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 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.

  14. 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.

  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 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

  6. 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

  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. 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.

  19. 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...

  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. 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.

  13. 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.

  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 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.

  16. 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.

  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. 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.

  8. 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.

  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.; 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. 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.

  2. 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.

  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. 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.

  5. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

  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. 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

  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. 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)

  11. 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

  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. 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.

  15. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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.

  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. 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

  2. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. 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.

  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. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  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. 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.

  2. 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.

  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. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  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. 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.

  19. 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).

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  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. 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

  20. 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.

  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. 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.

  8. 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 ...

  9. 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...

  10. 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.