L; Herkenhoff, K E; Hviid, S; Johnson, J; Klingelhöfer, G; Knoll, A H; Landis, G; Lemmon, M; Li, R; Madsen, M B; Malin, M C; McLennan, S M; McSween, H Y; Ming, D W; Moersch, J; Morris, R V; Parker, T; Rice, J W; Richter, L; Rieder, R; Sims, M; Smith, M; Smith, P; Soderblom, L A; Sullivan, R; Wänke, H; Wdowiak, T; Wolff, M; Yen, A

    2004-12-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has investigated the landing site in Eagle crater and the nearby plains within Meridiani Planum. The soils consist of fine-grained basaltic sand and a surface lag of hematite-rich spherules, spherule fragments, and other granules. Wind ripples are common. Underlying the thin soil layer, and exposed within small impact craters and troughs, are flat-lying sedimentary rocks. These rocks are finely laminated, are rich in sulfur, and contain abundant sulfate salts. Small-scale cross-lamination in some locations provides evidence for deposition in flowing liquid water. We interpret the rocks to be a mixture of chemical and siliciclastic sediments formed by episodic inundation by shallow surface water, followed by evaporation, exposure, and desiccation. Hematite-rich spherules are embedded in the rock and eroding from them. We interpret these spherules to be concretions formed by postdepositional diagenesis, again involving liquid water. PMID:15576602

  17. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) : the US 2009 Mars rover mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palluconi, Frank; Tampari, Leslie; Steltzner, Adam; Umland, Jeff

    2003-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory mission is the 2009 United States Mars Exploration Program rover mission. The MSL Project expects to complete its pre-Phase A definition activity this fiscal year (FY2003), investigations in mid-March 2004, launch in 2009, arrive at Mars in 2010 during Northern hemisphere summer and then complete a full 687 day Mars year of surface exploration. MSL will assess the potential for habitability (past and present) of a carefully selected landing region on Mars by exploring for the chemical building blocks of life, and seeking to understand quantitatively the chemical and physical environment with which these components have interacted over the geologic history of the planet. Thus, MSL will advance substantially our understanding of the history of Mars and potentially, its capacity to sustain life.

  18. Soil-like deposits observed by Sojourner, the Pathfinder rover

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moore, Henry J.; Bickler, Donald B.; Crisp, Joy A.; Eisen, Howard J.; Gensler, Jeffrey A.; Haldemann, Albert F.C.; Matijevic, Jacob R.; Reid, Lisa K.; Pavlics, Ferenc

    1999-01-01

    Most of the soil-like materials at the Pathfinder landing site behave like moderately dense soils on Earth with friction angles near 34°-39° and are called cloddy deposits. Cloddy deposits appear to be poorly sorted with dust-sized to granule-sized mineral or rock grains; they may contain pebbles, small rock fragments, and clods. Thin deposits of porous, compressible drifts with friction angles near 26°-28° are also present. Drifts are fine grained. Cohesions of both types of deposits are small. There may be indurated soil-like deposits and/or coated or crusted rocks. Cloddy deposits may be fluvial sediments of the Ares-Tiu floods, but other origins, such as ejecta from nearby impact craters, should be considered. Drifts are probably dusts that settled from the Martian atmosphere. Remote-sensing signatures of the deposits inferred from rover observations are consistent with those observed from orbit and Earth.

  19. Two years at Meridiani Planum: Results from the opportunity rover

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Squyres, S. W.; Knoll, A.H.; Arvidson, R. E.; Clark, B. C.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Jolliff, B.L.; McLennan, S.M.; Tosca, N.; Bell, J.F., III; Calvin, W.M.; Farrand, W. H.; Glotch, T.D.; Golombek, M.P.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhofer, G.; McSween, H.Y.; Yen, A. S.

    2006-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has spent more than 2 years exploring Meridiani Planum, traveling ???8 kilometers and detecting features that reveal ancient environmental conditions. These include well-developed festoon (trough) cross-lamination formed in flowing liquid water, strata with smaller and more abundant hematite-rich concretions than those seen previously, possible relict "hopper crystals" that might reflect the formation of halite, thick weathering rinds on rock surfaces, resistant fracture fills, and networks of polygonal fractures likely caused by dehydration of sulfate salts. Chemical variations with depth show that the siliciclastic fraction of outcrop rock has undergone substantial chemical alteration from a precursor basaltic composition. Observations from microscopic to orbital scales indicate that ancient Meridiani once had abundant acidic groundwater, arid and oxidizing surface conditions, and occasional liquid flow on the surface.

  20. Assemby, test, and launch operations for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wallace, Matthew T.; Hardy, Paul V.; Romero, Raul A.; Salvo, Christopher G.; Shain, Thomas W.; Thompson, Arthur D.; Wirth, John W.

    2005-01-01

    In January of 2004, NASA's twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, successfully landed on opposite sides of the Red Planet after a seven month Earth to Mars cruise period. Both vehicles have operated well beyond their 90 day primary mission design life requirements. The Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) program for these missions presented unique technical and schedule challenges to the team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Among these challenges were a highly compressed schedule and late deliveries leading to extended double shift staffing, dual spacecraft operations requiring test program diversification and resource arbitration, multiple atypical test configurations for airbag/rocket landings and surface mobility testing, and verification of an exceptionally large number of separations, deployments, and mechanisms. This paper discusses the flight system test philosophies and approach, and presents lessons learned.

  1. Physical properties and localization investigations associated with the 2003 Mars Exploration rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Anderson, R. C.; Haldemann, A. F. C.; Landis, G. A.; Li, R.; Lindemann, R. A.; Matijevic, J. R.; Morris, R. V.; Richter, L.; Squyres, S. W.; Sullivan, R. J.; Snider, N. O.

    2003-10-01

    A number of physical properties experiments will be conducted during the NASA 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission as the two vehicles explore Meridiani Planum and the floor of Gusev Crater. The investigations will include quantifying dust accumulation and dispersal dynamics by periodically monitoring the rover decks with the Athena Pancam and Mini-TES instruments. Properties of soil-like materials will be inferred from analyses of wheel track patterns, depths, and wheel slippage dynamics during traverses. The rovers will be modeled as dynamic mechanical systems to extract along-track terrain topography and physical properties from times series of rover tilt vectors, wheel encoder counts, azimuths, motor currents, and rocker and bogie angles. Trenches will be excavated using rover wheels to characterize mechanical properties of soil-like materials with depth and to expose subsurface materials for remote and in situ observations using the Athena Payload. The Rock Abrasion Tools will be used to expose rock subsurfaces for detailed analyses. Motor currents and penetration magnitudes will be compared to a database of rocks excavated by an engineering model of the Rock Abrasion Tool to understand Martian rock mechanical properties. Image-based localization analyses will be pursued to better understand rover traverse directions and magnitudes and thus rover locations as a function of time. The physical properties and localization investigations, when combined with analyses of the full ensemble of Athena observations, will greatly improve our understanding of Martian surface properties and provide significant technology lessons for future landed missions.

  2. A Wind-powered Rover for a Low-Cost Venus Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benigno, Gina; Hoza, Kathleen; Motiwala, Samira; Landis, Geoffrey A.; Colozza, Anthony J.

    2013-01-01

    Venus, with a surface temperature of 450 C and an atmospheric pressure 90 times higher than that of the Earth, is a difficult target for exploration. However, high-temperature electronics and power systems now being developed make it possible that future missions may be able to operate in the Venus environment. Powering such a rover within the scope of a Discovery class mission will be difficult, but harnessing Venus' surface winds provides a possible way to keep a powered rover small and light. This project scopes out the feasibility of a wind-powered rover for Venus surface missions. Two rover concepts, a land-sailing rover and a wind-turbine-powered rover, were considered. The turbine-powered rover design is selected as being a low-risk and low-cost strategy. Turbine detailed analysis and design shows that the turbine can meet mission requirements across the desired range of wind speeds by utilizing three constant voltage generators at fixed gear ratios.

  3. Dynamic Modeling and Soil Mechanics for Path Planning of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trease, Brian; Arvidson, Raymond; Lindemann, Randel; Bennett, Keith; Zhou, Feng; Iagnemma, Karl; Senatore, Carmine; Van Dyke, Lauren

    2011-01-01

    To help minimize risk of high sinkage and slippage during drives and to better understand soil properties and rover terramechanics from drive data, a multidisciplinary team was formed under the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project to develop and utilize dynamic computer-based models for rover drives over realistic terrains. The resulting tool, named ARTEMIS (Adams-based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction Simulator), consists of the dynamic model, a library of terramechanics subroutines, and the high-resolution digital elevation maps of the Mars surface. A 200-element model of the rovers was developed and validated for drop tests before launch, using MSC-Adams dynamic modeling software. Newly modeled terrain-rover interactions include the rut-formation effect of deformable soils, using the classical Bekker-Wong implementation of compaction resistances and bull-dozing effects. The paper presents the details and implementation of the model with two case studies based on actual MER telemetry data. In its final form, ARTEMIS will be used in a predictive manner to assess terrain navigability and will become part of the overall effort in path planning and navigation for both Martian and lunar rovers.

  4. Dynamic Modeling and Soil Mechanics for Path Planning of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trease, Brian

    2011-01-01

    To help minimize risk of high sinkage and slippage during drives and to better understand soil properties and rover terramechanics from drive data, a multidisciplinary team was formed under the Mars Exploration Rover project to develop and utilize dynamic computer-based models for rover drives over realistic terrains. The resulting system, named ARTEMIS (Adams-based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction System), consists of the dynamic model, a library of terramechanics subroutines, and the high-resolution digital elevation maps of the Mars surface. A 200-element model of the rovers was developed and validated for drop tests before launch, using Adams dynamic modeling software. The external library was built in Fortran and called by Adams to model the wheel-soil interactions include the rut-formation effect of deformable soils, lateral and longitudinal forces, bull-dozing effects, and applied wheel torque. The paper presents the details and implementation of the system. To validate the developed system, one study case is presented from a realistic drive on Mars of the Opportunity rover. The simulation results match well from the measurement of on-board telemetry data. In its final form, ARTEMIS will be used in a predictive manner to assess terrain navigability and will become part of the overall effort in path planning and navigation for both Martian and lunar rovers.

  5. Mars Science Laboratory Rover Integrated Pump Assembly Bellows Jamming Failure

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Michael R.; Johnson, Joel; Birur, Gajanana; Bhandari, Pradeep; Karlmann, Paul

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover and spacecraft utilize two mechanically pumped fluid loops for heat transfer to and from the internal electronics assemblies and the Radioisotope Thermo-Electric Generator (RTG). The heat transfer fluid is Freon R-11 (CFC-11) which has a large coefficient of thermal expansion. The Freon within the heat transfer system must have a volume for safe expansion of the fluid as the system temperature rises. The device used for this function is a gas-over-liquid accumulator. The accumulator uses a metal bellows to separate the fluid and gas sections. During expansion and contraction of the fluid in the system, the bellows extends and retracts to provide the needed volume change. During final testing of a spare unit, the bellows would not extend the full distance required to provide the needed expansion volume. Increasing the fluid pressure did not loosen the jammed bellows either. No amount of stroking the bellows back and forth would get it to pass the jamming point. This type of failure, if it occurred during flight, would result in significant overpressure of the heat transfer system leading to a burst failure at some point in the system piping. A loss of the Freon fluid would soon result in a loss of the mission. The determination of the source of the jamming of the bellows was quite elusive, leading to an extensive series of tests and analyses. The testing and analyses did indicate the root cause of the failure, qualitatively. The results did not provide a set of dimensional limits for the existing hardware design that would guarantee proper operation of the accumulator. In the end, a new design was developed that relied on good engineering judgment combined with the test results to select a reliable enough solution that still met other physical constraints of the hardware, the schedule, and the rover system.

  6. Mars Exploration Rover Entry, Descent, and Landing: A Thermal Perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsuyuki, Glenn T.; Sunada, Eric T.; Novak, Keith S.; Kinsella, Gary M.; Phillip, Charles J.

    2005-01-01

    Perhaps the most challenging mission phase for the Mars Exploration Rovers was the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). During this phase, the entry vehicle attached to its cruise stage was transformed into a stowed tetrahedral Lander that was surrounded by inflated airbags through a series of complex events. There was only one opportunity to successfully execute an automated command sequence without any possible ground intervention. The success of EDL was reliant upon the system thermal design: 1) to thermally condition EDL hardware from cruise storage temperatures to operating temperature ranges; 2) to maintain the Rover electronics within operating temperature ranges without the benefit of the cruise single phase cooling loop, which had been evacuated in preparation for EDL; and 3) to maintain the cruise stage propulsion components for the critical turn to entry attitude. Since the EDL architecture was inherited from Mars Pathfinder (MPF), the initial EDL thermal design would be inherited from MPF. However, hardware and implementation differences from MPF ultimately changed the MPF inheritance approach for the EDL thermal design. With the lack of full inheritance, the verification and validation of the EDL thermal design took on increased significance. This paper will summarize the verification and validation approach for the EDL thermal design along with applicable system level thermal testing results as well as appropriate thermal analyses. In addition, the lessons learned during the system-level testing will be discussed. Finally, the in-flight EDL experiences of both MER-A and -B missions (Spirit and Opportunity, respectively) will be presented, demonstrated how lessons learned from Spirit were applied to Opportunity.

  7. Mars 2020 Science Rover: Science Goals and Mission Concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mustard, John F.; Beaty, D.; Bass, D.

    2013-10-01

    The Mars 2020 Science Definition Team (SDT), chartered in January 2013 by NASA, formulated a spacecraft mission concept for a science-focused, highly mobile rover to explore and investigate in detail a site on Mars that likely was once habitable. The mission, based on the Mars Science Laboratory landing and rover systems, would address, within a cost- and time-constrained framework, four objectives: (A) Explore an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars to decipher its geological processes and history, including the assessment of past habitability; (B) Assess the biosignature preservation potential within the selected geological environment and search for potential biosignatures; (C) Demonstrate significant technical progress towards the future return of scientifically selected, well-documented samples to Earth; and (D) provide an opportunity for contributed instruments from Human Exploration or Space Technology Programs. The SDT addressed the four mission objectives and six additional charter-specified tasks independently while specifically looking for synergy among them. Objectives A and B are each ends unto themselves, while Objective A is also the means by which samples are selected for objective B, and together they motivate and inform Objective C. The SDT also found that Objective D goals are well aligned with A through C. Critically, Objectives A, B, and C as an ensemble brought the SDT to the conclusion that exploration oriented toward both astrobiology and the preparation of a returnable cache of scientifically selected, well documented surface samples is the only acceptable mission concept. Importantly the SDT concluded that the measurements needed to attain these objectives were essentially identical, consisting of six types of field measurements: 1) context imaging 2) context mineralogy, 3) fine-scale imaging, 4) fine-scale mineralogy, 5) fine-scale elemental chemistry, and 6) organic matter detection. The mission concept fully addresses

  8. Autonomous Vision-Based Tethered-Assisted Rover Docking

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsai, Dorian; Nesnas, Issa A.D.; Zarzhitsky, Dimitri

    2013-01-01

    Many intriguing science discoveries on planetary surfaces, such as the seasonal flows on crater walls and skylight entrances to lava tubes, are at sites that are currently inaccessible to state-of-the-art rovers. The in situ exploration of such sites is likely to require a tethered platform both for mechanical support and for providing power and communication. Mother/daughter architectures have been investigated where a mother deploys a tethered daughter into extreme terrains. Deploying and retracting a tethered daughter requires undocking and re-docking of the daughter to the mother, with the latter being the challenging part. In this paper, we describe a vision-based tether-assisted algorithm for the autonomous re-docking of a daughter to its mother following an extreme terrain excursion. The algorithm uses fiducials mounted on the mother to improve the reliability and accuracy of estimating the pose of the mother relative to the daughter. The tether that is anchored by the mother helps the docking process and increases the system's tolerance to pose uncertainties by mechanically aligning the mating parts in the final docking phase. A preliminary version of the algorithm was developed and field-tested on the Axel rover in the JPL Mars Yard. The algorithm achieved an 80% success rate in 40 experiments in both firm and loose soils and starting from up to 6 m away at up to 40 deg radial angle and 20 deg relative heading. The algorithm does not rely on an initial estimate of the relative pose. The preliminary results are promising and help retire the risk associated with the autonomous docking process enabling consideration in future martian and lunar missions.

  9. Scientific exploration of lunar surface using a rover in Japanese future lunar mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sasaki, S.; Kubota, T.; Okada, T.; Saiki, K.; Kuroda, Y.; Kunii, Y.; Shibamura, E.; Akiyama, N.; Ohtake, M.; Ichikawa, M.; Higa, M.; Hirata, N.; Sugihara, T.; Haruyama, J.; Otake, H.; Yoshioka, N.; Terazono, J.; Yamada, M.; Yamaguchi, Y.; Kodama, S.; Rover Group in Japan

    A new lunar mission (SELENE-B) including a lander is now in consideration in Japan. The mission will follow up SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer, a global remote sensing mission of the moon in 2004). Scientific investigation plans using a rover are proposed: exploration of a crater central peak to discover subsurface materials and exploration of the polar region to discover the trapped ice. We have already developed a 5-wheel engineering-model rover, Micro5, which has a long manipulator with a camera on top. The rover can climb over 15cm steps and rocks by a new suspension system PEGASUS.

  10. Monitoring motion and measuring relative position of the Chang'E-3 rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Qinghui; Zheng, Xin; Huang, Yong; Li, Peijia; He, Qingbao; Wu, Yajun; Guo, Li; Tang, Mingle

    2014-11-01

    Same-beam very long baseline interferometry observations were performed between the rover and the lander of Chang'E-3 and differential phase delay data were obtained with the minimum random error of about 0.03 ps. These data were used to monitor the rover motions, as small as several centimeters, including movement, turning, and attitude adjustment. The relative position between the rover and the lander was precisely measured with an accuracy of 1 m, which is an improvement of 10 times compared with that of the Apollo project.

  11. Science Alert Demonstration with a Rover Traverse Science Data Analysis System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Castano, R.; Estlin, T.; Gaines, D.; Castano, A.; Bornstein, B.; Anderson, R. C.; Judd, M.; Stough, T.; Wagstaff, K.

    2005-01-01

    The Onboard Autonomous Science Investigation System (OASIS) evaluates geologic data gathered by a planetary rover. This analysis is used to prioritize the data for transmission, so that the data with the highest science value is transmitted to Earth. In addition, the onboard analysis results are used to identify science opportunities. A planning and scheduling component of the system enables the rover to take advantage of the identified science opportunity. OASIS is a NASA-funded research project that is currently being tested on the FIDO rover at JPL for the use on future missions.

  12. Assessment of Proficiency During Simulated Rover Operations Following Long-Duration Spaceflight

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, S. J.; Dean, S. L.; De Dios, Y. E.; MacDougall, H. G.; Moore, S. T.

    2011-01-01

    Following long-duration space travel, pressurized rovers will enhance crew mobility to explore Mars and other planetary surfaces. Adaptive changes in sensorimotor function may limit the crew s proficiency when performing some rover operations shortly after transition to the new gravitoinertial environment. The primary goal of this investigation is to quantify postflight decrements in operational proficiency in a motion-based rover simulation after International Space Station (ISS) expeditions. Given that postflight performance will also be influenced by the level of preflight proficiency attained, a ground-based normative study was conducted to characterize the acquisition of skills over multiple sessions.

  13. Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) Technologies for Thermal Control of Future Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Birur, Gaj; Bhandari, Pradeep; Prina, Mauro; Bame, Dave; Yavrouian, Andre; Plett, Gary

    2006-01-01

    Mechanically pumped fluid loop has been the basis of thermal control architecture for the last two Mars lander and rover missions and is the key part of the MSL thermal architecture. Several MPFL technologies are being developed for the MSL rover include long-life pumps, thermal control valves, mechanical fittings for use with CFC-11 at elevated temperatures of approx.100 C. Over three years of life tests and chemical compatibility tests on these MPFL components show that MPFL technology is mature for use on MSL. The advances in MPFL technologies for MSL Rover will benefit any future MPFL applications on NASA s Moon, Mars and Beyond Program.

  14. Testing Mars Exploration Rover-inspired operational strategies for semi-autonomous rovers on the moon II: The GeoHeuristic operational Strategies Test in Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yingst, R. A.; Cohen, B. A.; Hynek, B.; Schmidt, M. E.; Schrader, C.; Rodriguez, A.

    2014-06-01

    We used MER-derived semi-autonomous rover science operations strategies to determine best practices suitable for remote semi-autonomous lunar rover geology. Two field teams studied two glacial moraines as analogs for potential ice-bearing lunar regolith. At each site a Rover Team commanded a human rover to execute observations based on common MER sequences; the resulting data were used to identify and characterize targets of interest. A Tiger Team followed the Rover Team using traditional terrestrial field methods, and the results of the two teams were compared. Narrowly defined goals that can be addressed using cm-scale or coarser resolution may be met sufficiently by the operational strategies adapted from MER survey mode. When reconnaissance is the primary goal, the strategies tested are necessary but not sufficient. Further, there may be a set of optimal observations for such narrowly defined, hypothesis-driven science goals, such that collecting further data would result in diminishing returns. We confirm results of previous tests that indicated systematic observations might improve efficiency during strategic planning, and improve science output during data analysis. This strategy does not markedly improve the rate at which a science team can ingest data to feed back into tactical decision-making. Other methods should be tested to separate the strategic and tactical processes, and to build in time for data analysis.

  15. Design and Performance of the MER (Mars Exploration Rovers) Solar Arrays

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stella, Paul M.; Ewell, Richard C.; Hoskin, Julie J.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) program posed a significant engineering and technology challenge. Now that the Rovers have operated beyond their original design life of three months by nearly a factor of four it is clear that the challenge was met and far exceeded. A key to the success of MER has been the enhanced power provided by the cruise and Rover solar arrays. Benefiting from a nearly 50% improvement in cell efficiency compared to the single junction GaAs cells used on Pathfinder, the MER designs were subject to many constraints both in design and in operation. These constraints included limited available panel area, changing illumination levels and temperatures, and variable shadowing, atmospheric conditions and dust accumulation for the rovers. This paper will discuss those constraints and their impact on the design. In addition, flight data will be provided to assess the performance achieved during the mission.

  16. Top View of a Computer Graphic Model of the Opportunity Lander and Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] PIA05265

    A computer graphics model of the Opportunity lander and rover are super-imposed on top of the martian terrain where Opportunity landed.

  17. MEEC, a MSP 2001 Rover Experiment to Measure Electrostatic Charging in the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferguson, D. C.; Hillard, G. B.

    2000-01-01

    The Mars Experiment on Electrostatic Charging (MEEC), to be flown on the MSP 2001 Marie Curie Rover, is described. It will measure absolute and relative levels of charging in the Martian atmosphere due to traverses and dust-laden winds.

  18. Using RSVP for analyzing state and previous activities for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cooper, Brian K.; Wright, John; Hartman, Frank; Maxwell, Scott; Yen, Jeng

    2004-01-01

    This paper will discuss the tools and methodologies present in the RSVP suite for examining rover state, reviewing previous activities, visually comparing telemetered results to rehearse results, and reveiwing sciene and engineering imagery.

  19. Multi-rover testbed for teleconducted and autonomous surveillance, reconnaissance, and exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fink, Wolfgang; Tarbell, Mark A.

    2009-05-01

    At Caltech's Visual and Autonomous Exploration Systems Research Laboratory (http://autonomy.caltech.edu) an outdoor multi-rover testbed has been developed that allows for near real-time interactive or automatic control from anywhere in the world via the Internet. It enables the implementation, field-testing, and validation of algorithms/software and strategies for navigation, exploration, feature extraction, anomaly detection, and target prioritization with applications in planetary exploration, security surveillance, reconnaissance of disaster areas, military reconnaissance, and delivery of lethal force such as explosives for urban warfare. Several rover platforms have been developed, enabling testing of cooperative multi-rover scenarios (e.g., inter-rover communication/coordination) and distributed exploration of operational areas.

  20. The Challenges of Designing the Rocker-Bogie Suspension for the Mars Exploration Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harrington, Brian D.; Voorhees, Chris

    2004-01-01

    Over the past decade, the rocker-bogie suspension design has become a proven mobility application known for its superior vehicle stability and obstacle-climbing capability. Following several technology and research rover implementations, the system was successfully flown as part of Mars Pathfinder s Sojourner rover. When the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project was first proposed, the use of a rocker-bogie suspension was the obvious choice due to its extensive heritage. The challenge posed by MER was to design a lightweight rocker-bogie suspension that would permit the mobility to stow within the limited space available and deploy into a configuration that the rover could then safely use to egress from the lander and explore the Martian surface. This paper will describe how the MER rocker-bogie suspension subsystem was able to meet these conflicting design requirements while highlighting the variety of deployment and latch mechanisms employed in the design.

  1. Operation and performance of the mars exploration rover imaging system on the martian surface

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maki, J.N.; Litwin, T.; Schwochert, M.; Herkenhoff, K.

    2005-01-01

    The Imaging System on the Mars Exploration Rovers has successfully operated on the surface of Mars for over one Earth year. The acquisition of hundreds of panoramas and tens of thousands of stereo pairs has enabled the rovers to explore Mars at a level of detail unprecedented in the history of space exploration. In addition to providing scientific value, the images also play a key role in the daily tactical operation of the rovers. The mobile nature of the MER surface mission requires extensive use of the imaging system for traverse planning, rover localization, remote sensing instrument targeting, and robotic arm placement. Each of these activity types requires a different set of data compression rates, surface coverage, and image acquisition strategies. An overview of the surface imaging activities is provided, along with a summary of the image data acquired to date. ?? 2005 IEEE.

  2. The Preparation for and Execution of Engineering Operations for the Mars Curiosity Rover Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Samuels, Jessica A.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover mission is the most complex and scientifically packed rover that has ever been operated on the surface of Mars. The preparation leading up to the surface mission involved various tests, contingency planning and integration of plans between various teams and scientists for determining how operation of the spacecraft (s/c) would be facilitated. In addition, a focused set of initial set of health checks needed to be defined and created in order to ensure successful operation of rover subsystems before embarking on a two year science journey. This paper will define the role and responsibilities of the Engineering Operations team, the process involved in preparing the team for rover surface operations, the predefined engineering activities performed during the early portion of the mission, and the evaluation process used for initial and day to day spacecraft operational assessment.

  3. Mars Exploration Rovers 2004-2013: Evolving Operational Tactics Driven by Aging Robotic Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Townsend, Julie; Seibert, Michael; Bellutta, Paolo; Ferguson, Eric; Forgette, Daniel; Herman, Jennifer; Justice, Heather; Keuneke, Matthew; Sosland, Rebekah; Stroupe, Ashley; Wright, John

    2014-01-01

    Over the course of more than 10 years of continuous operations on the Martian surface, the operations team for the Mars Exploration Rovers has encountered and overcome many challenges. The twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, designed for a Martian surface mission of three months in duration, far outlived their life expectancy. Spirit explored for six years and Opportunity still operates and, in January 2014, celebrated the 10th anniversary of her landing. As with any machine that far outlives its design life, each rover has experienced a series of failures and degradations attributable to age, use, and environmental exposure. This paper reviews the failures and degradations experienced by the two rovers and the measures taken by the operations team to correct, mitigate, or surmount them to enable continued exploration and discovery.

  4. Ground Image Based High Precision Mars Rover Localization and Landing Site Mapping

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, R.; di, K.; Xu, F.; Matthies, L. H.; Olson, C. F.; Arvidson, R. E.

    2002-12-01

    High precision topographic information is critical to many landing site geological and engineering applications. Precise navigation and localization of the Mars rover is important both for its own safety as well as for its ability to accomplish engineering and scientific objectives as it traverses the Martian surface. Thus high precision landing site mapping and rover localization is very desirable for the support of future long-range rover missions such as the 600-meter to 1,000-meter traverse planned for the 2003 MER mission. We have developed algorithms and software for the integrated bundle adjustment of ground images. An incremental bundle adjustment model has also been developed that adjusts descent and rover images in a progressive process that results in increased computational efficiency. An innovative approach has been investigated for automatic feature extraction and tie-point selection based on interesting point filtering and image matching techniques. Two field tests were conducted (April 1999 and May 2000) at Silver Lake, CA. Various rover localization experiments were carried out. Using descent and rover images and either an integrated or incremental adjustment, rover localization accuracy of one percent was achieved of about 1m for a traverse length of 1km from the landing center. Experiment results also showed that if no descent images are available (as will be the case in the 2003 MER mission), it is still feasible to localize a rover using only rover images. In addition to using simulated descent and rover images, we tested our methods and software with actual Mars data - IMP lander (Imager for Mars Pathfinder) and rover images form 1997 Mars pathfinder mission. With the bundle adjustment, the image errors were reduced from several - tens of pixels to a sub-pixel level. This indicates that the bundle adjustment has improved the exterior orientation (EO) parameters significantly. Seamless DEM and orthoimage can then be generated using the improved

  5. Testing of the Mars Exploration Rovers to Survive the Extreme Thermal Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Man, Kin F.; Hoffman, Alan R.

    2007-01-01

    Both Rovers have celebrated 3-year anniversaries on surface of Mars: a) More than ten times design life; b) Planned and implemented rigorous assembly and system level test programs; c) Demonstrated robust thermal margins; d)Tested both in vacuum and Mars atmosphere; e) Planned and implemented thermal cycling life qualification program; f) Demonstrated survival in deep thermal diurnal cycling and seasonal temperature variations; and g) Both Rovers continue to explore and return valuable science data

  6. Surface Telerobotics: Development and Testing of a Crew Controlled Planetary Rover System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fong, Terry; Bualat, Maria; Allan, Mark B; Bouyssounouse, Xavier; Cohen, Tamar

    2013-01-01

    During Summer 2013, we conducted a series of tests to examine how astronauts in the In- ternational Space Station (ISS) can remotely operate a planetary rover. The tests simulated portions of a proposed mission, in which an astronaut in lunar orbit remotely operates a planetary rover to deploy a radio telescope on the lunar farside. In this paper, we present the design, implementation, and preliminary test results.

  7. Fast Optical Hazard Detection for Planetary Rovers Using Multiple Spot Laser Triangulation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matthies, L.; Balch, T.; Wilcox, B.

    1997-01-01

    A new laser-based optical sensor system that provides hazard detection for planetary rovers is presented. It is anticipated that the sensor can support safe travel at speeds up to 6cm/second for large (1m) rovers in full sunlight on Earth or Mars. The system overcomes limitations in an older design that require image differencing ot detect a laser stripe in full sun.

  8. Soil simulant sourcing for the ExoMars rover testbed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gouache, Thibault P.; Patel, Nildeep; Brunskill, Christopher; Scott, Gregory P.; Saaj, Chakravarthini M.; Matthews, Marcus; Cui, Liang

    2011-06-01

    ExoMars is the European Space Agency (ESA) mission to Mars planned for launch in 2018, focusing on exobiology with the primary objective of searching for any traces of extant or extinct carbon-based micro-organisms. The on-surface mission is performed by a near-autonomous mobile robotic vehicle (also referred to as the rover) with a mission design life of 180 sols (Patel et al., 2010). In order to obtain useful data on the tractive performance of the ExoMars rover before flight, it is necessary to perform mobility tests on representative soil simulant materials producing a Martian terrain analogue under terrestrial laboratory conditions. Three individual types of regolith shown to be found extensively on the Martian surface were identified for replication using commercially available terrestrial materials, sourced from UK sites in order to ensure easy supply and reduce lead times for delivery. These materials (also referred to as the Engineering Soil (ES-x) simulants) are: a fine dust analogue (ES-1); a fine aeolian sand analogue (ES-2); and a coarse sand analogue (ES-3). Following a detailed analysis, three fine sand regolith types were identified from commercially available products. Each material was used in its off-the-shelf state, except for ES-2, where further processing methods were used to reduce the particle size range. These materials were tested to determine their physical characteristics, including the particle size distribution, particle density, particle shape (including angularity/sphericity) and moisture content. The results are analysed to allow comparative analysis with existing soil simulants and the published results regarding in situ analysis of Martian soil on previous NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) missions. The findings have shown that in some cases material properties vary significantly from the specifications provided by material suppliers. This has confirmed the need for laboratory testing to determine the actual

  9. Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site Predictions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golombek, M. P.

    2005-05-01

    Comprehensive analyses of remote sensing data during the 3-year effort to select the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites at Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum correctly predicted the safe and trafficable surfaces explored by the two rovers. Gusev crater was predicted to be a relatively low relief surface that was comparably dusty, but less rocky than the Viking landing sites. Available data for Meridiani Planum indicated a very flat plain composed of basaltic sand to granules and hematite that would look completely unlike any of the existing landing sites with a dark, low albedo surface, little dust and very few rocks. Orbital thermal inertia measurements of 315 J m-2 s-0.5 K-1 at Gusev suggested surfaces dominated by duricrust to cemented soil-like materials or cohesionless sand or granules, which is consistent with observed soil characteristics and measured thermal inertias from the surface. THEMIS thermal inertias along the traverse at Gusev vary from 285 at the landing site to 330 around Bonneville rim and show systematic variations that can be related to the observed increase in rock abundance (5-30%). Meridiani has an orbital bulk inertia of ~200, similar to measured surface inertias that correspond to observed surfaces dominated by 0.2 mm sand size particles. Rock abundance derived from orbital thermal differencing techniques suggested that Meridiani Planum would have very low rock abundance, consistent with the rock free plain traversed by Opportunity. Spirit landed in an 8% orbital rock abundance pixel, consistent with the measured 7% of the surface covered by rocks >0.04 m diameter at the landing site, which is representative of the plains away from craters. The orbital albedo of the Spirit traverse varies from 0.19 to 0.30, consistent with surface measurements in and out of dust devil tracks. Opportunity is the first landing in a low albedo portion of Mars as seen from orbit, which is consistent with the dark, dust-free surface and measured albedos. The

  10. Landing site selection for the mars exploration rovers.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carr, M.; Adler, M.; Arvidson, R.; Crisp, J.; Grant, J.; Golombek, M.; Parker, T.; Squyres, S.

    2003-04-01

    In May and June of this year, the United States will launch two rovers that will land on Mars early in January and February of 2004. The main objective of these rovers is to better understand the role that water has played in the evolution of the surface by making observations on the surface at sites where past water activity is suspected. During the last two years a large number of potential landing sites has been evaluated with respect to landing safety and science potential. At the time of writing the number of potential sites had been narrowed to four: Meridiani, Gusev, Isidis and Elysium. The Meridiani site (2.1S, 6.1W) is located within the highlands at a site where TES spectra indicate the presence of coarse-grained hematite, a mineral that was likely precipitated from water in either a lacustrine or hydrothermal environment. The hematite is in a low albedo unit draped over heavily cratered terrain which appears to be exposed on local highs such as crater rims. The Gusev landing site (14.8S, 184.8W) is in the middle of the floor of the 150 km diameter crater Gusev, the southern rim of which is breached by a large channel Ma'adim Vallis. Water from Ma’adim likely pooled and deposited sediments within the crater in late Noachian times, and the site appears to have been subsequently modified by impacts, wind and possibly volcanism. The Isidis site (4.3N, 272W) is located within the Isidis basin just to the north of the basin's southern rim. Fluvial valleys are common between the massifs of the rim. The site was chosen based on an interpretation that the site is on an alluvial fan comprised of ancient highland materials derived from the highland front. The three above site were chosen because of their science interest and because all appeared to satisfy the engineering requirements. Concern about turbulence and horizontal winds at the sites led to the choice of a site with minimal winds according to circulation models. This is the Elysium site (11.9N, 236.1W

  11. A Mars orbital laser altimeter for rover trafficability: Instrument concept and science potential

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Garvin, J. B.; Zuber, M. T.

    1988-01-01

    Limited information on the types of geologic hazards (boulders, troughs, craters etc.) that will affect rover trafficability on Mars are available for the two Viking Lander sites, and there are no prospects for increasing this knowledge base in the near future. None of the instrument payloads on the upcoming Mars Observer or Soviet PHOBOS missions can directly measure surface obstacles on the scales of concern for rover safety (a few meters). Candidate instruments for the Soviet Mars 92 orbiter/balloon/rover mission such as balloon-borne stereo imaging, rover panoramic imaging, and orbital synthetic aperature imaging (SAR) are under discussion, but data from this mission may not be available for target areas of interest for the U.S. Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission. In an effort to determine how to directly measure the topography of surface obstacles that could affect rover trafficability on Mars, we are studying how to design a laser altimeter with extremely high spatial and vertical resolution that would be suitable for a future Mars Orbiter spacecraft (MRSR precursor or MRSR orbiter). This report discusses some of the design issues associated with such an instrument, gives examples of laser altimeter data collected for Mars analog terrains on Earth, and outlines the scientific potential of data that could be obtained with the system.

  12. Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Felder, Michael; Nesnas, Issa A.; Pivtoraiko, Mihail; Kelly, Alonzo; Volpe, Richard

    2011-01-01

    Exploring planetary surfaces typically involves traversing challenging and unknown terrain and acquiring in-situ measurements at designated locations using arm-mounted instruments. We present field results for a new implementation of an autonomous capability that enables a rover to traverse and precisely place an arm-mounted instrument on remote targets. Using point-and-click mouse commands, a scientist designates targets in the initial imagery acquired from the rover's mast cameras. The rover then autonomously traverse the rocky terrain for a distance of 10 - 15 m, tracks the target(s) of interest during the traverse, positions itself for approaching the target, and then precisely places an arm-mounted instrument within 2-3 cm from the originally designated target. The rover proceeds to acquire science measurements with the instrument. This work advances what has been previously developed and integrated on the Mars Exploration Rovers by using algorithms that are capable of traversing more rock-dense terrains, enabling tight thread-the-needle maneuvers. We integrated these algorithms on the newly refurbished Athena Mars research rover and fielded them in the JPL Mars Yard. We conducted 43 runs with targets at distances ranging from 5 m to 15 m and achieved a success rate of 93% for placement of the instrument within 2-3 cm.

  13. Topographic Mapping and Rover Localization in MER 2003 Mission Landing Sites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, R.; di, K.; Matthies, L.; Maimone, M.; Arvidson, R.; Crumpler, L.; Xu, F.; Wang, J.; Niu, X.; Serafy, C.; Ming, D.; Richter, L.; Marais, D.; Golombek, M.; Squyres, S.; Johnson, J.; Bell, J.; Maki, J.; Malin, M.; Parker, T.; Edwards, L.; Sims, M.; Wang, A.; Garvin, J.; Soderblom, L.

    2004-05-01

    This presentation illustrates results of topographic mapping and rover localization in Spirit and Opportunity landing sites. MOC/NA images, DIMES descent images, and surface Pancam and Navcam images are used to map regional and local topographic features of the landing sites. A new bundle adjustment method builds an image network with improved visual odometric data to supply enhance pointing data that are essential for high accuracy mapping and rover localization. Special 3D mapping products of the crater where Opportunity spacecraft landed are produced first time using rover images acquired from inside of a planetary crater. Traverse maps will show the comparison result of rover positions computed from the rover telemetry data with those from the image-based localization method. Analysis of the differences will be performed considering wheel slippage, IMU drift, and other factors. High quality topographic mapping products such as orthoimage base maps, 3D digital terrain models, and 3D interactive viewing tools are developed to support a series of mission operations and outreach activities, including long term science planning, rover path planning, geological mapping, wheel track property investigation, rock distribution estimation, crater modeling, and TV simulation scenes.

  14. 1999 Marsokhod Field Experiment: A Simulation of a Mars Rover Science Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, C.; Cabrol, N.; Roush, T.; Gulick, V.; Hovde, G.; Moersch, J.

    1999-01-01

    A field experiment to simulate a rover mission to Mars was performed in February 1999. This experiment, the latest in a series of rover field experiments, was designed to demonstrate and validate technologies and investigation strategies for high-science, high-technology performance, and cost-effective planetary rover operations. Objectives: The experiment objectives were to: (1) train scientists in a mission configuration relevant to Surveyor program rover missions at a terrestrial analog field site simulating the criteria of high-priority candidate landing-sites on Mars; (2) develop optimal exploration strategies; (3) evaluate the effectiveness of imaging and spectroscopy in addressing science objectives; (4) assess the value and limitation of descent imaging in supporting rover operations; and (5) evaluate the ability of a science team to correctly interpret the geology of the field site using rover observations. A field site in the California Mojave Desert was chosen for its relevance to the criteria for landing site selection for the Mars Surveyor program. These criteria are: (1) evidence of past water activity; (2) presence of a mechanism to concentrate life; (3) presence of thermal energy sources; (4) evidence of rapid burial; and (5) excavation mechanisms that could expose traces of life.

  15. Robotic Lunar Rover Technologies and SEI Supporting Technologies at Sandia National Laboratories

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klarer, Paul R.

    1992-01-01

    Existing robotic rover technologies at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) can be applied toward the realization of a robotic lunar rover mission in the near term. Recent activities at the SNL-RVR have demonstrated the utility of existing rover technologies for performing remote field geology tasks similar to those envisioned on a robotic lunar rover mission. Specific technologies demonstrated include low-data-rate teleoperation, multivehicle control, remote site and sample inspection, standard bandwidth stereo vision, and autonomous path following based on both internal dead reckoning and an external position location update system. These activities serve to support the use of robotic rovers for an early return to the lunar surface by demonstrating capabilities that are attainable with off-the-shelf technology and existing control techniques. The breadth of technical activities at SNL provides many supporting technology areas for robotic rover development. These range from core competency areas and microsensor fabrication facilities, to actual space qualification of flight components that are designed and fabricated in-house.

  16. Static Aerodynamics of the Mars Exploration Rover Entry Capsule

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schoenenberger, Mark; Cheatwood, F. McNeil; Desai, Prasun

    2005-01-01

    The static aerodynamics for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) aeroshell are presented. This aerodynamic database was an integral part of the end-to-end simulation used in pre- entry analysis for determining the MER entry design requirements for development of the MER entry system, as well as targeting the MER landing sites. The database was constructed using the same approach used for Mars Pathfinder (MPF). However, the MER aerodynamic database is of much higher fidelity and tailored to the MER entry trajectories. This set of data includes direct simulation Monte Carlo calculations covering the transitional regime of the entry trajectory and computational fluid dynamics calculations describing the aerodynamics in the hypersonic and supersonic continuum regimes. An overview of the methodology used to generate the data is given along with comparisons to important features in the MPF aerodynamics and related heritage data. The MER and MPF comparison indicates that trajectory specific data is required to properly model the flight characteristics of a.blunt entry capsule at Mars.

  17. Distributed Evaluation Functions for Fault Tolerant Multi-Rover Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Agogino, Adrian; Turner, Kagan

    2005-01-01

    The ability to evolve fault tolerant control strategies for large collections of agents is critical to the successful application of evolutionary strategies to domains where failures are common. Furthermore, while evolutionary algorithms have been highly successful in discovering single-agent control strategies, extending such algorithms to multiagent domains has proven to be difficult. In this paper we present a method for shaping evaluation functions for agents that provide control strategies that both are tolerant to different types of failures and lead to coordinated behavior in a multi-agent setting. This method neither relies of a centralized strategy (susceptible to single point of failures) nor a distributed strategy where each agent uses a system wide evaluation function (severe credit assignment problem). In a multi-rover problem, we show that agents using our agent-specific evaluation perform up to 500% better than agents using the system evaluation. In addition we show that agents are still able to maintain a high level of performance when up to 60% of the agents fail due to actuator, communication or controller faults.

  18. Aeolian Processes at the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Landing Site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sullivan, R.; Bell, J. F., III; Calvin, W.; Fike, D.; Golombek, M.; Greeley, R.; Grotzinger, J.; Herkenhoff, K.; Jerolmack, D.; Malin, M.

    2005-01-01

    The traverse of the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity across its Meridiani Planum landing site has shown that wind has affected regolith by creating drifts, dunes, and ubiquitous ripples, by sorting grains during aeolian transport, by forming bright wind streaks downwind from craters seen from orbit, and by eroding rock with abrading, wind-blown material. Pre-landing orbiter observations showed bright and dark streaks tapering away from craters on the Meridiani plains. Further analysis of orbiter images shows that major dust storms can cause bright streak orientations in the area to alternate between NW and SE, implying bright wind streak materials encountered by Opportunity are transient, potentially mobilized deposits. Opportunity performed the first in situ investigation of a martian wind streak, focusing on a bright patch of material just outside the rim of Eagle crater. Data from Pancam, the Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES), the Alpha-Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS), and the Mossbauer spectrometer either are consistent with or permit an air fall dust interpretation. We conclude that air fall dust, deposited in the partial wind shadow of Eagle crater, is responsible for the bright streak seen from orbit, consistent with models involving patchy, discontinuous deposits of air fall dust distributed behind obstacles during periods of atmospheric thermal stability during major dust storms.

  19. Crystal Water on Mars: Insights from the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Clark, B. C.

    2007-01-01

    The purpose of this paper is to constrain the total water contents from crystal H2O and OH in several materials analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). Crystal H2O is part of the unit cell and cannot be removed without changing the structure. Minerals that contain only OH in their structures are anhydrous minerals containing hydroxyls, although they are formed as a product of aqueous activity and will decompose with evolution of H2O when heated. The crystal water and OH contents of a bulk material at the MER landing sites can be estimated from mineralogical composition, which is determined by a combination of Fe-mineralogy obtained by the Mossbauer Spectrometer and mineral abundances based upon the chemical composition determined by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer. Jarosite, along with Ca- and Mg-sulfates, have been suggested as the sulfur-bearing phases in Meridiani Planum outcrop. Models of various hydration states of Fe-, Ca-, and Mg-sulfates and other possible secondary phases suggest that 6 to 22 wt.% of the outcrop may occur as crystal H2O and/or OH (Clark et al., 2005). This estimate of water is consistent with measurements from the Odyssey orbiter, where 7 % H2O-equivalent H was measured down to a depth of approximately 1 m for the region (Feldman et al., 2004).

  20. Efficient Evaluation Functions for Multi-Rover Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Agogino, Adrian; Tumer, Kagan

    2004-01-01

    Evolutionary computation can be a powerful tool in cresting a control policy for a single agent receiving local continuous input. This paper extends single-agent evolutionary computation to multi-agent systems, where a collection of agents strives to maximize a global fitness evaluation function that rates the performance of the entire system. This problem is solved in a distributed manner, where each agent evolves its own population of neural networks that are used as the control policies for the agent. Each agent evolves its population using its own agent-specific fitness evaluation function. We propose to create these agent-specific evaluation functions using the theory of collectives to avoid the coordination problem where each agent evolves a population that maximizes its own fitness function, yet the system has a whole achieves low values of the global fitness function. Instead we will ensure that each fitness evaluation function is both "aligned" with the global evaluation function and is "learnable," i.e., the agents can readily see how their behavior affects their evaluation function. We then show how these agent-specific evaluation functions outperform global evaluation methods by up to 600% in a domain where a set of rovers attempt to maximize the amount of information observed while navigating through a simulated environment.

  1. Design and operation of the Rover vacuum system

    SciTech Connect

    Wagner, E.P. Jr.; Griffith, D.L.; Rivera, J.M.

    1997-08-01

    The Rover process for recovering unused uranium from graphite fuels was operated during 1983 and 1984, and then shut down in 1984. The first steps of the process used fluidized alumina beds to burn away the graphite and produce a uranium bearing ash. The ash was then transferred to a different process cell for acid dissolution. At the time of shutdown, a significant, but unmeasureable, quantity of highly enriched uranium was left in the process vessels. Normal decontamination procedures could not be used due to plugged process lines and the exclusion of moderator materials (water or finely divided organic substances) for criticality safety. The presence of highly enriched uranium in poorly defined quantity and configuration led to concerns for criticality safety, nuclear materials accountability, and physical security. A project was established to eliminate these concerns by cleaning and/or removing the process vessels, piping, and cells and sending the recovered Uranium Bearing Material (UBM) to secure storage. A key element of this project was the design of a system for collecting and transporting dry solids to a location where they could be loaded into critically favorable storage cans.

  2. Ballistic Range Testing of the Mars Exploration Rover Entry Capsule

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schoenenberger, Mark; Hathaway, Wayne; Yates, Leslie; Desai, Prasun

    2005-01-01

    Results from a 25 shot ballistic range test of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) aeroshell are presented. The supersonic pitch damping properties of the MER capsule were characterized between Mach = 1.5 and Mach = 3.5 and total angles-of-attack from 0 degrees to greater than 25 degrees. Three capsule center-of-gravity positions were tested across this range of conditions, 0.27, 0.30 and 0.33 body diameters aft of the nose. Parameter identification results show that the capsule is dynamically unstable at low angles-of-attack across the Mach numbers tested, with instability increasing with lower speeds. This dynamic instability was seen to increase with aft center-of-gravity movement. The MER outer mold line was very similar to the successful Mars Pathfinder capsule with only minor modifications. Pathfinder relied on Viking forced oscillation data for preflight predictions. The pitch damping data calculated from this test program are shown to more accurately reproduce the measured Path finder flight data.

  3. Navigation and EDL for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Watkins, Michael M.; Han, Dongsuk

    2006-01-01

    A viewgraph presentation on Deep Space Navigation, and Entry, Decent, and Landing (EDL) for Mars Exploration Rovers is shown. The contents include: 1) JPL Spacecraft Operating across the Solar System; 2) 2003 - 2004: The Busiest Period in JPL's History; 3) Deep Space Navigation Will Enable Many of the New NASA Missions; 4) What Exactly is Navigation vs. GNC for Deep Space?; 5) Cruise and Approach: Why is Deep Space Navigation So Difficult?; 6) Project Importance of GNC: Landing Site Selection; 7) Planetary Communications and Tracking; 8) Tracking Data Types; 9) Delta Differential One-Way Range (deltaDOR); 10) All Solutions Leading up to TCM-4 Design; 11) Entry Flight Path Sensitivities; 12) MER Navigation Results; 13) Atmospheric Entry Targeting and Delivery; 14) Landing Ellipse Orientation; 15) MER Landing Site Trade Example; 16) Entry, Descent and Landing: Entry Guidance or What Things Do We NOT do for MER Landings (but we will later...); 17) Entering Martian Space 8:29 p.m. PST (ERT); 18) Entry, Descent and Landing; 19) Entry, Descent and Landing: Terminal Guidance; 20) The Challenge Going from 12,000 mph to Zero in Less Than Six Minutes; 21) Spirit Landing Location; 22) Entry, Descent and Landing: The Future; 23) Powered Descent Time-Line; and 24) Updated Sky Crane Maneuver Description. A short summary is also given on planetary guidance, navigation and control as it pertains to EDL systems

  4. Robust, Flexible Motion Control for the Mars Explorer Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Maimone, Mark; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey

    2007-01-01

    The Mobility Flight Software, running on computers aboard the Mars Explorer Rover (MER) robotic vehicles Spirit and Opportunity, affords the robustness and flexibility of control to enable safe and effective operation of these vehicles in traversing natural terrain. It can make the vehicles perform specific maneuvers commanded from Earth, and/or can autonomously administer multiple aspects of mobility, including choice of motion, measurement of actual motion, and even selection of targets to be approached. Motion of a vehicle can be commanded by use of multiple layers of control, ranging from motor control at a low level, direct drive operations (e.g., motion along a circular arc, motion along a straight line, or turn in place) at an intermediate level to goal-position driving (that is, driving to a specified location) at a high level. The software can also perform high-level assessment of terrain and selection of safe paths across the terrain: this involves processing of the digital equivalent of a local traversability map generated from images acquired by stereoscopic pairs of cameras aboard the vehicles. Other functions of the software include interacting with the rest of the MER flight software and performing safety checks.

  5. Improving Planetary Rover Attitude Estimation via MEMS Sensor Characterization

    PubMed Central

    Hidalgo, Javier; Poulakis, Pantelis; Köhler, Johan; Del-Cerro, Jaime; Barrientos, Antonio

    2012-01-01

    Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) are currently being considered in the space sector due to its suitable level of performance for spacecrafts in terms of mechanical robustness with low power consumption, small mass and size, and significant advantage in system design and accommodation. However, there is still a lack of understanding regarding the performance and testing of these new sensors, especially in planetary robotics. This paper presents what is missing in the field: a complete methodology regarding the characterization and modeling of MEMS sensors with direct application. A reproducible and complete approach including all the intermediate steps, tools and laboratory equipment is described. The process of sensor error characterization and modeling through to the final integration in the sensor fusion scheme is explained with detail. Although the concept of fusion is relatively easy to comprehend, carefully characterizing and filtering sensor information is not an easy task and is essential for good performance. The strength of the approach has been verified with representative tests of novel high-grade MEMS inertia sensors and exemplary planetary rover platforms with promising results. PMID:22438761

  6. Improving planetary rover attitude estimation via MEMS sensor characterization.

    PubMed

    Hidalgo, Javier; Poulakis, Pantelis; Köhler, Johan; Del-Cerro, Jaime; Barrientos, Antonio

    2012-01-01

    Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) are currently being considered in the space sector due to its suitable level of performance for spacecrafts in terms of mechanical robustness with low power consumption, small mass and size, and significant advantage in system design and accommodation. However, there is still a lack of understanding regarding the performance and testing of these new sensors, especially in planetary robotics. This paper presents what is missing in the field: a complete methodology regarding the characterization and modeling of MEMS sensors with direct application. A reproducible and complete approach including all the intermediate steps, tools and laboratory equipment is described. The process of sensor error characterization and modeling through to the final integration in the sensor fusion scheme is explained with detail. Although the concept of fusion is relatively easy to comprehend, carefully characterizing and filtering sensor information is not an easy task and is essential for good performance. The strength of the approach has been verified with representative tests of novel high-grade MEMS inertia sensors and exemplary planetary rover platforms with promising results. PMID:22438761

  7. PRoViScout: a planetary scouting rover demonstrator

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paar, Gerhard; Woods, Mark; Gimkiewicz, Christiane; Labrosse, Frédéric; Medina, Alberto; Tyler, Laurence; Barnes, David P.; Fritz, Gerald; Kapellos, Konstantinos

    2012-01-01

    Mobile systems exploring Planetary surfaces in future will require more autonomy than today. The EU FP7-SPACE Project ProViScout (2010-2012) establishes the building blocks of such autonomous exploration systems in terms of robotics vision by a decision-based combination of navigation and scientific target selection, and integrates them into a framework ready for and exposed to field demonstration. The PRoViScout on-board system consists of mission management components such as an Executive, a Mars Mission On-Board Planner and Scheduler, a Science Assessment Module, and Navigation & Vision Processing modules. The platform hardware consists of the rover with the sensors and pointing devices. We report on the major building blocks and their functions & interfaces, emphasizing on the computer vision parts such as image acquisition (using a novel zoomed 3D-Time-of-Flight & RGB camera), mapping from 3D-TOF data, panoramic image & stereo reconstruction, hazard and slope maps, visual odometry and the recognition of potential scientifically interesting targets.

  8. Modeling and matching of landmarks for automation of Mars Rover localization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, Jue

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, begun in January 2004, has been extremely successful. However, decision-making for many operation tasks of the current MER mission and the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission is performed on Earth through a predominantly manual, time-consuming process. Unmanned planetary rover navigation is ideally expected to reduce rover idle time, diminish the need for entering safe-mode, and dynamically handle opportunistic science events without required communication to Earth. Successful automation of rover navigation and localization during the extraterrestrial exploration requires that accurate position and attitude information can be received by a rover and that the rover has the support of simultaneous localization and mapping. An integrated approach with Bundle Adjustment (BA) and Visual Odometry (VO) can efficiently refine the rover position. However, during the MER mission, BA is done manually because of the difficulty in the automation of the cross-sitetie points selection. This dissertation proposes an automatic approach to select cross-site tie points from multiple rover sites based on the methods of landmark extraction, landmark modeling, and landmark matching. The first step in this approach is that important landmarks such as craters and rocks are defined. Methods of automatic feature extraction and landmark modeling are then introduced. Complex models with orientation angles and simple models without those angles are compared. The results have shown that simple models can provide reasonably good results. Next, the sensitivity of different modeling parameters is analyzed. Based on this analysis, cross-site rocks are matched through two complementary stages: rock distribution pattern matching and rock model matching. In addition, a preliminary experiment on orbital and ground landmark matching is also briefly introduced. Finally, the reliability of the cross-site tie points selection is validated by fault detection, which

  9. Validation of Artemis Mobility Simulations for the Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity Mars Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stein, N.; Arvidson, R. E.; Heverly, M.; Lindemann, R.; Trease, B.; Iagnemma, K.; Senatore, C.

    2013-12-01

    Artemis is a framework for modeling the dynamical motions of rovers over realistic planetary terrains that include topography generated from orbital or rover-based data and interactions of driven wheels with deformable soils with compaction resistance due to wheel sinkage into soils (Bekker-Wong-Reece model) or with hard-surface contacts dominated by static and dynamic coefficients of friction (contact model). Artemis is being used to simulate flight-based drives for the Mars Exploration Rovers (Spirit, Opportunity) and Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity). Critical to realistic simulations is validation of the models by comparison and registration to single-wheel tests in the laboratory using spare flight wheels and testing of rover drives on various surfaces on Earth. In this abstract we report results from modeling test rover drives on deformable soil and hard surfaces. First, a MER test rover was driven over a tilted hard-surfaced plane covered with high friction paint, with separate runs with tilts ranging from 0 to 20 degrees. The Artemis contact model with static and dynamic coefficients of friction of 0.780 and 0.580 reproduced the runs in a manner in which the tests and models were shown to be statistically indistinguishable. Second, the MSL Test Rover was driven over bedrock plates with slopes ranging from 0 to 30 degrees, and Artemis successfully modeled these runs with static and dynamic coefficients of friction of 0.577 and 0.450, respectively. The MSL Test Rover simulations yielded low, linearly increasing slip between 0% and 15% on slopes ranging from 0 to 20 deg, increasing nonlinearly to nearly 100% on the 30 degree slope. Third, both the MER and MSL Test Rovers were deployed to the Dumont Dunes in the Mojave Desert to do side-by-side runs up dune slopes with tilts ranging from 0 to 15 degrees. Test runs and Artemis (Bekker-Wong-Reece model) results are comparable in terms of wheel sinkages and slippage values. Uphill drives led to non

  10. Pathfinder Lander Rover Recharge System, and MARCO POLO Controls and ACME Regolith Feed System Controls and Integration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tran, Sarah Diem

    2015-01-01

    This project stems from the Exploration, Research, and Technology Directorate (UB) Projects Division, and one of their main initiatives is the "Journey to Mars". Landing on the surface of Mars which is millions of miles away is an incredibly large challenge. The terrain is covered in boulders, deep canyons, volcanic mountains, and spotted with sand dunes. The robotic lander is a kind of spacecraft with multiple purposes. One purpose is to be the protective shell for the Martian rover and absorb the impact from the landing forces; another purpose is to be a place where the rovers can come back to, actively communicate with, and recharge their batteries from. Rovers have been instrumental to the Journey to Mars initiative. They have been performing key research on the terrain of the red planet, trying to unlock the mysteries of the land for over a decade. The rovers that will need charging will not all have the same kind of internal battery either. RASSOR batteries may differ from the PbAC batteries inside Red Rover's chassis. NASA has invested heavily in the exploration of the surface of Mars. A driving force behind further exploration is the need for a more efficient operation of Martian rovers. One way is to reduce the weight as much as possible to reduce power consumption given the same mission parameters. In order to reduce the mass of the rovers, power generation, communication, and sample analysis systems currently onboard Martian rovers can be moved to a stationary lander deck. Positioning these systems from the rover to the Lander deck allows a taskforce of smaller, lighter rovers to perform the same tasks currently performed by or planned for larger rovers. A major task in transferring these systems to a stationary lander deck is ensuring that power can be transferred to the rovers.

  11. Mars Lander/Rover vehicle development: An advanced space design project for USRA and NASA/OAST

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

    The results of the studies on one particular part of the Mars Lander/Rover (MLR) system are contained: the Balloon Rover. This component vehicle was selected for further research and design because of the lack of technical literature on this subject, as compared to surface rover technology. Landing site selection; balloon system development and deployment; optics and communications; and the payload power supply are described.

  12. Assessment of Spatial Navigation and Docking Performance During Simulated Rover Tasks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, S. J.; Dean, S. L.; De Dios, Y. E.; Moore, S. T.

    2010-01-01

    INTRODUCTION: Following long-duration exploration transits, pressurized rovers will enhance surface mobility to explore multiple sites across Mars and other planetary bodies. Multiple rovers with docking capabilities are envisioned to expand the range of exploration. However, adaptive changes in sensorimotor and cognitive function may impair the crew s ability to safely navigate and perform docking tasks shortly after transition to the new gravitoinertial environment. The primary goal of this investigation is to quantify post-flight decrements in spatial navigation and docking performance during a rover simulation. METHODS: Eight crewmembers returning from the International Space Station will be tested on a motion simulator during four pre-flight and three post-flight sessions over the first 8 days following landing. The rover simulation consists of a serial presentation of discrete tasks to be completed within a scheduled 10 min block. The tasks are based on navigating around a Martian outpost spread over a 970 sq m terrain. Each task is subdivided into three components to be performed as quickly and accurately as possible: (1) Perspective taking: Subjects use a joystick to indicate direction of target after presentation of a map detailing current orientation and location of the rover with the task to be performed. (2) Navigation: Subjects drive the rover to the desired location while avoiding obstacles. (3) Docking: Fine positioning of the rover is required to dock with another object or align a camera view. Overall operator proficiency will be based on how many tasks the crewmember can complete during the 10 min time block. EXPECTED RESULTS: Functionally relevant testing early post-flight will develop evidence regarding the limitations to early surface operations and what countermeasures are needed. This approach can be easily adapted to a wide variety of simulated vehicle designs to provide sensorimotor assessments for other operational and civilian populations.

  13. Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nesnas, Issa A.; Pivtoraiko, Mihail N.; Kelly, Alonzo; Fleder, Michael

    2012-01-01

    This software controls a rover platform to traverse rocky terrain autonomously, plan paths, and avoid obstacles using its stereo hazard and navigation cameras. It does so while continuously tracking a target of interest selected from 10 20 m away. The rover drives and tracks the target until it reaches the vicinity of the target. The rover then positions itself to approach the target, deploys its robotic arm, and places the end effector instrument on the designated target to within 2-3-cm accuracy of the originally selected target. This software features continuous navigation in a fairly rocky field in an outdoor environment and the ability to enable the rover to avoid large rocks and traverse over smaller ones. Using point-and-click mouse commands, a scientist designates targets in the initial imagery acquired from the rover s mast cameras. The navigation software uses stereo imaging, traversability analysis, path planning, trajectory generation, and trajectory execution. It also includes visual target tracking of a designated target selected from 10 m away while continuously navigating the rocky terrain. Improvements in this design include steering while driving, which uses continuous curvature paths. There are also several improvements to the traversability analyzer, including improved data fusion of traversability maps that result from pose estimation uncertainties, dealing with boundary effects to enable tighter maneuvers, and handling a wider range of obstacles. This work advances what has been previously developed and integrated on the Mars Exploration Rovers by using algorithms that are capable of traversing more rock-dense terrains, enabling tight, thread-the-needle maneuvers. These algorithms were integrated on the newly refurbished Athena Mars research rover, and were fielded in the JPL Mars Yard. Forty-three runs were conducted with targets at distances ranging from 5 to 15 m, and a success rate of 93% was achieved for placement of the instrument within

  14. New planetary rovers for long-range Mars science and sample return

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schenker, Paul S.; Baumgartner, Eric T.; Lindemann, Randall A.; Aghazarian, H.; Zhu, David Q.; Ganino, A. J.; Sword, Lee F.; Garrett, M. S.; Kennedy, Brett A.; Hickey, G. S.; Lai, A. S.; Matthies, Larry H.; Hoffman, B. D.; Huntsberger, Terrance L.

    1998-10-01

    There are significant international efforts underway to place mobile robots (`rovers') on the surface of Mars. This follows on the recent successful NASA Mars Pathfinder flight of summer 1997. In that mission, the 11+ Kg Sojourner rover explored a small 50 meter locale about its lander over a several week period. Future planned science missions of the Mars Surveyor Program are more aggressive, seeking to autonomously survey planetary climate, life and resources over multiple kilometers and many months duration. These missions will also retrieve collected sample materials back to a Mars Ascent Vehicle for more detailed analysis on Earth. In support of these future missions we are developing and field testing new rover technology concepts. We first overview the design and initial operations of SRR-1 (Sample Return Rover), a novel 10 kg-class four wheel, hybrid composite-metal vehicle for rapid (10 - 30 cm/sec) autonomous location, rendezvous, and retrieval of collected samples under integrated visual and beacon guidance. SRR is a light 88 X 55 X 36 (LWH) cm3 vehicle collapsing to less than one third its deployed field volume, and carrying a powerful, visually-servoed all-composite manipulator. We then sketch development of the FIDO rover (Field Integrated Design and Operations), a new 50+ kg, six wheel, approximately 100 X 80 X 50 (LWH) cm3, high mobility, multi-km range science vehicle which includes mast-mounted multi-spectral stereo, bore-sighted IR point spectrometer, robot arm with attached microscope, and body- mounted rock sampling corer. Currently in integration phase, FIDO rover will first be tested in September, 1998, `MarsYard (JPL)' operations, followed by CY99 full-scale terrestrial field simulations of a planned Mars '03 multi- kilometer roving mission (Athena-based science rover payload), demonstrating remote science selection, autonomous navigation, in situ sample analysis, and robotic sample collection functions.

  15. Modeling and Simulation of the Dynamics of Dissipative, Inelastic Spheres with Applications to Planetary Rovers and Gravitational Billiards

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hartl, Alexandre E.

    This dissertation provides a thorough treatment on the dynamic modeling and simulation of spherical objects, and its applications to planetary rovers and gravitational billiards. First, the equations governing the motion of a wind-driven spherical rover are developed, and a numerical procedure for their implementation is shown. Dynamic simulations (considering the Earth and Mars atmospheres) for several terrain types and conditions illustrate how a rover may maneuver across flat terrain, channels and craters. The effects of aerodynamic forces on the rover's motion is studied. The results show the wind force may both push and hinder the rover's motion while sliding, rolling and bouncing. The rover will periodically transition between these modes of movement when the rover impacts sloped surfaces. Combinations of rolling and bouncing may be a more effective means of transport for a rover traveling through a channel when compared to rolling alone. The aerodynamic effects, of drag and the Magnus force, are contributing factors to the possible capture of the rover by a crater. Next, a strategy is formulated for creating randomized Martian rock fields based on statistical models, where the rover's interactions with these fields are analyzed. Novel procedures for creating randomized Martian rock fields are presented, where optimization techniques allow terrain generation to coincide with the rover's motion. Efficient collision detection routines reduce the number of tests of potential collisions between the rover and the terrain while establishing new contact constraints. The procedures allow for the exploration of large regions of terrain while minimizing computational costs. Simulations demonstrate that bouncing is the rover's dominant mode of travel through the rock fields. Monte-Carlo simulations illustrate how the rover's down-range position depends on the rover design and atmospheric conditions. Moreover, the simulations verify the rover's capacity for long distance

  16. Preliminary Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site Predictions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golombek, M.; Grant, J.; Parker, T.; Crisp, J.; Squyres, S.; Carr, M.; Haldemann, A.; Arvidson, R.; Ehlmann, B.; Bell, J.

    2004-01-01

    Selection of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) landing sites took place over a three year period in which engineering constraints were identified, 155 possible sites were downselected to the final two, surface environments and safety considerations were developed, and the potential science return at the sites was considered. Landing sites in Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum were selected because they appeared acceptably safe for MER landing and roving and had strong morphologic and mineralogical indicators of liquid water in their past and thus appeared capable of addressing the science objectives of the MER missions, which are to determine the aqueous, climatic, and geologic history of sites on Mars where conditions may have been favorable to the preservation of evidence of possible pre-biotic or biotic processes. Engineering constraints important to the selection included: latitude (10 N-15 S) for maximum solar power; elevation (<-1.3 km) for sufficient atmosphere to slow the lander; low horizontal winds, shear and turbulence in the last few kilometers to minimize horizontal velocity; low 10-m scale slopes to reduce airbag spinup and bounce; moderate rock abundance to reduce abrasion or stroke-out of the airbags; and a radar-reflective, load-bearing and trafficable surface safe for landing and roving that is not dominated by fine-grained dust. In selecting the MER landing sites these engineering constraints were addressed via comprehensive evaluation of surface and atmospheric characteristics from existing remote sensing data and models as well as targeted orbital information acquired from Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Odyssey. This evaluation resulted in a number of predictions of the surface characteristics of the sites, which are tested in this abstract. Relating remote sensing signatures to surface characteristics at landing sites allows these sites to be used as ground truth for the orbital data, is essential for selecting and validating landing sites for

  17. Molecular Microbial Analyses of the Mars Exploration Rovers Assembly Facility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Venkateswaran, Kasthuri; LaDuc, Myron T.; Newcombe, David; Kempf, Michael J.; Koke, John. A.; Smoot, James C.; Smoot, Laura M.; Stahl, David A.

    2004-01-01

    During space exploration, the control of terrestrial microbes associated with robotic space vehicles intended to land on extraterrestrial solar system bodies is necessary to prevent forward contamination and maintain scientific integrity during the search for life. Microorganisms associated with the spacecraft assembly environment can be a source of contamination for the spacecraft. In this study, we have monitored the microbial burden of air samples of the Mars Exploration Rovers' assembly facility at the Kennedy Space Center utilizing complementary diagnostic tools. To estimate the microbial burden and identify potential contaminants in the assembly facility, several microbiological techniques were used including culturing, cloning and sequencing of 16S rRNA genes, DNA microarray analysis, and ATP assays to assess viable microorganisms. Culturing severely underestimated types and amounts of contamination since many of the microbes implicated by molecular analyses were not cultivable. In addition to the cultivation of Agrobacterium, Burkholderia and Bacillus species, the cloning approach retrieved 16s rDNA sequences of oligotrophs, symbionts, and y-proteobacteria members. DNA microarray analysis based on rational probe design and dissociation curves complemented existing molecular techniques and produced a highly parallel, high resolution analysis of contaminating microbial populations. For instance, strong hybridization signals to probes targeting the Bacillus species indicated that members of this species were present in the assembly area samples; however, differences in dissociation curves between perfect-match and air sample sequences showed that these samples harbored nucleotide polymorphisms. Vegetative cells of several isolates were resistant when subjected to treatments of UVC (254 nm) and vapor H202 (4 mg/L). This study further validates the significance of non-cultivable microbes in association with spacecraft assembly facilities, as our analyses have

  18. Mars Exploration Rover Navigation Camera in-flight calibration

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Soderblom, J.M.; Bell, J.F., III; Johnson, J. R.; Joseph, J.; Wolff, M.J.

    2008-01-01

    The Navigation Camera (Navcam) instruments on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) spacecraft provide support for both tactical operations as well as scientific observations where color information is not necessary: large-scale morphology, atmospheric monitoring including cloud observations and dust devil movies, and context imaging for both the thermal emission spectrometer and the in situ instruments on the Instrument Deployment Device. The Navcams are a panchromatic stereoscopic imaging system built using identical charge-coupled device (CCD) detectors and nearly identical electronics boards as the other cameras on the MER spacecraft. Previous calibration efforts were primarily focused on providing a detailed geometric calibration in line with the principal function of the Navcams, to provide data for the MER navigation team. This paper provides a detailed description of a new Navcam calibration pipeline developed to provide an absolute radiometric calibration that we estimate to have an absolute accuracy of 10% and a relative precision of 2.5%. Our calibration pipeline includes steps to model and remove the bias offset, the dark current charge that accumulates in both the active and readout regions of the CCD, and the shutter smear. It also corrects pixel-to-pixel responsivity variations using flat-field images, and converts from raw instrument-corrected digital number values per second to units of radiance (W m-2 nm-1 sr-1), or to radiance factor (I/F). We also describe here the initial results of two applications where radiance-calibrated Navcam data provide unique information for surface photometric and atmospheric aerosol studies. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

  19. Quick Attach Docking Interface for Lunar Electric Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schuler, Jason M.; Nick, Andrew J.; Immer, Christopher; Mueller, Robert P.

    2010-01-01

    The NASA Lunar Electric Rover (LER) has been developed at Johnson Space Center as a next generation mobility platform. Based upon a twelve wheel omni-directional chassis with active suspension the LER introduces a number of novel capabilities for lunar exploration in both manned and unmanned scenarios. Besides being the primary vehicle for astronauts on the lunar surface, LER will perform tasks such as lunar regolith handling (to include dozing, grading, and excavation), equipment transport, and science operations. In an effort to support these additional tasks a team at the Kennedy Space Center has produced a universal attachment interface for LER known as the Quick Attach. The Quick Attach is a compact system that has been retro-fitted to the rear of the LER giving it the ability to dock and undock on the fly with various implements. The Quick Attach utilizes a two stage docking approach; the first is a mechanical mate which aligns and latches a passive set of hooks on an implement with an actuated cam surface on LER. The mechanical stage is tolerant to misalignment between the implement and the LER during docking and once the implement is captured a preload is applied to ensure a positive lock. The second stage is an umbilical connection which consists of a dust resistant enclosure housing a compliant mechanism that is optionally actuated to mate electrical and fluid connections for suitable implements. The Quick Attach system was designed with the largest foreseen input loads considered including excavation operations and large mass utility attachments. The Quick Attach system was demonstrated at the Desert Research And Technology Studies (D-RA TS) field test in Flagstaff, AZ along with the lightweight dozer blade LANCE. The LANCE blade is the first implement to utilize the Quick Attach interface and demonstrated the tolerance, speed, and strength of the system in a lunar analog environment.

  20. Recent Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Squyres, S. W.

    2005-05-01

    Since arriving at the Columbia Hills, the Spirit rover's primary area of geologic investigation has been the West Spur of Husband Hill. Pancam images of West Spur rocks show morphology ranging from massive to finely layered. Microscopic Imager images show the rocks to be clastic in nature, with a substantial range in grain sizes. Grains vary from rounded to angular. Mini-TES data show little variability from one rock to the next, and the best fit to the IR spectral signature of the rocks is dominated by basaltic glass. The chemistry revealed by the APXS is broadly basaltic in nature, but substantially enhanced in P, S, Cl, and Br relative to plains rocks. Moessbauer data show that olivine is absent in West Spur rocks, and pyroxene signatures are weak. Fe oxides and oxyhydroxides are present. We interpret the rocks of the West Spur to be aqueously altered basaltic materials of volcaniclastic or impact origin. Since leaving the West Spur, Spirit has explored toward the northeast, higher onto Husband Hill. Loose rocks ("float") on the north flank of the hill are dominated by another poorly sorted clastic lithology that contains olivine and that has strikingly high abundances of Ti and P. Only a few bedrock outcrops have been identified on the main body of Husband Hill. All of these examined to date consist of a coarse-grained clastic rock dominated by basaltic chemistry and cemented by sulfate salts. Grain sizes range up to several mm, and sub-cm layering is present. Moessbauer data show pyroxene, olivine, and a high abundance of magnetite in the basaltic component. APXS data are consistent with the rock being up to 20 percent magnesium sulfate salts by mass, and microscopic images show a high degree of cementation by these salts.