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. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Rover localization results for the FIDO rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baumgartner, E. T.; Aghazarian, H.; Trebi-Ollennu, A.

    2001-01-01

    This paper describes the development of a two-tier state estimation approach for NASA/JPL's FIDO Rover that utilizes wheel odometry, inertial measurement sensors, and a sun sensor to generate accurate estimates of the rover's position and attitude throughout a rover traverse.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Rover Pre-Turn

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This image shows the view from the front hazard avoidance cameras on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit before the rover begins a crucial 3-point turn to face in a west direction and roll off the lander.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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)

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Rover, airbags, & surrounding rocks

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    This image of the Martian surface was taken by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) before sunset on July 4 (Sol 1), the spacecraft's first day on Mars. The airbags have been partially retracted, and portions the petal holding the undeployed rover Sojourner can be seen at lower left. The rock in the center of the image may be a future target for chemical analysis. The soil in the foreground has been disturbed by the movement of the airbags as they retracted.

    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.

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Williams, M. D.; De Young, 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.

    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.

  1. Autonomous Rovers for Mars Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, Corin; Bresina, John; Golden, Keith; Smith, David E.; Smith, Trey; Washington, Richard; Koga, Dennis (Technical Monitor)

    1999-01-01

    Rovers will play a critical role in the exploration of Mars. Near-term mission plans call for long traverses over unknown terrain, robust navigation and instrument placement, and reliable operations for extended periods of time. Longer-term missions may visit multiple science sites in a single day and perform opportunistic science data collection, as well as complex scouting, construction, and maintenance tasks in preparation for an eventual human presence. The Pathfinder mission demonstrated the potential for robotic Mars exploration but at the same time indicated the need for more rover autonomy. The highly ground-intensive control with infrequent communication and high latency limited the effectiveness of the Sojourner rover. When failures occurred, Sojourner often sat idle for extended periods of time, awaiting further commands from earth. In future missions, the tasks will be more complex and extended; hence there will be even more situations where things do not go exactly as planned. Significant advances in rover autonomy are needed to cope with increasing task complexity and greater execution uncertainty. Towards this end, we have designed an on-board executive architecture that incorporates robust operation, resource utilization, and failure recovery. In addition, we have designed ground tools to produce and refine contingent schedules that take advantage of the on-board architecture's flexible execution characteristics. Together, the on-board executive and the ground tools constitute an integrated rover autonomy architecture. This work draws from our experience with the Deep Space One autonomy experiment, with enhancements to ensure robust operation in the face of the unpredictable, complex environment that the rover will encounter on Mars. The rover autonomy architecture is currently being developed and deployed on the Marsokhod rover platform at NASA Ames Research Center. The capabilities of the rover autonomy architecture to support autonomous

  2. 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

  3. Circuit Boards on Rover 2

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2003-01-01

    April 15, 2003Prelaunch at Kennedy Space Center

    In the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility, technicians remove one of the circuit boards on the Mars Exploration Rover 2 (MER-2). To gain access to the spacecraft, its lander petals were reopened and its solar panels deployed. A concern arose during prelaunch testing regarding how the spacecraft interprets signals sent from its main computer to peripherals in the cruise stage, lander and small deep space transponder. The MER Mission consists of two identical rovers set to launch in June 2003. The problem will be fixed on both rovers.

  4. The Little Rover that Could

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    This image taken at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory shows a rover test drive up a manmade slope. The slope simulates one that the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity will face on Mars if it is sent commands to explore rock outcrop that lies farther into 'Endurance Crater.' Using sand, dirt and rocks, scientists and engineers at JPL constructed the overall platform of the slope at a 25-degree angle, with a 40-degree step in the middle. The test rover successfully descended and climbed the platform, adding confidence that Opportunity could cross a similar hurdle in Endurance Crater.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. Spirit Rover on 'Husband Hill'

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2006-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1: Location of Spirit

    Two Earth years ago, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit touched down in Gusev Crater. The rover marked its first Mars-year (687 Earth days) anniversary in November 2005. Shortly before Spirit's Martian anniversary, the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor acquired an image covering approximately 3 kilometers by 3 kilometers (1.9 miles by 1.9 miles) centered on the rover's location at that time in the 'Columbia Hills.'

    'Husband Hill,' the tallest in the range, is just below the center of the image. The image has a resolution of about 50 centimeters (1.6 feet) per pixel. North is up; illumination is from the left. The location is near 14.8 degrees south latitude, 184.6 degrees west longitude.

    The image was acquired on Nov. 2, 2005. A white box (see Figure 1) indicates the location of an excerpted portion on which the location of Spirit on that date is marked. Dr. Timothy J. Parker of the Mars Exploration Rover team at the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., confirmed the location of the rover in the image. The region toward the bottom of the image shows the area where the rover is currently headed. The large dark patch and other similar dark patches are accumulations of windblown sand and granules.

  8. 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).

  9. Mars Exploration Rover engineering cameras

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maki, J.N.; Bell, J.F.; 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.

  10. 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.

  11. Lunar Rover Drivetrain Development to TRL-6

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Visscher, P.; Edmundson, P.; Ghafoor, N.; Jones, H.; Kleinhenz, J.; Picard, M.

    2015-10-01

    The LRPDP and SPRP rovers are designed to provide high mobility and robustness in a lunar working environment and are compatible with various lunar surface activities. TRL-6 testing is scheduled for late 2015 on the rover drivetrain components.

  12. 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...

  13. Cassini-Huygens Mars Exploration Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Liepack, Otfrid G.

    2006-01-01

    A viewgraph presentation on the Cassini-Huygens Mars Exploration Rover is shown. The contents include: 1) Deep Space Network (DSN); 2) Saturn Cassini-Huygens; 3) Mars Exploration Rover; and 4) References.

  14. NASA Mars Science Laboratory Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Olson, Tim

    2017-01-01

    Since August 2012, the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity has been operating on the Martian surface. The primary goal of the MSL mission is to assess whether Mars ever had an environment suitable for life. MSL Science Team member Dr. Tim Olson will provide an overview of the rover's capabilities and the major findings from the mission so far. He will also share some of his experiences of what it is like to operate Curiosity's science cameras and explore Mars as part of a large team of scientists and engineers.

  15. 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).

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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),

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Size Comparison: Three Generations of 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 2010 (right).

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

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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).

  9. The Athena Mars Rover Investigation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Haskin, L.; Herkenhoff, K.

    2000-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor program requires tools for martian surface exploration, including remote sensing, in-situ sensing, and sample collection. The Athena Mars rover payload is a suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools designed 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; and (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload is designed to be implemented on a long-range rover such as the one now under consideration for the 2003 Mars opportunity. The payload is at a high state of maturity, and most of the instruments have now been built for flight.

  10. Rover concepts for lunar exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Connolly, John F.

    1993-01-01

    The paper describes the requirements and design concepts developed for the First Lunar Outpost (FLO) and the follow-on lunar missions by the Human Planet Surface Project Office at the Johnson Space Center, which include inputs from scientists, technologists, operators, personnel, astronauts, mission designers, and program managers. Particular attention is given to the requirements common to all rover concepts, the precursor robotic missions, the FLO scenario and capabilities, and the FLO evolution.

  11. 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.

  12. Design issues for Mars planetary rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Gordon K. F.; Dejarnette, Fred R.; Walberg, Gerald D.

    1993-01-01

    The paper presents some of the design issues and vehicle requirements that need to be addressed for the Mars planetary rovers. Some of the designs currently being investigated, including the JPL rover, the Martin Marietta vehicle, and the French Space Agency's VAP project, are examined. The rover must satisfy such mission requirements as surveying the terrain, preparing the landing sites, loading and unloading components for base operations, and aiding in the recovery of in situ materials.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Young, Russell J.; Williams, Michael D.; Walker, Gilbert H.; Schuster, Gregory L.; Lee, Ja H.

    1992-01-01

    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.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    De Young, Russell J.; Williams, Michael D.; Walker, Gilbert H.; Schuster, Gregory L.; Lee, Ja H.

    1993-11-01

    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.

  17. Rover-based visual target tracking validation and mission infusion

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Won S.; Steele, Robert D.; Ansar, Adnan I.; Ali, Khaled; Nesnas, Issa

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER'03), Spirit and Opportunity, represent the state of the art in rover operations on Mars. This paper presents validation experiments of different visual tracking algorithms using the rover's navigation camera.

  18. Athena Mars rover science investigation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Baumgartner, E.T.; Bell, J.F.; 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.

  19. Design of a Mars Rover Mobility System

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Trunins, J.; Curley, A.; Osborne, B.

    Future space exploration requires close study of extraterrestrial bodies such as Mars. The Mars micro-rover proposal was configured to closely meet the requirements of scientists and budget criteria. Due to the hostility of the Martian environment a reliable mobility system must be integrated to the rover concept. This project demonstrates the feasibility of such a design drawing on current data. The design was governed by the operational lifespan of the vehicle, a period of one Martian year at latitude of 30 degrees. The project provides a step-by-step simulation of the rover's mobility system design. Furthermore the design provides and integrates all vital sub-systems required for successful operation of the Mars rover. A primary consideration during the design process of the rover was ease of integration with an array of different payloads. Potential payloads are constrained by the mass of 1067 g., space availability of 110 by 100 by 45 mm and the availability of power 85.4 W. Although only a conceptual design, this report summarises of all required design parameters for future rover development.Today Mars exploration is one of the most popular areas of research. Different methodologies are implemented accord- ingly to various mission requirements. Observation satellite use can give wide area cover, while surface landing probes give accurate details. Mobile vehicles allow achieving both, how- ever at a cost to pay. The mission that involves mobile rover is extremely costly and requires high reliability.The use of small size rovers will allow minimising expenditure on a project. The design of the multi-purpose rover with possibility to use different payloads will give higher mission safety. This will be achieved by utilisation of the same structure bus.This project will present preliminary studies for the concep- tual design of Mars micro rover mobility system. Furthermore, it will summarise the steps required for the rover sub-system architecture. It is proposed

  20. Automation Rover for Extreme Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sauder, Jonathan; Hilgemann, Evan; Johnson, Michael; Parness, Aaron; Hall, Jeffrey; Kawata, Jessie; Stack, Kathryn

    2017-01-01

    Almost 2,300 years ago the ancient Greeks built the Antikythera automaton. This purely mechanical computer accurately predicted past and future astronomical events long before electronics existed1. Automata have been credibly used for hundreds of years as computers, art pieces, and clocks. However, in the past several decades automata have become less popular as the capabilities of electronics increased, leaving them an unexplored solution for robotic spacecraft. The Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments (AREE) proposes an exciting paradigm shift from electronics to a fully mechanical system, enabling longitudinal exploration of the most extreme environments within the solar system.

  1. 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.

  2. Laser-powered Martian rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harries, W. L.; Meador, W. E.; Miner, G. A.; Schuster, Gregory L.; Walker, G. H.; Williams, M. D.

    1989-07-01

    Two rover concepts were considered: an unpressurized skeleton vehicle having available 4.5 kW of electrical power and limited to a range of about 10 km from a temporary Martian base and a much larger surface exploration vehicle (SEV) operating on a maximum 75-kW power level and essentially unrestricted in range or mission. The only baseline reference system was a battery-operated skeleton vehicle with very limited mission capability and range and which would repeatedly return to its temporary base for battery recharging. It was quickly concluded that laser powering would be an uneconomical overkill for this concept. The SEV, on the other hand, is a new rover concept that is especially suited for powering by orbiting solar or electrically pumped lasers. Such vehicles are visualized as mobile habitats with full life-support systems onboard, having unlimited range over the Martian surface, and having extensive mission capability (e.g., core drilling and sampling, construction of shelters for protection from solar flares and dust storms, etc.). Laser power beaming to SEV's was shown to have the following advantages: (1) continuous energy supply by three orbiting lasers at 2000 km (no storage requirements as during Martian night with direct solar powering); (2) long-term supply without replacement; (3) very high power available (MW level possible); and (4) greatly enhanced mission enabling capability beyond anything currently conceived.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  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. First Astronaut- Rover Interaction Field Test

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kosmo, Joseph J.; Ross, Amy; Cabrol, Nathalie A.

    2000-01-01

    The first Astronaut - Rover (ASRO) Interaction field test was conducted successfully on February 22-27, 1999, in Silver Lake, Mojave Desert, California in a representative planetary surface terrain. This test was a joint effort between the NASA Ames Research Center , Moffett Field, California and the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. As prototype advanced planetary surface space suit and rover technologies are being developed for human planetary surface exploration , it has been determined that it is important to better understand the potential interaction and benefits of an EVA astronaut interacting with a robotic rover . This interaction between an EVA astronaut and a robotic rover is seen as complementary and can greatly enhance the productivity and safety of surface excursions . This test also identified design requirements and options in an advanced space suit and robotic rover. The test objectives were: 1. To identify the operational domains where the EVA astronauts and rover are complementary and can interact and thus collaborate in a safe , productive and cost- effective way, 2. To identify preliminary requirements and recommendations for advanced space suits and rovers that facilitate their cooperative and complementary interaction, 3. To develop operational procedures for the astronaut-rover teams in the identified domains, 4. To test these procedures during representative mission scenarios during field tests by simulating the exploration of a planetary surface by an EVA crew interacting with a robotic rover, 5. To train a space suited test subject, simulated Earth-based and l or lander-based science teams, and robotic vehicle operators in mission configurations, and 6. To evaluate and understand socio-technical aspects of the astronaut - rover interaction experiment in order to guide future technologies and designs. Test results and areas for future research in the design of planetary space suits will be discussed .

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Enhanced Engineering Cameras (EECAMs) for the Mars 2020 Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Maki, J. N.; McKinney, C. M.; Sellar, R. G.; Copley-Woods, D. S.; Gruel, D. C.; Nuding, D. L.; Valvo, M.; Goodsall, T.; McGuire, J.; Litwin, T. E.

    2016-10-01

    The Mars 2020 Rover will be equipped with a next-generation engineering camera imaging system that represents an upgrade over the previous Mars rover engineering cameras flown on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission and the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover mission.

  13. 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.

  14. Autonomous Instrument Placement for Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leger, P. Chris; Maimone, Mark

    2009-01-01

    Autonomous Instrument Placement (AutoPlace) is onboard software that enables a Mars Exploration Rover to act autonomously in using its manipulator to place scientific instruments on or near designated rock and soil targets. Prior to the development of AutoPlace, it was necessary for human operators on Earth to plan every motion of the manipulator arm in a time-consuming process that included downlinking of images from the rover, analysis of images and creation of commands, and uplinking of commands to the rover. AutoPlace incorporates image analysis and planning algorithms into the onboard rover software, eliminating the need for the downlink/uplink command cycle. Many of these algorithms are derived from the existing groundbased image analysis and planning algorithms, with modifications and augmentations for onboard use.

  15. PIXL Investigation on the Mars 2020 Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allwood, A. C.; Wade, L. A.; Hurowitz, J. A.

    2016-10-01

    PIXL data, together with other instruments on the 2020 Mars rover, will make it possible to carry out astrobiological field investigations with sufficient detail and quality to credibly address the search for signs of ancient life on Mars.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. LED minilidar for Mars rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shiina, Tatsuo; Yamada, Sonoko; Senshu, Hiroki; Otobe, Naohito; Hashimoto, George; Kawabata, Yasuhiro

    2016-10-01

    A mini-lidar to observe the activity of Martian atmosphere is developed. The 10cm-cube LED mini-lidar was designed to be onboard a Mars rover. The light source of the mini-lidar is a high powered LED of 385nm. LED was adopted as light source because of its toughness against circumference change and physical shock for launch. The pulsed power and the pulse repetition frequency of LED beam were designed as 0.75W (=7.5nJ/10ns) and 500kHz, respectively. Lidar echoes were caught by the specially designed Cassegrain telescope, which has the shorter telescope tube than the usual to meet the 10cm-cube size limit. The high-speed photon counter was developed to pursue to the pulse repetition frequency of the LED light. The measurement range is no shorter than 30m depending back-ground condition. Its spatial resolution was improved as 0.15m (=1ns) by this photon counter. The demonstrative experiment was conducted at large wind tunnel facility of Japan Meteorological Agency. The measurement target was smoke of glycerin particles. The smoke was flowed in the wind tunnel with wind speed of 0 - 5m. Smoke diffusion and its propagation due to the wind flow were observed by the LED mini-lidar. This result suggests that the developed lidar can pursue the structure and the motion of dust devil of >2m.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Chimp as Viewed by Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    This anaglyph view of Chimp, south southwest of the lander, was produced by combining two right eye frames taken from different viewing angles by Sojourner Rover. One of the right eye frames was distorted using Photoshop to approximate the projection of the left eye view (without this, the stereo pair is painful to view). The left view is assigned to the red color plane and the right view to the green and blue color planes (cyan), to produce a stereo anaglyph mosaic. This mosaic can be viewed in 3-D on your computer monitor or in color print form by wearing red-blue 3-D glasses.

    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).

    Click below to see the left and right views individually. [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Left [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Right

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  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. Overview of the Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adler, M.

    2002-12-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project is an ambitious mission to land two highly capable rovers at different sites in the equatorial region of Mars. The two vehicles are launched separately in May through July of 2003. Mars surface operations begin on January 4, 2004 with the first landing, followed by the second landing three weeks later on January 25. The useful surface lifetime of each rover will be at least 90 sols. 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. The two MER spacecraft are planned to be identical. The rovers are landed using the Mars Pathfinder approach of a heatshield and parachute to slow the vehicle relative to the atmosphere, solid rockets to slow the lander near the surface, and airbags to cushion the surface impacts. During entry, descent, and landing, the vehicles will transmit coded tones directly to Earth, and in the terminal descent phase will also transmit telemetry to the MGS orbiter to indicate progress through the critical events. Once the lander rolls to a stop, a tetrahedral structure opens to right the lander and to reveal the folded rover, which then deploys and later by command will roll off of the lander to begin its exploration. Each six-wheeled rover carries a suite of instruments to collect contextual information about the landing site using visible and thermal infrared remote sensing, and to collect in situ information on the composition, mineralogy, and texture of selected Martian soils and rocks using an arm-mounted microscopic imager, rock abrasion tool, and spectrometers. During their surface missions, the rovers will communicate with Earth directly through the Deep Space Network as well as indirectly through the Odyssey and MGS orbiters. The solar-powered rovers will be commanded in the morning of each Sol, with the

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Terrain Adaptive Navigation for Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matthies, Larry H.; Helmick, Daniel M.; Angelova, Anelia; Livianu, Matthew

    2007-01-01

    A navigation system for Mars rovers in very rough terrain has been designed, implemented, and tested on a research rover in Mars analog terrain. This navigation system consists of several technologies that are integrated to increase the capabilities compared to current rover navigation algorithms. These technologies include: goodness maps and terrain triage, terrain classification, remote slip prediction, path planning, high-fidelity traversability analysis (HFTA), and slip-compensated path following. The focus of this paper is not on the component technologies, but rather on the integration of these components. Results from the onboard integration of several of the key technologies described here are shown. Additionally, the results from independent demonstrations of several of these technologies are shown. Future work will include the demonstration of the entire integrated system described here.

  5. 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.

  6. 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 ...

  7. 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.

  8. 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...

  9. 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.

  10. Biomimetic Planetary Rovers for Ocean Exploration in Space

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Babu Mannam, N. P.; Krishnankutty, P.

    2016-10-01

    Conventional planetary rover designs are wheel operated on firm ground surfaces and proved successful in the exploration of Mars environment. In order to explore liquid medium on Jupiter's Europa, biomimetic planetary rovers are discussed in the current research.

  11. 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.

  12. 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).

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. Super Rover's X-Ray Vision

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    Located on the arm of the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, the alpha particle X-ray spectrometer uses alpha particles and X-rays to determine the chemical make up of martian rocks and soils. This type of information helps scientists understand how the planet's crust was weathered and formed. Mars Exploration Rover team members used this palm-sized instrument on a small patch of martian soil just after Spirit rolled off the Columbia Memorial Station. They found that although the soil was very similar to what they had seen previously on Mars, the instrument's improved sensitivity allowed them to see new elements and subtle differences not detected before.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Comparative Field Tests of Pressurised Rover Prototypes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mann, G. A.; Wood, N. B.; Clarke, J. D.; Piechochinski, S.; Bamsey, M.; Laing, J. H.

    The conceptual designs, interior layouts and operational performances of three pressurised rover prototypes - Aonia, ARES and Everest - were field tested during a recent simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. A human factors experiment, in which the same crew of three executed the same simulated science mission in each of the three vehicles, yielded comparative data on the capacity of each vehicle to safely and comfortably carry explorers away from the main base, enter and exit the vehicle in spacesuits, perform science tasks in the field, and manage geological and biological samples. As well as offering recommendations for design improvements for specific vehicles, the results suggest that a conventional Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) would not be suitable for analog field work; that a pressurised docking tunnel to the main habitat is essential; that better provisions for spacesuit storage are required; and that a crew consisting of one driver/navigator and two field science crew specialists may be optimal. From a field operations viewpoint, a recurring conflict between rover and habitat crews at the time of return to the habitat was observed. An analysis of these incidents leads to proposed refinements of operational protocols, specific crew training for rover returns and again points to the need for a pressurised docking tunnel. Sound field testing, circulating of results, and building the lessons learned into new vehicles is advocated as a way of producing ever higher fidelity rover analogues.

  5. Manipulator control for rover planetary exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cameron, Jonathan M.; Tunstel, Edward; Nguyen, Tam; Cooper, Brian K.

    1992-11-01

    An anticipated goal of Mars surface exploration missions will be to survey and sample surface rock formations which appear scientifically interesting. In such a mission, a planetary rover would navigate close to a selected sampling site and the remote operator would use a manipulator mounted on the rover to perform a sampling operation. Techniques for accomplishing the necessary manipulation for the sampling components of such a mission have been developed and are presented. We discuss the implementation of a system for controlling a seven (7) degree of freedom Puma manipulator, equipped with a special rock gripper mounted on a planetary rover prototype, intended for the purpose of performing the sampling operation. Control is achieved by remote teleoperation. This paper discusses the real-time force control and supervisory control aspects of the rover manipulation system. Integration of the Puma manipulator with the existing distributed computer architecture is also discussed. The work described is a contribution toward achieving the coordinated manipulation and mobility necessary for a Mars sample acquisition and return scenario.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. Small-RPS Enabled Mars Rover Concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Balint, Tibor S.

    2005-02-01

    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 JPL 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 50 We of power or 620 Wh/sol of energy (BOL), comparable to that of MER. The two 8 Ah batteries were considered available during peak power usage. Mission architecture, power trades, science instruments, data, communication, thermal and radiation environments, mobility, and 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.

  11. 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

  12. A vision system for a Mars rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1988-01-01

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. Ambler - An autonomous rover for planetary exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bares, John; Hebert, Martial; Kanade, Takeo; Krotkov, Eric; Mitchell, Tom

    1989-01-01

    The authors are building a prototype legged rover, called the Ambler (loosely an acronym for autonomous mobile exploration robot) and testing it on full-scale, rugged terrain of the sort that might be encountered on the Martian surface. They present an overview of their research program, focusing on locomotion, perception, planning, and control. They summarize some of the most important goals and requirements of a rover design and describe how locomotion, perception, and planning systems can satisfy these requirements. Since the program is relatively young (one year old at the time of writing) they identify issues and approaches and describe work in progress rather than report results. It is expected that many of the technologies developed will be applicable to other planetary bodies and to terrestrial concerns such as hazardous waste assessment and remediation, ocean floor exploration, and mining.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Autonomous Warplanes: NASA Rovers Lead the Way

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2016-04-01

    rovers on the surface of Mars , beginning with So- journer in 1997 and culminating with the spectacular landing of Curios- ity in 2012. In the modern world...of ubiquitous wireless data connections, the fact that a picture taken on Mars can be viewed on Earth the same day is easy to take for granted. In...of communications around the earth, it is a real concern over interplanetary distances. For example, round-trip com- munication delays with Mars vary

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Mars Exploration Rover Heatshield Observation Campaign

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Szalai, Christine E.; Thoma, Benjamin L.; Lee, Wayne; Maki, Justin; Willcockson, William H.; Wright, Michael; Venkatapathy, Ethiraj

    2011-01-01

    For the first time ever, engineers were able to observe a heatshield on the surface of another planet after a successful entry through the atmosphere. A three-week heatshield observation campaign was conducted in December 2004 after the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity rover exited "Endurance Crater." By utilizing the rover's scientific instruments, data was collected to make a qualitative assessment of the performance of the heatshield. This data was gathered to gain a better understanding of how the heatshield performed during entry through the Martian atmosphere. In addition, this unprecedented look at the heatshield offered engineers the opportunity to assess if any unexpected anomalies occurred. Once a survey of the heatshield debris was completed, multiple targets of interest were chosen for the collection of imaging data. This data was then used to assess the char depth of the thermal protection material, which compared well with computational predictions. Extensive imaging data was collected and showed the main seal in pristine conditions, and no observable indications of structure overheating. Additionally, unexpected vehicle dynamics during the atmospheric entry were explained by the observation of thermal blanket remnants attached to the heatshield.

  7. Ender as Viewed by the Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    These anaglyph views of Ender, due south of the lander, were produced by combining left and right views from the IMP (left image) and two right eye frames taken from different viewing angles from the rover (right image). For the rover, one of the right eye frames was distorted using Photoshop to approximate the projection of the left eye view (without this, the stereo pair is painful to view). Then, for both the lander and rover, the left view is assigned to the red color plane and the right view to the green and blue color planes (cyan), to produce a stereo anaglyph mosaic. This mosaic can be viewed in 3-D on your computer monitor or in color print form by wearing red-blue 3-D glasses.

    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).

    Click below to see the left and right views individually. [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Left [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Right

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Concept for coring from a low-mass rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Backes, Paul G.; Khatib, Oussama; Diaz-Calderon, Antonio; Warren, James; Collins, Curtis; Chang, Zensheu

    2006-01-01

    Future Mars missions, such as the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission, may benefit from core sample acquisition from a low-mass rover where the rover cannot be assumed to be stationary during a coring operation. Manipulation from Mars rovers is currently done under the assumption that the rover acts as a stationary, stable platform for the arm. An MSR mission scenario with a low-mass rover has been developed and the technology needs have been investigated. Models for alternative types of coring tools and tool-environment interaction have been developed and input along with wheel-soil interaction models into the Stanford Simulation & Active Interfaces (SAI) simulation environment to enable simulation of coring operations from a rover. Coring tests using commercial coring tools indicate that the quality of the core is a critical criterion in the system design. Current results of the models, simulation, and coring tests are provided.

  13. Path planning for planetary rover using extended elevation map

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakatani, Ichiro; Kubota, Takashi; Yoshimitsu, Tetsuo

    1994-10-01

    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.

  14. Rovers minimize human disturbance in research on wild animals.

    PubMed

    Le Maho, Yvon; Whittington, Jason D; Hanuise, Nicolas; Pereira, Louise; Boureau, Matthieu; Brucker, Mathieu; Chatelain, Nicolas; Courtecuisse, Julien; Crenner, Francis; Friess, Benjamin; Grosbellet, Edith; Kernaléguen, Laëtitia; Olivier, Frédérique; Saraux, Claire; Vetter, Nathanaël; Viblanc, Vincent A; Thierry, Bernard; Tremblay, Pascale; Groscolas, René; Le Bohec, Céline

    2014-12-01

    Investigating wild animals while minimizing human disturbance remains an important methodological challenge. When approached by a remote-operated vehicle (rover) which can be equipped to make radio-frequency identifications, wild penguins had significantly lower and shorter stress responses (determined by heart rate and behavior) than when approached by humans. Upon immobilization, the rover-unlike humans-did not disorganize colony structure, and stress rapidly ceased. Thus, rovers can reduce human disturbance of wild animals and the resulting scientific bias.

  15. The Challenges in Applying Magnetroesistive Sensors on the 'Curiosity' Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Magnetoresistive Sensors were selected for use on the motor encoders throughout the Curiosity Rover for motor position feedback devices. The Rover contains 28 acuators with a corresponding number of encoder assemblies. The environment on Mars provides opportunities for challenges to any hardware design. The encoder assemblies presented several barriers that had to be vaulted in order to say the rover was ready to fly. The environment and encoder specific design features provided challenges that had to be solved in time to fly.

  16. Soviet developments of planet rovers in period of 1964 - 1990

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kemurdjian, A. L.; Gromov, V. V.; Kazhukalo, I. F.; Kozlov, G. V.; Komissarov, V. I.; Korepanov, G. N.; Martinov, B. N.; Malenkov, V. I.; Mitskevich, A. V.; Mishkinyuk, V. K.

    1993-01-01

    The history of Soviet planetary rovers, which were intended for work on the surface of planets and other heavenly bodies, is traced starting with Lunokhod 1, which was designed to survey the Moon. The equipment and methodology of ground tests which simulated lunar conditions--lunar vacuum, gravitation, and soil--are reported. Examples of planetary rovers which followed the Lunokhod program are given. These examples include machines of the following types: wheel walkers; machines that used skiing for locomotion; and two articulated modules. Planet rovers for Venus, Mars, and its satellite Phobos are addressed. The f ocus ison the performance of Marsokhod, the Mars rover.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Exploring Mars with Balloons and Inflatable Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Jack A.; Cutts, James A.; Kerzhanovich, Viktor V.; Yavrouian, Andre; Hall, Jeffrey L.; Raque, Steven; Fairbrother, Debbie A.

    2000-07-01

    Until now, the exploration of Mars has taken place with global coverage of the planet by satellites in orbit or with landers providing very detailed coverage of extremely limited local areas. New developments in inflatable technology, however, now offer the possibility of in situ surface and atmospheric global studies of Mars using very lightweight rovers and balloons that can travel hundreds or even thousands of kilometers relatively quickly and safely. Both systems are currently being tested at JPL; preliminary results show great promise. One of the balloon technologies offers the additional bonus of being able to land payloads on Mars much more gently than parachutes, yet with considerably less mass.

  7. Design considerations for a Martian Balloon Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Redd, F.; Levesque, R. J.; Williams, G. E.

    1987-01-01

    The present NASA-sponsored design feasibility study for a balloon-borne sensor platform that is to be used over environmentally dissimilar sites on Mars gives attention to specific environmental and configurational parameters of a baseline balloon design, with a view to day/night altitude variations in response to temperature extremes. It is concluded that a Martian Balloon Rover can be developed using current technology; projected reductions in high-strength fabric density and radiation-resistant coatings will further enhance mission effectiveness, permitting either balloon size reductions or payload capacity increases.

  8. Improvement of the lunar rover with two parallel wheels

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bi, Z. F.; Deng, Z. Q.; Tao, J. G.

    With raising the new upsurge for lunar exploration the lunar rover with two parallel wheels is proposed for lunar exploration The lunar rover is driven by the offset of the driving weight and it is selected as the subsystem of the lunar rover group system The communication among the lunar rover group is simulated with blue-tooth technology In the group system the characteristic and the stability are the key problems for application The lunar rover has simple structure and it is controlled easily and also it has more performance such as motion flexibility antidumping combinability The lunar rover is composed of two wheels and a case platform Each wheel is controlled independently On the top of the case platform CCD is used for navigation In the front and the back of the case platform there are docking mechanism for combination The precise speed and position of the lunar rover is controlled by PMAC With PC 104 the actual load such as the information of sensors and real-time communication via blue-tooth is processed The good stability of the lunar rover is favorable for vision navigation and combination of several rovers Focused on the stability the lunar rover with changeable radius is proposed Screw pair is used in the lunar rover system for adjusting the driving radius Through adjusting the driving radius the tilt angle of the case platform can be variant value under the same driving moment and also the tilt angle can keep equal under the variant driving moment For testing the feasibility of the scheme based on the

  9. A Lab-on-Chip Design for Miniature Autonomous Bio-Chemoprospecting Planetary Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Santoli, S.

    The performance of the so-called ` Lab-on-Chip ' devices, featuring micrometre size components and employed at present for carrying out in a very fast and economic way the extremely high number of sequence determinations required in genomic analyses, can be largely improved as to further size reduction, decrease of power consumption and reaction efficiency through development of nanofluidics and of nano-to-micro inte- grated systems. As is shown, such new technologies would lead to robotic, fully autonomous, microwatt consumption and complete ` laboratory on a chip ' units for accurate, fast and cost-effective astrobiological and planetary exploration missions. The theory and the manufacturing technologies for the ` active chip ' of a miniature bio/chemoprospecting planetary rover working on micro- and nanofluidics are investigated. The chip would include micro- and nanoreactors, integrated MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical System) components, nanoelectronics and an intracavity nanolaser for highly accurate and fast chemical analysis as an application of such recently introduced solid state devices. Nano-reactors would be able to strongly speed up reaction kinetics as a result of increased frequency of reactive collisions. The reaction dynamics may also be altered with respect to standard macroscopic reactors. A built-in miniature telemetering unit would connect a network of other similar rovers and a central, ground-based or orbiting control unit for data collection and transmission to an Earth-based unit through a powerful antenna. The development of the ` Lab-on-Chip ' concept for space applications would affect the economy of space exploration missions, as the rover's ` Lab-on-Chip ' development would link space missions with the ever growing terrestrial market and business concerning such devices, largely employed in modern genomics and bioinformatics, so that it would allow the recoupment of space mission costs.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Mars Exploration Rover Heatshield Observation Campaign

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Szalai, Christine E.; Thoma, Benjamin L.; Lee, Wayne J.; Maki, Justin N.; Willcockson, William H.; Venkatapathy, Ethiraj; White, Todd R.

    2011-01-01

    For the first time ever, engineers were able to observe a heatshield on the surface of another planet after a successful entry through the atmosphere. A three-week heatshield observation campaign was conducted in December 2004 after the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity exited "Endurance Crater." By utilizing the rover's scientific instruments, data was collected to make a qualitative assessment of the performance of the heatshield. This data was gathered to gain a better understanding of how the heatshield performed during entry through the Martian atmosphere. In addition, this unprecedented look at the heatshield offered engineers the opportunity to assess if any unexpected anomalies occurred. Once a survey of the heatshield debris was completed, multiple targets of interest were chosen for the collection of imaging data. This data was then used to assess the char depth of the thermal protection material, which compared well with design and post-flight computational predictions. Extensive imaging data was collected and showed the main seal in pristine conditions, and no observable indications of structure overheating. Additionally, unexpected vehicle dynamics during the atmospheric entry were explained by the observation of thermal blanket remnants attached to the heatshield.

  14. Mars Rover Enters New Phase of Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2010-02-01

    The wandering days for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit appear to be over. Spirit, which has been exploring the planet on a science mission since January 2004, is embedded in sandy soil and will remain at its current location at 14.6°S, 175.5°E, at the “Home Plate” plateau within Gusev crater, through the coming Martian winter and for the rest of its days. Despite NASA's best efforts to extricate the six-wheeled Spirit from the sulfate salt-rich soil for the past 8 months, mission scientists indicated on 26 January that they now believe the rover is stuck for good, aside from minor movements on its four remaining operational wheels and other small adjustments. For the next several weeks, NASA will continue efforts to slightly reposition the robot so that it can better catch the Sun, endure the coming Martian winter in a state of hibernation, and remain at least in infrequent communication with the science team.

  15. Anomaly Recovery and the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matijevic, Jacob R.; Dewell, Elizabeth A.

    2006-01-01

    The premise of the design of operations for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) is that the vehicles will drive each day. As a result, they will encounter some aspect of the terrain environment that cannot be anticipated or otherwise accommodated by the sequences linked onboard that day. The operations team then must correct the problem by planning then commanding the execution of a different drive the next day. Often other aspects of the operation on the surface of Mars: environmental changes, component degradation, errors in sequence design or execution, etc., lead to anomalies which must be addressed before normal operations can resume. The operational design that makes it possible to recover from a driving error each day also reduces the time needed to recover from anomalies. As an example of the efficiency achieved, less than 5% (about 30 sols out of 700 sols of operations) of the time on the surface has been devoted to recovery from anomalies for each vehicle. In this paper the major anomalies experienced by the MER rovers will be recounted and the streamlined approaches to addressing these problems described. The operational flexibility developed for these missions is also a function of the system design that anticipated a number of likely faults and conditions arising from uncertainty in sequence execution and environmental change. This design will be described as well as the considerations in operation that motivated this design. These considerations will likely be present in any future surface mission.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. Electrostatic Dust Control for Planetary Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Clark, P. E.; Curtis, S. A.; Farrell, W. M.; Nuth, J. A.; Stubbs, T. J.; Rilee, M. L.

    2005-12-01

    Detailed study of the physical and chemical nature of the fine particulate portion of the regoliths of these bodies is a key to understanding micrometeorite bombardment and the nature of regolith formation. Thus, missions to sample the surfaces of atmosphereless bodies, including the Moon, asteroids, and Mercury, have been identified as crucial components of solar system exploration over the next decades. We have proposed autonomous reconfigurable robotic manual assistants and lander/rovers for such missions. On the other hand, dust poses problems for mechanisms and exposed surfaces on landers/rovers sent to such bodies. Compromise of seals and loss of sample material, as well as mechanical damage to systems and surfaces, occurred after hours of operation during the Apollo missions. Thus both dust mitigation and dust collection are issues which must be addressed for sampling missions. Dust activity on atmosphereless bodies is ubiquitous and induced by complex interactions of fine particulates, environmentally-dependent fields, and charged particles with vehicle surfaces and mechanisms. Dust particles are both abrasive and adhesive as a result of the melting and crushing from micrometeorite bombardment. Thus, dust dynamics result from the interplay between mechanical and electrostatic forces and are a critical environmental factor with which all rover technologies must deal. We have considered various strategies for dust mitigation. Passive ones include the use of conducting surfaces and O-ring sealing of all mechanisms. Several active mechanisms for not only removing but collecting dust are under consideration. Our inter-disciplinary team is investigating the feasibility of an electrostatically based concept for a dust control. Relatively little work has been done on empirically simulating what happens when another surface is introduced into a non-conducting, dusty regolith. We plan to test our concept by performing empirical simulations of the interaction between

  1. Liquid hydrogen flow problems in Kiwi reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Thurston, R.S.

    1992-09-01

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

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

    PubMed

    1997-12-05

    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  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. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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).

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. A predictive wheel-soil interaction model for planetary rovers validated in testbeds and against MER Mars rover performance data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richter, L.; Ellery, A.; Gao, Y.; Michaud, S.; Schmitz, N.; Weiss, S.

    Successful designs of vehicles intended for operations on planetary objects outside the Earth demand, just as for terrestrial off-the-road vehicles, a careful assessment of the terrain relevant for the vehicle mission and predictions of the mobility performance to allow rational trade-off's to be made for the choice of the locomotion concept and sizing. Principal issues driving the chassis design for rovers are the stress-strain properties of the planetary surface soil, the distribution of rocks in the terrain representing potential obstacles to movement, and the gravity level on the celestial object in question. Thus far, planetary rovers have been successfully designed and operated for missions to the Earth's moon and to the planet Mars, including NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers (MER's) `Spirit' and `Opportunity' being in operation on Mars since their landings in January 2004. Here we report on the development of a wheel-soil interaction model with application to wheel sizes and wheel loads relevant to current and near-term robotic planetary rovers, i.e. wheel diameters being between about 200 and 500 mm and vertical quasistatic wheel loads in operation of roughly 100 to 200 N. Such a model clearly is indispensable for sizings of future rovers to analyse the aspect of rover mobility concerned with motion across soils. This work is presently funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the `Rover Chassis Evaluation Tools' (RCET) effort which has developed a set of S/W-implemented models for predictive mobility analysis of rovers in terms of movement on soils and across obstacles, coupled with dedicated testbeds to validate the wheel-soil models. In this paper, we outline the details of the wheel-soil modelling performed within the RCET work and present comparisons of predictions of wheel performance (motion resistance, torque vs. slip and drawbar pull vs. slip) for specific test cases with the corresponding measurements performed in the RCET single wheel

  14. A Mars Rover Mission Simulation on Kilauea Volcano

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol; Cuzzi, Jeffery N. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    A field experiment to simulate a rover mission on Mars was performed using the Russian Marsokhod rover deployed on Kilauea Volcano HI in February, 1995. A Russian Marsokhod rover chassis was equipped with American avionics equipment, stereo cameras on a pan and tilt platform, a digital high resolution body-mounted camera, and a manipulator arm on which was mounted a camera with a close-up lens. The six wheeled rover is 2 meters long and has a mass of 120 kg. The imaging system was designed to simulate that used on the planned "Mars Together" mission. The rover was deployed on Kilauea Volcano HI and operated from NASA Ames by a team of planetary geologists and exobiologists. Two modes of mission operations were simulated for three days each: (1) long time delay, low data bandwidth (simulating a Mars mission), and (2) live video, wide-bandwidth data (allowing active control simulating a Lunar rover mission or a Mars rover mission controlled from on or near the Martian surface). Simulated descent images (aerial photographs) were used to plan traverses to address a detailed set of science questions. The actual route taken was determined by the science team and the traverse path was frequently changed in response to the data acquired and to unforeseen operational issues. Traverses were thereby optimized to efficiently answer scientific questions. During the Mars simulation, the rover traversed a distance of 800 m. Based on the time delay between Earth and Mars, we estimate that the same operation would have taken 30 days to perform on Mars. This paper will describe the mission simulation and make recommendations about incorporating rovers into the Mars surveyor program.

  15. Autonomous navigation and control of a Mars rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, D. P.; Atkinson, D. J.; Wilcox, B. H.; Mishkin, A. H.

    1990-01-01

    A Mars rover will need to be able to navigate autonomously kilometers at a time. This paper outlines the sensing, perception, planning, and execution monitoring systems that are currently being designed for the rover. The sensing is based around stereo vision. The interpretation of the images use a registration of the depth map with a global height map provided by an orbiting spacecraft. Safe, low energy paths are then planned through the map, and expectations of what the rover's articulation sensors should sense are generated. These expectations are then used to ensure that the planned path is correctly being executed.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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

    NASA Video Gallery

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McGuire, Steve

    2001-01-01

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

  7. Design of a Day/Night Lunar Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1995-06-01

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

  8. Attitude and position estimation on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ali, Khaled S.; Vanelli, C. Anthony; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey J.; Maimone, Mark W.; Cheng, Yang; San Martin, A. Miguel; Alexander, James W.

    2005-01-01

    This paper describes the techniques used by the rovers to acquire and maintain attitude and position knowledge, the accuracy which is obtainable, and lessons learned after more than one year in operation.

  9. Attitude and position estimation on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ali, Khaled S.; Vanelli, C. Anthony; Biesiadecki, Jeffrey J.; Maimone, Mark W.; Yang Cheng, A.; San Martin, Miguel; Alexander, James W.

    2005-01-01

    NASA/JPL 's Mars Exploration Rovers acquire their attitude upon command and autonomously propagate their attitude and position. The rovers use accelerometers and images of the sun to acquire attitude, autonomously searching the sky for the sun with a pointable camera. To propagate the attitude and position the rovers use either accelerometer and gyro readings or gyro readings and wheel odometiy, depending on the nature of the movement ground operators are commanding. Where necessary, visual odometry is performed on images to fine tune the position updates, particularly in high slip environments. The capability also exists for visual odometry attitude updates. This paper describes the techniques used by the rovers to acquire and maintain attitude and position knowledge, the accuracy which is obtainable, and lessons learned after more than one year in operation.

  10. 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.

  11. Getting the Most from the Twin Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Laufenberg, Larry

    2003-01-01

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

  12. Thermal Design Overview of the Mars Exploration Rover Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsuyuki, Glenn

    2001-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the thermal design for the Mars exploration rover project. It includes information on the spacecraft configuration, the cruise scenario, landing scenario, instrument package, thermal environment, and spacecraft schematics.

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

    NASA Video Gallery

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

  14. Microbiological cleanliness of the Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Newlin, L.; Barengoltz, J.; Chung, S.; Kirschner, L.; Koukol, R.; Morales, F.

    2002-01-01

    Planetary protection for Mars missions is described, and the approach being taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Project is discussed. Specific topics include alcohol wiping, dry heat microbial reduction, microbiological assays, and the Kennedy Space center's PHSF clean room.

  15. 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 ...

  16. Preliminary Results of Hydrogen Prospecting with a Planetary Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Elphic, R. C.; Utz, H.; Allan, M.; Bualat, M.; Deans, M.; Fong, T.; Kobayashi, L.; Lee, S.; To, V.

    2008-03-01

    We have used the HYDRA miniature neutron spectrometer integrated onto a NASA Ames K10 rover to field test mobile robotic prospecting for hydrogen enhancements, as would be carried out in a future landed lunar polar robotic mission.

  17. 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...

  18. MER Caching Rover for 2018 Exploration of Ancient Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ehlmann, B. L.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Manning, R. M.; Rivellini, T. P.; Backes, P. G.; Ganino, A. J.; Shiraishi, L. R.; Klein, K. J.; Allen, W. C.; Kahn, C. L.; Ziemer, J. K.; Sherwood, B.; Eisen, H. J.

    2012-06-01

    A modern, minimally updated MER rover can begin sample return in 2018. We demonstrate MER accommodates a caching system and robust science payload. A guided entry airbag landing system enables exploration and sample collection at high priority sites.

  19. Camera-Only Kinematics for Small Lunar Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fang, E.; Suresh, S.; Whittaker, W.

    2016-11-01

    Knowledge of the kinematic state of rovers is critical. Existing methods add sensors and wiring to moving parts, which can fail and adds mass and volume. This research presents a method to optically determine kinematic state using a single camera.

  20. Results of Lunar Rover Drivetrain TRL-6 Environmental Testing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Visscher, P.; Edmundson, P.; Ghafoor, N.; Jones, H.; Kleinhenz, J.; Picard, M.

    2016-11-01

    Latest results of work performed by Ontario Drive and Gear Ltd., Canadensys Aerospace Corporation, and partners on Canadian lunar rover development activities for the Canadian Space Agency, including "dirty" thermal vacuum testing of drivetrain unit.

  1. NASA/JPL tumbleweed rover for planetary exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jonsson, J.; Behar, A.; Nicaise, F.; Lorenz, R.

    pagestyle empty begin document Planetary exploration rovers should be tough constructions able to travel swift and long distances on the surface This also means big and heavy something one wants to avoid when launching missions to space The Tumbleweed rover will use a small set of instruments and electronics at the core of its inflatable spherical outer hull Deflated this is a small and light package easily launched to a distant world for instance Mars Well there the hull inflates into a large spherical ball Moving around over rocks and out of craters powered only by the wind the rover makes its scientific measurements The motion can be controlled by the amount of inflation of the hull even stopping by deflation at a certain spot and reaching the ground for sampling The winds on Mars are strong but the atmosphere is also thinner than that of the Earths The force that acts on the Tumbleweed rover from the wind corresponds to the cross-sectional area of the rover the larger the diameter the larger the force The Tumbleweed rover concept is currently under development On Greenland a prototype version was tested and during two days traversed a distance of 130 km over the frozen landscape During the journey the rover sent back data of its position and the environmental conditions through an Iridium satellite network connection In February 2006 another prototype tumbleweed rover will be tested in the desert of Arizona with a new type of inflatable outer hull Wind models will be made with wind anemometers and GPS data which shows the path taken

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Calle, Carlos I.

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Mars Exploration Rover airbag landing loads testing and analsysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adams, Douglas S.

    2004-01-01

    This paper presents a summary of the testing and analysis used to quantify the expected airbag landing loads for the Mars Exploration Rovers. The airbag drop test setup, lander instrumentation, and the test data reduction method are discussed in order to provide an understanding of the empirical loads. A set of limiting cases that bound the empirical data are developed for use in finite element modeling of the lander and rover models.

  4. Development of Testing Station for Prototype Rover Thermal Subsystem

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burlingame, Kaitlin

    2010-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1997-01-01

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

  6. Mars Exploration Rover Operations with the Science Activity Planner

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  7. Mars Exploration Rovers Launch Contingency Efforts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2004-02-01

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

  8. Fast Reactors

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Esposito, S.; Pisanti, O.

    The following sections are included: * Elementary Considerations * The Integral Equation to the Neutron Distribution * The Critical Size for a Fast Reactor * Supercritical Reactors * Problems and Exercises

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  10. Positive-Buoyancy Rover for Under Ice Mobility

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2013-01-01

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

  11. Visual Target Tracking on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2008-01-01

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

  12. Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2012-12-01

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

  13. Social network analysis and dual rover communications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Litaker, Harry L.; Howard, Robert L.

    2013-10-01

    Social network analysis (SNA) refers to the collection of techniques, tools, and methods used in sociometry aiming at the analysis of social networks to investigate decision making, group communication, and the distribution of information. Human factors engineers at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted a social network analysis on communication data collected during a 14-day field study operating a dual rover exploration mission to better understand the relationships between certain network groups such as ground control, flight teams, and planetary science. The analysis identified two communication network structures for the continuous communication and Twice-a-Day Communication scenarios as a split network and negotiated network respectfully. The major nodes or groups for the networks' architecture, transmittal status, and information were identified using graphical network mapping, quantitative analysis of subjective impressions, and quantified statistical analysis using Sociometric Statue and Centrality. Post-questionnaire analysis along with interviews revealed advantages and disadvantages of each network structure with team members identifying the need for a more stable continuous communication network, improved robustness of voice loops, and better systems training/capabilities for scientific imagery data and operational data during Twice-a-Day Communications.

  14. Diversity of soils near rover deploy region

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1997-01-01

    The surface near the rover's egress from the lander contains bright red drift (#1), dark gray rocks such as Cradle (#3), soil intermediate in color to the rocks and drift (#2), and dark red soil on and around the rock Lamb (#4). Globally, Mars is characterized by similar color variations. The spectra of these sites have been ratioed to the drift to highlight their differences. The rocks are less red and have less of a bend in the spectrum at visible wavelengths, indicating less ferric minerals and a more unweathered composition than drift. The intermediate colored soils appear intermediate in the spectral properties as well. The dark red soil at Lamb is darker than drift by about equally as red; the curvature of spectrum at visible wavelengths indicates either more ferric minerals or a larger particle size.

    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).

  15. Rover Wheel-Actuated Tool Interface

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matthews, Janet; Ahmad, Norman; Wilcox, Brian

    2007-01-01

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

  16. Mars Exploration Rovers Landing Dispersion Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  17. Flat Top as Viewed by the Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    This anaglyph view of Flat Top, southwest of the lander, was produced by combining two right eye frames taken from different viewing angles by Sojourner Rover. One of the right eye frames was distorted using Photoshop to approximate the projection of the left eye view (without this, the stereo pair is painful to view). The left view is assigned to the red color plane and the right view to the green and blue color planes (cyan), to produce a stereo anaglyph mosaic. This mosaic can be viewed in 3-D on your computer monitor or in color print form by wearing red-blue 3-D glasses.

    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).

    Click below to see the left and right views individually. [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Left [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Right

  18. Souffle as viewed by the Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    This anaglyph view of Souffle, to the left of Yogi, was produced by combining two right eye frames taken from different viewing angles by Sojourner Rover on Sol 21. One of the right eye frames was distorted using Photoshop to approximate the projection of the left eye view (without this, the stereo pair is painful to view). The left view is assigned to the red color plane and the right view to the green and blue color planes (cyan), to produce a stereo anaglyph mosaic. This mosaic can be viewed in 3-D on your computer monitor or in color print form by wearing red-blue 3-D glasses.

    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).

    Click below to see the left and right views individually. [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Left [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Right

  19. Lessons Learned From Field Tests Of Planetary Surface Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, C. R.

    2003-04-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1990-01-01

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

  1. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fermi, E.; Zinn, W.H.; Anderson, H.L.

    1958-09-16

    Means are presenied for increasing the reproduction ratio of a gaphite- moderated neutronic reactor by diminishing the neutron loss due to absorption or capture by gaseous impurities within the reactor. This means comprised of a fluid-tight casing or envelope completely enclosing the reactor and provided with a valve through which the casing, and thereby the reactor, may be evacuated of atmospheric air.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2005-01-01

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

  3. The Mars Exploration Rover/Collaborative Information Portal

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2002-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

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

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

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

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

  5. A system architecture for a planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, D. B.; Matijevic, J. R.

    1989-01-01

    Each planetary mission requires a complex space vehicle which integrates several functions to accomplish the mission and science objectives. A Mars Rover is one of these vehicles, and extends the normal spacecraft functionality with two additional functions: surface mobility and sample acquisition. All functions are assembled into a hierarchical and structured format to understand the complexities of interactions between functions during different mission times. It can graphically show data flow between functions, and most importantly, the necessary control flow to avoid unambiguous results. Diagrams are presented organizing the functions into a structured, block format where each block represents a major function at the system level. As such, there are six blocks representing telecomm, power, thermal, science, mobility and sampling under a supervisory block called Data Management/Executive. Each block is a simple collection of state machines arranged into a hierarchical order very close to the NASREM model for Telerobotics. Each layer within a block represents a level of control for a set of state machines that do the three primary interface functions: command, telemetry, and fault protection. This latter function is expanded to include automatic reactions to the environment as well as internal faults. Lastly, diagrams are presented that trace the system operations involved in moving from site to site after site selection. The diagrams clearly illustrate both the data and control flows. They also illustrate inter-block data transfers and a hierarchical approach to fault protection. This systems architecture can be used to determine functional requirements, interface specifications and be used as a mechanism for grouping subsystems (i.e., collecting groups of machines, or blocks consistent with good and testable implementations).

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  7. Improved Path Planning Onboard the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  8. Planetary surface exploration: MESUR/autonomous lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  9. Planetary surface exploration MESUR/autonomous lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1992-01-01

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

  10. The Mars Surveyor '01 Rover and Robotic Arm

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

  11. Scaling Up Decision Theoretic Planning to Planetary Rover Problems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Meuleau, Nicolas; Dearden, Richard; Washington, Rich

    2004-01-01

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

  12. Satellite-map position estimation for the Mars rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hayashi, Akira; Dean, Thomas

    1989-01-01

    A method for locating the Mars rover using an elevation map generated from satellite data is described. In exploring its environment, the rover is assumed to generate a local rover-centered elevation map that can be used to extract information about the relative position and orientation of landmarks corresponding to local maxima. These landmarks are integrated into a stochastic map which is then matched with the satellite map to obtain an estimate of the robot's current location. The landmarks are not explicitly represented in the satellite map. The results of the matching algorithm correspond to a probabilistic assessment of whether or not the robot is located within a given region of the satellite map. By assigning a probabilistic interpretation to the information stored in the satellite map, researchers are able to provide a precise characterization of the results computed by the matching algorithm.

  13. Trajectory design for a Mars Rover/Sample Return mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sweetser, Theodore H.

    This paper discusses two of the orbit design problems faced in the design of a Mars Rover/Sample Return mission, which is currently being studied at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The first is the problem of interplanetary transfer - what is the best trajectory for getting equipment to Mars and a sample back. Several kinds of trajectories are examined before the conclusion is made that straightforward direct transfers are best. The second orbit design problem is what kind of orbit around Mars is best for making high-resolution maps of sites where the rover could land and gather samples, and how can the same orbiter be used as a relay between a rover on Mars and ground stations on Earth. This question is examined in the context of alternate mission options being considered, and the answer depends on the requirements of the particular mission option.

  14. A Battery Health Monitoring Framework for Planetary Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Daigle, Matthew J.; Kulkarni, Chetan Shrikant

    2014-01-01

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

  15. Testing Planetary Rovers: Technologies, Perspectives, and Lessons Learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thomas, Hans; Lau, Sonie (Technical Monitor)

    1998-01-01

    Rovers are a vital component of NASA's strategy for manned and unmanned exploration of space. For the past five years, the Intelligent Mechanisms Group at the NASA Ames Research Center has conducted a vigorous program of field testing of rovers from both technology and science team productivity perspective. In this talk, I will give an overview of the the last two years of the test program, focusing on tests conducted in the Painted Desert of Arizona, the Atacama desert in Chile, and on IMG participation in the Mars Pathfinder mission. An overview of autonomy, manipulation, and user interface technologies developed in response to these missions will be presented, and lesson's learned in these missions and their impact on future flight missions will be presented. I will close with some perspectives on how the testing program has affected current rover systems.

  16. Experimental Results of Rover-Based Coring and Caching

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bents, David J.

    1989-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Angeli, Gabor; Walker, C.

    2007-12-01

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

  19. Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries on Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  20. A Long Range Science Rover For Future Mars Missions

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hayati, Samad

    1997-01-01

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

  1. Advancing our ambitions: The 1994 Mars rover tests

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, Charlene M.

    1994-01-01

    Successes on the space policy front have been matched by advances in technical projects. Last spring the most ambitious Mars Rover test program yet was tackled. Using rover images, four objectives were established: (1) locate the landing site by identifying features seen in descent images, (2) analyze the soil at the site, (3) search for and identify rocks and, (4) find and examine a rock outcrop in cross section. All the tests were completed but the last. The program for 1995 is already being planned.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mak, Ronald; Walton, Joan

    2005-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mattaboni, Paul

    1994-01-01

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

  4. Nuclear thermal rocket workshop reference system Rover/NERVA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Borowski, Stanley K.

    1991-01-01

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

  5. Mars Rover Navigation Results Using Sun Sensor Heading Determination

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Volpe, Richard

    1998-01-01

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

  6. Wormsphere Rover Pattern for Discovering Underground Water on Mars Surface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kangi, A.

    Undoubtedly, access to Mars' subsurface liquid water can make abundance of future proposition plausible. In order to access this invaluable source, all of the Martian surface ought to be explored by special super active researchers. Wormsphere Rover, which, as an immense ball, could carry 20 kg radar equipment to detect subsurface water, would be able to move on Mars by the force of continuous, gale-force winds. Moreover, equipped with a certain wormlike kinetic system, this rover is capable of having controllable motion in requisite circumstances, and of exploring underground water in various regions. This vehicle displays a high degree of efficiency for extended exploration in the long term.

  7. A conceptual venus rover mission using advanced radioisotope power system

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2006-01-01

    The primary goal of this study is to examine the feasibility of using the novel Advanced RPS-driven Stirling thermoacoustic system to enable extended science operations in the extremely hostile surface environment of Venus. The mission concept entails landing a rover onto the Venus surface, conducting science measurements in different areas on the surface, and returning the science data to Earth. The study focused on developing a rover design to satisfy the science goals with the capability to operate for 60 days. This mission life influences several design parameters, including Earth elevation angle and the maximum communications range to Earth.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  9. Advanced Radioisotope Power System Enabled Titan Rover Concept with Inflatable Wheels

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Balint, Tibor S.; Schriener, Timothy M.; Shirley, James H.

    2006-01-01

    This viewgraph presentation reviews study into exploration of Titan. Including a possible Titan Rover that would use the advanced radioisotope power system (RPS). The goal of the study is to demonstrate a simple, credible and affordable rover mission concept for Titan in-situ exploration, enabled by an Advanced RPS. The presentation reviews the possible launch vehicle, and trajectory options; desired instrumentation that would be aboard the rover; and considerations for the design of the rover.

  10. BOILING REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Untermyer, S.

    1962-04-10

    A boiling reactor having a reactivity which is reduced by an increase in the volume of vaporized coolant therein is described. In this system unvaporized liquid coolant is extracted from the reactor, heat is extracted therefrom, and it is returned to the reactor as sub-cooled liquid coolant. This reduces a portion of the coolant which includes vaporized coolant within the core assembly thereby enhancing the power output of the assembly and rendering the reactor substantially self-regulating. (AEC)

  11. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Daniels, F.

    1959-10-27

    A reactor in which at least a portion of the moderator is in the form of movable refractory balls is described. In addition to their moderating capacity, these balls may serve as carriers for fissionable material or fertile material, or may serve in a coolant capacity to remove heat from the reactor. A pneumatic system is used to circulate the balls through the reactor.

  12. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Treshow, M.

    1961-09-01

    A boiling-water nuclear reactor is described wherein control is effected by varying the moderator-to-fuel ratio in the reactor core. This is accomplished by providing control tubes containing a liquid control moderator in the reactor core and providing means for varying the amount of control moderatcr within the control tubes.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  14. Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site Hectometer Slopes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haldemann, A. F.; Anderson, F. S.

    2002-12-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) airbag landing system imposes a maximum slope of 5 degrees over 100 m length-scales. This limit avoids dangerous changes in elevation over the horizontal travel distance of the lander on its parachute between the time of the last radar altimeter detection of the surface and the time the retro-rockets fire and the bridle to the airbags is cut. Stereo imagery from the MGS MOC can provide information at this length scale, but MOC stereo coverage is sparse, even when targeted to MER landing sites. Additionally, MGS spacecraft stability issues affect the DEMs at precisely the hectometric length-scale1. The MOLA instrument provides global coverage pulse-width measurements2 over a single MOLA-pulse footprint, which is about 100 m in diameter. However, the pulse spread only provides an upper bound on the 100 m slope. We chose another approach. We sample the inter-pulse root-mean-square (RMS) height deviations for MOLA track segments restricted to pixels of 0.1 deg latitude by 0.1 deg longitude. Then, under the assumption of self-affine topography, we determine the scale-dependence of the RMS deviations and extrapolate that behavior over the range of 300 m to 1.2 km downward to the 100 m scale. Shepard et al.3 clearly summarize the statistical properties of the RMS deviation (noting that it also goes by the name structure function, variogram or Allan deviation), and we follow their nomenclature. The RMS deviation is a useful measure in that it can be directly converted to RMS-slope for a given length-scale. We map the results of this self-affine extrapolation method for each of the proposed MER landing sites as well as Viking Lander 1 (VL1) and Pathfiner (MPF). In order of decreasing average hectometer RMS-slopes, Melas (about 4.5 degrees) > Elysium EP80 > Gusev > MPF > Elysium EP78 > VL1 > Athabasca > Isidis > Hematite (about 1 degree). We also map the scaling parameter (Hurst exponent); its behavior in the MER landing site regions is

  15. CONVECTION REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Hammond, R.P.; King, L.D.P.

    1960-03-22

    An homogeneous nuclear power reactor utilizing convection circulation of the liquid fuel is proposed. The reactor has an internal heat exchanger looated in the same pressure vessel as the critical assembly, thereby eliminating necessity for handling the hot liquid fuel outside the reactor pressure vessel during normal operation. The liquid fuel used in this reactor eliminates the necessity for extensive radiolytic gas rocombination apparatus, and the reactor is resiliently pressurized and, without any movable mechanical apparatus, automatically regulates itself to the condition of criticality during moderate variations in temperature snd pressure and shuts itself down as the pressure exceeds a predetermined safe operating value.

  16. Research reactors

    SciTech Connect

    Tonneson, L.C.; Fox, G.J.

    1996-04-01

    There are currently 284 research reactors in operation, and 12 under construction around the world. Of the operating reactors, nearly two-thirds are used exclusively for research, and the rest for a variety of purposes, including training, testing, and critical assembly. For more than 50 years, research reactor programs have contributed greatly to the scientific and educational communities. Today, six of the world`s research reactors are being shut down, three of which are in the USA. With government budget constraints and the growing proliferation concerns surrounding the use of highly enriched uranium in some of these reactors, the future of nuclear research could be impacted.

  17. Path Following with Slip Compensation for a Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  18. 78 FR 19742 - Centennial Challenges: 2014 Night Rover Challenge

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-04-02

    ... Night Rover Challenge is a prize competition designed to encourage development of new energy storage... environments. Competitors will need to demonstrate high energy density storage systems (>330w-hr/kg) that would... Challenge will be conducted in an ambient Earth environment in a NASA test chamber. The Phase I...

  19. Mars Exploration Rover surface mission flight thermal performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  20. Autonomous navigation and mobility for a planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Miller, David P.; Mishkin, Andrew H.; Lambert, Kenneth E.; Bickler, Donald; Bernard, Douglas E.

    1989-01-01

    This paper presents an overview of the onboard subsystems that will be used in guiding a planetary rover. Particular emphasis is placed on the planning and sensing systems and their associated costs, particularly in computation. Issues that will be used in evaluating trades between the navigation system and mobility system are also presented.

  1. Li-ion rechargeable batteries on Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  2. Mars Exploration Rover mobility and robotic arm operational performance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-12-01

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

  4. Using a Multicore Processor for Rover Autonomous Science

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2011-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Carr, Michael H.

    1992-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  7. In-Situ Pointing Correction and Rover Microlocalization

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Deen, Robert G.; Lorre, Jean J.

    2010-01-01

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

  8. NASA Selects Mars Exploration Program Rover for 2003 Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2000-01-01

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

  9. Mars Rover/Sample Return - Phase A cost estimation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stancati, Michael L.; Spadoni, Daniel J.

    1990-01-01

    This paper presents a preliminary cost estimate for the design and development of the Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) mission. The estimate was generated using a modeling tool specifically built to provide useful cost estimates from design parameters of the type and fidelity usually available during early phases of mission design. The model approach and its application to MRSR are described.

  10. A Prototype Manipulation System for Mars Rover Science Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Volpe, R.; Ohm, T.; Petras, R.; Welch, R.; Ivlev, R.

    1997-01-01

    This paper provides an overview of a new manipulation system developed for sampling and instrument placement from small autonomous mobile robots for Mars exploration. Selected out of the design space, two manipulators have been constructed and integrated into the Rocky 7 Mars rover prototype. This paper describes objectives and constraints for these manipulators, and presents the finished system and some results from its operation.

  11. Autonomous Vision-Based Manipulation from a Rover Platform

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nesnas, I.; Maimone, M.; Das, H.

    1999-01-01

    Current rover designs use on-board manipulators to enhance their capabilities for planetary exploration and in-situ science. In this paper, we describe how these manipulators can be used to perform two types of operations: rock sample aquisition for return to earth and instrument placement for in-situ science meausrements.

  12. 2D/3D Visual Tracker for Rover Mast

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stevenson, Steven M.

    1997-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrisman, B.; Zreda, M.

    2013-06-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevenson, Steven M.

    1997-07-01

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

  18. Lunar rover technology demonstrations with Dante and Ratler

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1994-10-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1987-01-01

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

  20. Lunar rover technology demonstrations with Dante and Ratler

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2014-04-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Garg, Akshay; Singh, Amit

    2012-07-01

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

  5. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fraas, A.P.; Mills, C.B.

    1961-11-21

    A neutronic reactor in which neutron moderation is achieved primarily in its reflector is described. The reactor structure consists of a cylindrical central "island" of moderator and a spherical moderating reflector spaced therefrom, thereby providing an annular space. An essentially unmoderated liquid fuel is continuously passed through the annular space and undergoes fission while contained therein. The reactor, because of its small size, is particularly adapted for propulsion uses, including the propulsion of aircraft. (AEC)

  6. REACTOR COOLING

    DOEpatents

    Quackenbush, C.F.

    1959-09-29

    A nuclear reactor with provisions for selectively cooling the fuel elements is described. The reactor has a plurality of tubes extending throughout. Cylindrical fuel elements are disposed within the tubes and the coolant flows through the tubes and around the fuel elements. The fuel elements within the central portion of the reactor are provided with roughened surfaces of material. The fuel elements in the end portions of the tubes within the reactor are provlded with low conduction jackets and the fuel elements in the region between the central portion and the end portions are provided with smooth surfaces of high heat conduction material.

  7. RATLER: Robotic All-Terrain Lunar Exploration Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2015-01-01

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

  9. Students Work Alongside Scientists to Test Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2003-01-01

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

  10. Flexible Rover Architecture for Science Instrument Integration and Testing

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  11. Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project Environmental Assurance Program

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Man, Kin F.; Farguson, Christine T.; Hoffman, Alan R.

    2004-08-01

    A comprehensive prelaunch environmental assurance program was planned and implemented on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project. This project consisted of two rovers/spacecraft launched on two separate launch vehicles. The environmental assurance program included assembly/subsystem and system-level testing in the areas of dynamics, thermal, and electromagnetic (EMC), as well as venting/pressure, dust, radiation, and micrometeoroid analyses. Due to the Martian diurnal cycles, the susceptible hardware also underwent thermal cycling qualification of their packaging designs and manufacturing processes. This paper presents a comprehensive summary of the environmental assurance program for the MER project. A series of test and analysis metrics are generated. Selections of the numerous lessons that have been learned from implementation of the MER environmental assurance program are documented in this paper. They include both technical and programmatic lessons that would be helpful in improving implementation of the environmental program for future projects.

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

    PubMed

    Yeomans, Brian; Saaj, Chakravathini M

    2014-03-01

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

  13. Demonstrating xLuna on ESA EXOMADER Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Braga, P.

    2012-01-01

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

  14. Selecting landing sites for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grant, John A.; Golombek, Matthew P.; Parker, Timothy J.; Crisp, Joy A.; Squyres, Steven W.; Weitz, Catherine M.

    2004-01-01

    A two-plus year process of identifying and evaluating landing sites for the NASA 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers began with definition of mission science objectives, preliminary engineering requirements, and identification of ˜155 potential sites in near-equator locations (these included multiple ellipses for locations accessible by both rovers). Four open workshops were used together with ongoing engineering evaluations to narrow the list of sites to four: Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater were ranked highest for science, with southern Isidis Basin and a "wind safe" site in Elysium following in order. Based on exhaustive community assessment, these sites comprise the best-studied locales on Mars and should possess attributes enabling mission success.

  15. Autonomous Rock Tracking and Acquisition from a Mars Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Malafeew, Eric; Kaliardos, William

    1994-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zilberstein, Shlomo

    2004-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wales, Roxana C.

    2005-01-01

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

  19. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Metcalf, H.E.; Johnson, H.W.

    1961-04-01

    BS>A nuclear reactor incorporating fuel rods passing through a moderator and including tubes of a material of higher Thermal conductivity than the fuel in contact with the fuel is described. The tubes extend beyond the active portion of the reactor into contant with a fiuld coolant.

  20. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.

    1958-04-22

    A nuclear reactor for isotope production is described. This reactor is designed to provide a maximum thermal neutron flux in a region adjacent to the periphery of the reactor rather than in the center of the reactor. The core of the reactor is generally centrally located with respect tn a surrounding first reflector, constructed of beryllium. The beryllium reflector is surrounded by a second reflector, constructed of graphite, which, in tune, is surrounded by a conventional thermal shield. Water is circulated through the core and the reflector and functions both as a moderator and a coolant. In order to produce a greatsr maximum thermal neutron flux adjacent to the periphery of the reactor rather than in the core, the reactor is designed so tbat the ratio of neutron scattering cross section to neutron absorption cross section averaged over all of the materials in the reflector is approximately twice the ratio of neutron scattering cross section to neutron absorption cross section averaged over all of the material of the core of the reactor.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Gavin, Andrew S.; Brooks, Rodney A.

    1994-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1988-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Lawler, A; MacNeil, J

    2000-08-18

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

  4. Lithium-sulfur dioxide batteries on Mars rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bianciardi, Giorgio; Rizzo, Vincenzo; Cantasano, Nicola

    2015-04-01

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

  6. GIS Methodology for Planning Planetary-Rover Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2007-01-01

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

  7. Tele-Operated Lunar Rover Navigation Using Lidar

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2012-01-01

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

  8. Mars Exploration Rover Spirit End of Mission Report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Callas, John L.

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    1998-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Billing, Rius

    2003-09-01

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

  11. Maximizing Rover Science Return Through Autonomous Onboard Data Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Anderson, R. C.; Castano, R.; Judd, M.; Estlin, T.; Gaines, D.; Mazzoni, D.; Fisher, F.; Bornstein, B.; Castano, A.; Scharenbroich, L.; Song, L.; Gilmore, M.

    2003-12-01

    There are three recognized approaches to maximizing the amount of science data in future missions: 1) return more data to Earth by increasing the capability of the Deep Space Network (DSN) to receive higher volumes of data, 2) develop data compression techniques to transmit more information per bit and, 3) increase the quality of the data returned to Earth by analyzing and prioritizing data onboard to identify key data for downlink. The goal of the Onboard Autonomous Science Investigation System (OASIS) is to increase the science return using onboard algorithms to evaluate and prioritize science information collected during a long traverse by a rover. The system has varying levels of autonomous operations. The least intrusive operational level provides two products: a prioritized list of images for downlink and a table summarizing the data collected between communication opportunities. In this scenario, the system analyzes rover data that are already collected for engineering purposes, such as navigation images, to determine what information is the most important to send back to Earth. The system's highest operational level autonomously directs the rover to select which surface targets to explore further, alter its path, and take additional measurements, which may even include contact measurements. In between these two extremes, a number of other system scenarios exist. It is not our intention to replace the scientists on robotic missions, but rather to improve the science return by making smart decisions regarding which data to collect and return.

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

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

  13. A Venus Rover Capable of Long Life Surface Operations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Evans, M.; Shirley, J. H.; Abelson, R. D.

    2005-12-01

    Access to the surface of Venus would allow planetary scientists to address a number of currently open questions. Among these are the elemental and mineralogical composition of the surface; the interaction of the surface with the atmosphere; the atmospheric composition, especially isotope ratios of key species; the nature of the planetary volcanism (present activity, emissions to the atmosphere, and composition); planetary seismicity; the local surface meteorology (winds and pressure variability); and the surface geology and morphology at particular locations on the surface. A long lived Venus rover mission could be enabled by utilizing a novel Stirling engine system for both cooling and electric power. Previous missions to the Venus surface, including the Pioneer Venus and Venera missions, survived for only a few hours. The rover concept described in the present study is designed for a surface lifetime of 60 days, with the potential of operating well beyond that. A Thermo-Acoustic Stirling Heat Engine (TASHE) would convert the high-temperature (~1200 °C) heat from General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) modules into acoustic power which then drives a linear alternator and a pulse tube cooler to provide electric power and remove the large environmental heat load. The "cold" side of the engine would be furnished by the ambient atmosphere at 460 °C. This short study focused on the feasibility of using the TASHE system in this hostile environment to power a ~650 kg rover that would provide a mobile platform for science measurements. The instrument suite would collect data on atmospheric and surface composition, surface stratigraphy, and subsurface structure. An Earth-Venus-Venus trajectory would be used to deliver the rover to a low entry angle allowing an inflated ballute to provide a low deceleration and low heat descent to the surface. All rover systems would be housed in a pressure vessel in vacuum with the internal temperature maintained by the TASHE below 50 °C. No

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-11-01

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

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrisman, B.; Zreda, M.

    2013-12-01

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

  17. Accessing Information on the Mars Exploration Rovers Mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2005-12-01

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

  18. Remote image analysis for Mars Exploration Rover mobility and manipulation operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leger, Chris; Deen, Robert G.; Bonitz, Robert G.

    2005-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are two sixwheeled, 175-kg robotic vehicles which have operated on Mars for over a year as of March 2005. The rovers are controlled by teams who must understand the rover's surroundings and develop command sequences on a daily basis. The tight tactical planning timeline and everchanging environment call for tools that allow quick assessment of potential manipulator targets and traverse goals, since command sequences must be developed in a matter of hours after receipt of new data from the rovers. Reachability maps give a visual indication of which targets are reachable by each rover's manipulator, while slope and solar energy maps show the rover operator which terrain areas are safe and unsafe from different standpoints.

  19. Recent Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity Pancam Instruments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, James F., III; Arvidson, Raymond; Farrand, William; Johnson, Jeffrey; Rice, James; Rice, Melissa; Ruff, Steven; Squyres, Steven; Wang, Alian

    2013-04-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Panoramic Camera (Pancam) instruments [1] are multispectral, stereoscopic CCD cameras that have acquired high resolution color images from the Spirit rover field site in Gusev crater and the Opportunity rover field site in Meridiani Planum. Spirit's mission ended in March 2010 after 2209 sols of operation and acquisition of more than 81,000 Pancam images. Opportunity's mission is ongoing, now spanning more than 3180 sols of operation as of early January 2013. As of this writing, the Opportunity Pancam instruments have acquired more than 106,000 images. Approximately 21% of those images have been acquired as part of 11-color multispectral "image cubes" used to characterize the color properties of the surface and atmosphere at wavelengths between 432 and 1009 nm. Most of the remainder of the imaging part of the rovers' downlink (which is the vast majority of the overall downlink) has been used for monochrome or limited-filter tactical imaging of targets of interest, stereo Navcam or Hazcam imaging in support of rover driving and/or rover arm instrument chemical, mineralogical, or Microscopic Imager measurements, photometric experiments, atmospheric dynamics and aerosol observations, and even occasional astronomical observations like solar transits of Phobos and Deimos. Less than 2% of the downlinked bits have been used for calibration observations (bias, dark current, flatfield, calibration target) over the course of the mission. During the past Mars year, Opportunity arrived at Cape York, a northwestern segment of the rim of 22 km diameter Endeavour crater, and has been used to characterize the geology, geochemistry, and mineralogy of this ancient Noachian terrain. Pancam multispectral images have provided important data with which to help identify basaltic impact breccias within the crater rim materials, as well as gypsum-rich veins within the Meridiani plains sedimentary rocks adjacent to the rim. The continuing study of light

  20. Compact Reactor

    SciTech Connect

    Williams, Pharis E.

    2007-01-30

    Weyl's Gauge Principle of 1929 has been used to establish Weyl's Quantum Principle (WQP) that requires that the Weyl scale factor should be unity. It has been shown that the WQP requires the following: quantum mechanics must be used to determine system states; the electrostatic potential must be non-singular and quantified; interactions between particles with different electric charges (i.e. electron and proton) do not obey Newton's Third Law at sub-nuclear separations, and nuclear particles may be much different than expected using the standard model. The above WQP requirements lead to a potential fusion reactor wherein deuterium nuclei are preferentially fused into helium nuclei. Because the deuterium nuclei are preferentially fused into helium nuclei at temperatures and energies lower than specified by the standard model there is no harmful radiation as a byproduct of this fusion process. Therefore, a reactor using this reaction does not need any shielding to contain such radiation. The energy released from each reaction and the absence of shielding makes the deuterium-plus-deuterium-to-helium (DDH) reactor very compact when compared to other reactors, both fission and fusion types. Moreover, the potential energy output per reactor weight and the absence of harmful radiation makes the DDH reactor an ideal candidate for space power. The logic is summarized by which the WQP requires the above conditions that make the prediction of DDH possible. The details of the DDH reaction will be presented along with the specifics of why the DDH reactor may be made to cause two deuterium nuclei to preferentially fuse to a helium nucleus. The presentation will also indicate the calculations needed to predict the reactor temperature as a function of fuel loading, reactor size, and desired output and will include the progress achieved to date.

  1. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Moore, R.V.; Bowen, J.H.; Dent, K.H.

    1958-12-01

    A heterogeneous, natural uranium fueled, solid moderated, gas cooled reactor is described, in which the fuel elements are in the form of elongated rods and are dlsposed within vertical coolant channels ln the moderator symmetrically arranged as a regular lattice in groups. This reactor employs control rods which operate in vertical channels in the moderator so that each control rod is centered in one of the fuel element groups. The reactor is enclosed in a pressure vessel which ls provided with access holes at the top to facilitate loading and unloadlng of the fuel elements, control rods and control rod driving devices.

  2. Design and Laboratory Implementation of Autonomous Optimal Motion Planning for Non-Holonomic Planetary Rovers

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2012-12-01

    LABORATORY IMPLEMENTATION OF AUTONOMOUS OPTIMAL MOTION PLANNING FOR NON-HOLONOMIC PLANETARY ROVERS by Travis K. Bateman December 2012 Thesis Co...MOTION PLANNING FOR NON-HOLONOMIC PLANETARY ROVERS 5. FUNDING NUMBERS 6. AUTHOR(S) Travis K. Bateman 7. PERFORMING ORGANIZATION NAME(S) AND... planetary rover. The optimal trajectories were implemented at the Control and Optimization Laboratories with a TRAXXAS remote controlled vehicle modified

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1999-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Washington, Richard

    2000-01-01

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

  6. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Miller, H.I.; Smith, R.C.

    1958-01-21

    This patent relates to nuclear reactors of the type which use a liquid fuel, such as a solution of uranyl sulfate in ordinary water which acts as the moderator. The reactor is comprised of a spherical vessel having a diameter of about 12 inches substantially surrounded by a reflector of beryllium oxide. Conventionnl control rods and safety rods are operated in slots in the reflector outside the vessel to control the operation of the reactor. An additional means for increasing the safety factor of the reactor by raising the ratio of delayed neutrons to prompt neutrons, is provided and consists of a soluble sulfate salt of beryllium dissolved in the liquid fuel in the proper proportion to obtain the result desired.

  7. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Anderson, H.L.

    1960-09-20

    A nuclear reactor is described comprising fissionable material dispersed in graphite blocks, helium filling the voids of the blocks and the spaces therebetween, and means other than the helium in thermal conductive contact with the graphite for removing heat.

  8. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Hurwitz, H. Jr.; Brooks, H.; Mannal, C.; Payne, J.H.; Luebke, E.A.

    1959-03-24

    A reactor of the heterogeneous, liquid cooled type is described. This reactor is comprised of a central region of a plurality of vertically disposed elongated tubes surrounded by a region of moderator material. The central region is comprised of a central core surrounded by a reflector region which is surrounded by a fast neutron absorber region, which in turn is surrounded by a slow neutron absorber region. Liquid sodium is used as the primary coolant and circulates through the core which contains the fuel elements. Control of the reactor is accomplished by varying the ability of the reflector region to reflect neutrons back into the core of the reactor. For this purpose the reflector is comprised of moderator and control elements having varying effects on reactivity, the control elements being arranged and actuated by groups to give regulation, shim, and safety control.

  9. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fermi, E.

    1960-04-01

    A nuclear reactor is described consisting of blocks of graphite arranged in layers, natural uranium bodies disposed in holes in alternate layers of graphite blocks, and coolant tubes disposed in the layers of graphite blocks which do not contain uranium.

  10. NEUTRONIC REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.

    1960-11-22

    A nuclear reactor is described wherein horizontal rods of thermal- neutron-fissionable material are disposed in a body of heavy water and extend through and are supported by spaced parallel walls of graphite.

  11. REACTOR SHIELD

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.; Ohlinger, L.E.; Young, G.J.; Weinberg, A.M.

    1959-02-17

    Radiation shield construction is described for a nuclear reactor. The shield is comprised of a plurality of steel plates arranged in parallel spaced relationship within a peripheral shell. Reactor coolant inlet tubes extend at right angles through the plates and baffles are arranged between the plates at right angles thereto and extend between the tubes to create a series of zigzag channels between the plates for the circulation of coolant fluid through the shield. The shield may be divided into two main sections; an inner section adjacent the reactor container and an outer section spaced therefrom. Coolant through the first section may be circulated at a faster rate than coolant circulated through the outer section since the area closest to the reactor container is at a higher temperature and is more radioactive. The two sections may have separate cooling systems to prevent the coolant in the outer section from mixing with the more contaminated coolant in the inner section.

  12. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Sherman, J.; Sharbaugh, J.E.; Fauth, W.L. Jr.; Palladino, N.J.; DeHuff, P.G.

    1962-10-23

    A nuclear reactor incorporating seed and blanket assemblies is designed. Means are provided for obtaining samples of the coolant from the blanket assemblies and for varying the flow of coolant through the blanket assemblies. (AEC)

  13. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Breden, C.R.; Dietrich, J.R.

    1961-06-20

    A water-soluble non-volatile poison may be introduced into a reactor to nullify excess reactivity. The poison is removed by passing a side stream of the water containing the soluble poison to an evaporation chamber. The vapor phase is returned to the reactor to decrease the concentration of soluble poison and the liquid phase is returned to increase the concentration of soluble poison.

  14. NEUTRONIC REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Vernon, H.C.

    1959-01-13

    A neutronic reactor of the heterogeneous, fluid cooled tvpe is described. The reactor is comprised of a pressure vessel containing the moderator and a plurality of vertically disposed channels extending in spaced relationship through the moderator. Fissionable fuel material is placed within the channels in spaced relationship thereto to permit circulation of the coolant fluid. Separate means are provided for cooling the moderator and for circulating a fluid coolant thru the channel elements to cool the fuel material.

  15. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Anderson, C.R.

    1962-07-24

    A fluidized bed nuclear reactor and a method of operating such a reactor are described. In the design means are provided for flowing a liquid moderator upwardly through the center of a bed of pellets of a nentron-fissionable material at such a rate as to obtain particulate fluidization while constraining the lower pontion of the bed into a conical shape. A smooth circulation of particles rising in the center and falling at the outside of the bed is thereby established. (AEC)

  16. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Grebe, J.J.

    1959-07-14

    High temperature reactors which are uniquely adapted to serve as the heat source for nuclear pcwered rockets are described. The reactor is comprised essentially of an outer tubular heat resistant casing which provides the main coolant passageway to and away from the reactor core within the casing and in which the working fluid is preferably hydrogen or helium gas which is permitted to vaporize from a liquid storage tank. The reactor core has a generally spherical shape formed entirely of an active material comprised of fissile material and a moderator material which serves as a diluent. The active material is fabricated as a gas permeable porous material and is interlaced in a random manner with very small inter-connecting bores or capillary tubes through which the coolant gas may flow. The entire reactor is divided into successive sections along the direction of the temperature gradient or coolant flow, each section utilizing materials of construction which are most advantageous from a nuclear standpoint and which at the same time can withstand the operating temperature of that particular zone. This design results in a nuclear reactor characterized simultaneously by a minimum critiral size and mass and by the ability to heat a working fluid to an extremely high temperature.

  17. Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2003-12-01

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

  18. Measuring Total Surface Moisture with the COSMOS Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chrisman, B. B.; Zreda, M.; Franz, T. E.; Rosolem, R.

    2012-12-01

    The COSMOS rover is the mobile application of the cosmic-ray soil moisture probe. By quantifying the relative amount of the hydrogen molecules within the instrument's support volume (~335 m radius in air, 10-70 cm depth in soil) the instrument makes an area-average surface moisture measurement. We call this measurement "total surface moisture". Quantifying hydrogen in all major stocks (soils, infrastructure, vegetation, and water vapor) allows for an isolation of the volumetric fraction of the exchangeable surface moisture. By isolating the hydrogen molecule we can measure the exchangeable surface moisture over all land cover types including those with built-up infrastructure and dense vegetation; two environments which have been challenging to existing technologies. . The cosmic-ray rover has the capability to improve hydrologic, climate, and weather models by parameterizing the exchangeable surface moisture status over complex landscapes. It can also fill a gap in the verification and development processes of surface moisture satellite missions, such as SMOS and SMAP. In our current research program, 2D transects are produced twice a week and 3D maps are produced once a week during the 2012 monsoon season (July-September) within the Tucson Basin. The 40 km x 40 km area includes four land cover classes; developed, scrub (natural Sonoran Desert), crops, and evergreen forest. The different land cover types show significant differences in their surface moisture behavior with irrigation acting as the largest controlling factor in the developed and crop areas. In addition we investigated the use of the cosmic-ray rover data to verify/compare with satellite derived soil moisture. A Maximum Entropy model is being used to create soil moisture profiles from shallow surface measurements (SMOS data). With the cosmic-ray penetration depth and weighting function known, the satellite measurement can be interpolated, weighted and compared with the cosmic-ray measurement when the

  19. Investigation of a Major Stratigraphic Unconformity with the Curiosity Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lewis, K. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Rubin, D. M.

    2015-12-01

    Since its departure from the plains of Aeolis Palus, the Curiosity rover has traversed through a number of new geologic units at the base of Mount Sharp in Gale crater. These have included both units inferred to comprise the lower strata of Mount Sharp itself, along with units that appear to superpose Mount Sharp. Over the last 100 sols, Curiosity has documented several occurrences of a stratigraphic contact between fine-grained mudstones of the Murray Formation, and coarser sandstones of the overlying Stimson Unit. Detailed mapping from both orbital and rover image and topographic data suggests an unconformable relationship between the two units. From orbit, inferred exposures of the unconformity span at least several tens of meters, climbing up the lowermost slopes of Mount Sharp. Although the absolute timing of the two units is poorly constrained, this unconformity between likely represents a geologically significant gap in time. Deposition of the overlying Stimson Unit is inferred to post-date the large-scale erosion of Mount Sharp, likely requiring late stage aqueous interaction in the lithification of the Stimson Unit. From the rover, stereo imaging reveals the small-scale topography preserved at the Murray-Stimson contact, and allows the determination of bedding geometries within the units. Where laminations are expressed, the basal Mount Sharp rocks exhibit planar stratification at low angles to horizontal. In contrast, the coarser-grained Stimson Unit exhibits large-scale cross stratification. Three dimensional bedding geometry within this unit indicates a predominant southward transport direction uphill towards Mount Sharp. The observation of rounded calcium sulfate clasts in the lowermost Stimson Unit, interpreted to be reworked veins from the underlying Murray formation, supports the interpretation of an erosional unconformity. Investigations at the boundary between these two distinct units present a unique opportunity to probe the long

  20. Evolving Multi Rover Systems in Dynamic and Noisy Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tumer, Kagan; Agogino, Adrian

    2005-01-01

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

  1. Design and Structural Analysis of Mars Rover RTG

    SciTech Connect

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

    1989-09-29

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

  2. Science Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    SciTech Connect

    Squyres, Steven

    2007-10-05

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

  3. Surficial deposits at Gusev crater along Spirit Rover traverses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

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

  4. Surficial deposits at Gusev Crater along Spirit Rover traverses.

    PubMed

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

    2004-08-06

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

  5. Wheels and Suspension on Mars Science Laboratory Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2008-01-01

    This image from August 2008 shows NASA's Mars Science Laboratory rover in the course of its assembly, before additions of its arm, mast, laboratory instruments and other equipment.

    The six wheels are half a meter (20 inches) in diameter. The deck is 1.1 meter (3.6 feet) above the ground.

    The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is being assembled and tested for launch in 2011.

    This image was taken at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., which manages the Mars Science Laboratory Mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.

  6. Exploration of Victoria crater by the Mars rover Opportunity.

    PubMed

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

    2009-05-22

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

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

  8. Exploration of Victoria crater by the mars rover opportunity

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2009-01-01

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

  9. Panoramic 3d Vision on the ExoMars Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Paar, G.; Griffiths, A. D.; Barnes, D. P.; Coates, A. J.; Jaumann, R.; Oberst, J.; Gao, Y.; Ellery, A.; Li, R.

    The Pasteur payload on the ESA ExoMars Rover 2011/2013 is designed to search for evidence of extant or extinct life either on or up to ˜2 m below the surface of Mars. The rover will be equipped by a panoramic imaging system to be developed by a UK, German, Austrian, Swiss, Italian and French team for visual characterization of the rover's surroundings and (in conjunction with an infrared imaging spectrometer) remote detection of potential sample sites. The Panoramic Camera system consists of a wide angle multispectral stereo pair with 65° field-of-view (WAC; 1.1 mrad/pixel) and a high resolution monoscopic camera (HRC; current design having 59.7 µrad/pixel with 3.5° field-of-view) . Its scientific goals and operational requirements can be summarized as follows: • Determination of objects to be investigated in situ by other instruments for operations planning • Backup and Support for the rover visual navigation system (path planning, determination of subsequent rover positions and orientation/tilt within the 3d environment), and localization of the landing site (by stellar navigation or by combination of orbiter and ground panoramic images) • Geological characterization (using narrow band geology filters) and cartography of the local environments (local Digital Terrain Model or DTM). • Study of atmospheric properties and variable phenomena near the Martian surface (e.g. aerosol opacity, water vapour column density, clouds, dust devils, meteors, surface frosts,) 1 • Geodetic studies (observations of Sun, bright stars, Phobos/Deimos). The performance of 3d data processing is a key element of mission planning and scientific data analysis. The 3d Vision Team within the Panoramic Camera development Consortium reports on the current status of development, consisting of the following items: • Hardware Layout & Engineering: The geometric setup of the system (location on the mast & viewing angles, mutual mounting between WAC and HRC) needs to be optimized w

  10. A six-legged rover for planetary exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Simmons, Reid; Krotkov, Eric; Bares, John

    1991-01-01

    To survive the rigors and isolation of planetary exploration, an autonomous rover must be competent, reliable, and efficient. This paper presents the Ambler, a six-legged robot featuring orthogonal legs and a novel circulating gait, which has been designed for traversal of rugged, unknown environments. An autonomous software system that integrates perception, planning, and real-time control has been developed to walk the Ambler through obstacle strewn terrain. The paper describes the information and control flow of the walking system, and how the design of the mechanism and software combine to achieve competent walking, reliable behavior in the face of unexpected failures, and efficient utilization of time and power.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  12. An advanced terrain modeler for an autonomous planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hunter, E. L.

    1980-01-01

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

  13. Challenges of Rover Navigation at the Lunar Poles

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  15. Experiments with a small behaviour controlled planetary rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1993-01-01

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

  16. Mars Exploration Rover potentiometer problems, failures and lessons learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Balzer, Mark A.

    2006-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Balzer, Mark

    2006-01-01

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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    1998-01-01

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

  19. Dust Accumulation and Solar Panel Array Performance on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Turgay, Eren H.

    2004-01-01

    One of the most fundamental design considerations for any space vehicle is its power supply system. Many options exist, including batteries, fuel cells, nuclear reactors, radioisotopic thermal generators (RTGs), and solar panel arrays. Solar arrays have many advantages over other types of power generation. They are lightweight and relatively inexpensive, allowing more mass and funding to be allocated for other important devices, such as scientific instruments. For Mars applications, solar power is an excellent option, especially for long missions. One might think that dust storms would be a problem; however, while dust blocks some solar energy, it also scatters it, making it diffuse rather than beamed. Solar cells are still able to capture this diffuse energy and convert it into substantial electrical power. For these reasons, solar power was chosen to be used on the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The success of this mission set a precedent, as NASA engineers have selected solar power as the energy system of choice for all future Mars missions, including the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project. Solar sells have their drawbacks, however. They are difficult to manufacture and are relatively fragile. In addition, solar cells are highly sensitive to different parts of the solar spectrum, and finding the correct balance is crucial to the success of space missions. Another drawback is that the power generated is not a constant with respect to time, but rather changes with the relative angle to the sun. On Mars, dust accumulation also becomes a factor. Over time, dust settles out of the atmosphere and onto solar panels. This dust blocks and shifts the frequency of the incoming light, degrading solar cell performance. My goal is to analyze solar panel telemetry data from the two MERs (Spirit and Opportunity) in an effort to accurately model the effect of dust accumulation on solar panels. This is no easy process due to the large number of factors involved. Changing solar

  20. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Ohlinger, L.A.; Wigner, E.P.; Weinberg, A.M.; Young, G.J.

    1958-09-01

    This patent relates to neutronic reactors of the heterogeneous water cooled type, and in particular to a fuel element charging and discharging means therefor. In the embodiment illustrated the reactor contains horizontal, parallel coolant tubes in which the fuel elements are disposed. A loading cart containing a magnzine for holding a plurality of fuel elements operates along the face of the reactor at the inlet ends of the coolant tubes. The loading cart is equipped with a ram device for feeding fuel elements from the magazine through the inlot ends of the coolant tubes. Operating along the face adjacent the discharge ends of the tubes there is provided another cart means adapted to receive irradiated fuel elements as they are forced out of the discharge ends of the coolant tubes by the incoming new fuel elements. This cart is equipped with a tank coataining a coolant, such as water, into which the fuel elements fall, and a hydraulically operated plunger to hold the end of the fuel element being discharged. This inveation provides an apparatus whereby the fuel elements may be loaded into the reactor, irradiated therein, and unloaded from the reactor without stopping the fiow of the coolant and without danger to the operating personnel.

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Copeman, Peter; Keightley, Polly

    2014-01-01

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

  2. Rover Technology Development and Infusion for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Volpe, R.; Peters, S.

    2003-01-01

    After the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Mission, NASA plans to send a larger, longer life Mobile Science Laboratory (MSL) in 2009. This rover is planned to last 500 days, travel ten kilometers, and demonstrate autonomous capabilities that reduce the number of communication cycles now needed to achieve successful completion of activities on the surface.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2013-01-01

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

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2001-01-01

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

  7. Development of Autonomous Optimal Cooperative Control in Relay Rover Configured Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

    DTIC Science & Technology

    2013-03-01

    integrated into ground control software that takes telemetry data (the current position of the ground station , rover UAV, and relay UAV) to determine...where to navigate the relay aircraft for optimal communication signal strength. The ground station operator flies the rover aircraft in the extended line...

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2003-01-01

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

  9. POWER REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Zinn, W.H.

    1958-07-01

    A fast nuclear reactor system ls described for producing power and radioactive isotopes. The reactor core is of the heterogeneous, fluid sealed type comprised of vertically arranged elongated tubular fuel elements having vertical coolant passages. The active portion is surrounded by a neutron reflector and a shield. The system includes pumps and heat exchangers for the primary and secondary coolant circuits. The core, primary coolant pump and primary heat exchanger are disposed within an irapenforate tank which is filled with the primary coolant, in this case a liquid metal such as Na or NaK, to completely submerge these elements. The tank is completely surrounded by a thick walled concrete shield. This reactor system utilizes enriched uranium or plutonium as the fissionable material, uranium or thorium as a diluent and thorium or uranium containing less than 0 7% of the U/sup 235/ isotope as a fertile material.

  10. REACTOR CONTROL

    DOEpatents

    Fortescue, P.; Nicoll, D.

    1962-04-24

    A control system employed with a high pressure gas cooled reactor in which a control rod is positioned for upward and downward movement into the neutron field from a position beneath the reactor is described. The control rod is positioned by a coupled piston cylinder releasably coupled to a power drive means and the pressurized coolant is directed against the lower side of the piston. The coolant pressure is offset by a higher fiuid pressure applied to the upper surface of the piston and means are provided for releasing the higher pressure on the upper side of the piston so that the pressure of the coolant drives the piston upwardly, forcing the coupled control rod into the ncutron field of the reactor. (AEC)

  11. Bioconversion reactor

    DOEpatents

    McCarty, Perry L.; Bachmann, Andre

    1992-01-01

    A bioconversion reactor for the anaerobic fermentation of organic material. The bioconversion reactor comprises a shell enclosing a predetermined volume, an inlet port through which a liquid stream containing organic materials enters the shell, and an outlet port through which the stream exits the shell. A series of vertical and spaced-apart baffles are positioned within the shell to force the stream to flow under and over them as it passes from the inlet to the outlet port. The baffles present a barrier to the microorganisms within the shell causing them to rise and fall within the reactor but to move horizontally at a very slow rate. Treatment detention times of one day or less are possible.

  12. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Christy, R.F.

    1958-07-15

    A nuclear reactor of the homogeneous liquid fuel type is described wherein the fissionable isotope is suspended or dissolved in a liquid moderator such as water. The reactor core is comprised essentially of a spherical vessel for containing the reactive composition surrounded by a reflector, preferably of beryllium oxide. The reactive composition may be an ordinary water solution of a soluble salt of uranium, the quantity of fissionable isotope in solution being sufficient to provide a critical mass in the vessel. The liquid fuel is stored in a tank of non-crtttcal geometry below the reactor vessel and outside of the reflector and is passed from the tank to the vessel through a pipe connecting the two by air pressure means. Neutron absorbing control and safety rods are operated within slots in the reflector adjacent to the vessel.

  13. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Metcalf, H.E.

    1957-10-01

    A reactor of the type which preferably uses plutonium as the fuel and a liquid moderator, preferably ordinary water, and which produces steam within the reactor core due to the heat of the chain reaction is described. In the reactor shown the fuel elements are essentially in the form of trays and are ventically stacked in spaced relationship. The water moderator is continuously supplied to the trays to maintain a constant level on the upper surfaces of the fuel element as it is continually evaporated by the heat. The steam passes out through the spaces between the fuel elements and is drawn off at the top of the core. The fuel elements are clad in aluminum to prevent deterioration thereof with consequent contamimation of the water.

  14. NEUTRONIC REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.; Young, G.J.

    1958-10-14

    A method is presented for loading and unloading rod type fuel elements of a neutronic reactor of the heterogeneous, solld moderator, liquid cooled type. In the embodiment illustrated, the fuel rods are disposed in vertical coolant channels in the reactor core. The fuel rods are loaded and unloaded through the upper openings of the channels which are immersed in the coolant liquid, such as water. Unloading is accomplished by means of a coffer dam assembly having an outer sleeve which is placed in sealing relation around the upper opening. A radiation shield sleeve is disposed in and reciprocable through the coffer dam sleeve. A fuel rod engaging member operates through the axial bore in the radiation shield sleeve to withdraw the fuel rod from its position in the reactor coolant channel into the shield, the shield snd rod then being removed. Loading is accomplished in the reverse procedure.

  15. Catalytic reactor

    SciTech Connect

    Aaron, Timothy Mark; Shah, Minish Mahendra; Jibb, Richard John

    2009-03-10

    A catalytic reactor is provided with one or more reaction zones each formed of set(s) of reaction tubes containing a catalyst to promote chemical reaction within a feed stream. The reaction tubes are of helical configuration and are arranged in a substantially coaxial relationship to form a coil-like structure. Heat exchangers and steam generators can be formed by similar tube arrangements. In such manner, the reaction zone(s) and hence, the reactor is compact and the pressure drop through components is minimized. The resultant compact form has improved heat transfer characteristics and is far easier to thermally insulate than prior art compact reactor designs. Various chemical reactions are contemplated within such coil-like structures such that as steam methane reforming followed by water-gas shift. The coil-like structures can be housed within annular chambers of a cylindrical housing that also provide flow paths for various heat exchange fluids to heat and cool components.

  16. Environmental Test Program for the Mars Exploration Rover Project

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fisher, Terry C.; VanVelzer, Paul L.

    2004-01-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kim, Won; Ansar, Adnan; Steele, Robert

    2007-01-01

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

  18. Scientific Results of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banerdt, W. B.

    2006-08-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover project launched two robotic geologists, Spirit and Opportunity, toward Mars in June and July of 2003, reaching Mars the following January. The science objectives for this mission are focused on delineating the geologic history for two locations on Mars, with an emphasis on the history of water. Although they were designed for a 90-day mission, both rovers have lasted more than two years on the surface and each has covered more than four miles while investigating Martian geology. Spirit was targeted to Gusev Crater, a 300-km diameter impact basin that was suspected to be the site of an ancient lake. Initial investigations of the plains in the vicinity of the landing site found no evidence of such a lake, but were instead consistent with unaltered (by water) basaltic plains. But after a 3-km trek to an adjacent range of hills it found a quite different situation, with abundant chemical and morphological evidence for a complex geological history. Opportunity has been exploring Meridiani Planum, which was known from orbital data to contain the mineral hematite, which generally forms in the presence of water. The rocks exposed in Meridiani are highly chemically altered, and appear to have been exposed to significant amounts of water. By descending into the 130-m diameter Endurance Crater, Opportunity was able to analyze a 10-m vertical section of this rock unit, which showed significant gradations in chemistry and morphology.

  19. Seeking Signs of Life: The Mars 2020 Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-12-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced plans to send a rover to Mars in the year 2020. With NASA's goals for Mars now focused on determining the habitability of environments and detecting signs of past life, this mission constitutes a logical next step in the exploration of Mars. The Mars 2020 Science Definition Team's (SDT) suggested science objectives of the mission are to: 1) explore an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars to decipher its geological processes and history, including the assessment of past habitability; 2) assess the biosignature preservation potential within the selected geological environment and search for potential biosignatures; 3) demonstrate significant technical progress towards the future return of scientifically selected, well-documented samples to Earth; and 4) provide an opportunity for contributed human exploration or space technology Program participation, compatible with the science payload and within the mission's payload capacity. Instruments designed for detecting signs of past life and caching samples on Mars are among those considered by the Science Definition Team as the highest priority for science on the 2020 rover. This presentation will detail NASA's response to the SDT's report (released July 2013) in formulating the 2020 mission.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    1994-01-01

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

  1. Recent Results from the Mars Exploration Rover Rock Abrasion Tool

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cohen, J.; Paulsen, G.; Davis, K.; Gorevan, S.; Zacny, K.

    2009-12-01

    The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) serves as the sample preparation device on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) science payload. The RAT grinds Martian rock in a cylindrical volume, 45 mm in diameter and to a depth of up to 10 mm. This grinding action is intended to remove the altered outer layers of rock as well as overlying surface fines in preparation for imaging and spectral observations. In addition to acting as a facilitator for other instruments in the MER payload, RAT telemetry acquired during grinding may be used to assess the physical properties of the rocks that it grinds. RAT instruments on both Spirit and Opportunity have continued to operate and return useful data since 2004, despite minor problems that have recently occurred. The RAT on Spirit has recently been used for a purpose outside its original design capabilities: brushing away thin layers of loose soil without solid rock underneath. By progressing into the soil a few millimeters at a time, the RAT has been instrumental in helping to reveal the stratigraphy of this soft material. These results have helped in assessing soil properties and in turn will facilitate extrication of Spirit from its current location. Recent results from the Mars Exploration Rovers are presented along with data from laboratory RAT testing.

  2. The K9 On-Board Rover Architecture

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2006-01-01

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

  3. Tele-operator assistance system for small rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eck, Daniel; Schilling, Klaus

    2008-04-01

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

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

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

  5. Operational Loopwheel Suspension System for Mars Rover Demonstration Model

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trautwein, W.; Robinson, G. D.

    1978-01-01

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

  6. Investigation of Life in the Atacama Desert by Astrobiology Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wettergreen, D.; Cabrol, N.

    2005-12-01

    The Atacama Desert is the most arid region on Earth and in several ways analogous to Mars. It has been suggested that the interior of the desert is the most lifeless place on Earth, yet it is known that microorganisms exist on rocks and in soils where the desert meets the coastal range. The Life in the Atacama (LITA) project is investigating the distribution and diversity of life and habitats in the desert using an rover guided by a remote science team. The Atacama Desert presents an excellent analogue to Mars because it is extremely dry, but also, like Mars it experiences high levels of ultraviolet radiation due to its altitude and atmospheric transparency. The soils in the Atacama have been found to be particularly high in oxidants, which lead to the rapid breakdown of organic material. The result is that in some regions of desert almost no biogenic material can be found on the surface. To the benefit of analogue studies for Mars exploration, the desert visually resembles Mars as seen through rover cameras. For these reasons: aridity, ultraviolet radiation and soil composition we believe the Atacama is analogous to Mars and an excellent location for rover field experiments. To support our astrobiologic investigation, we have created a mobile robot, Zo, that makes the measurement of the distribution and diversity of microorganisms possible. Mobility is crucial as habitats are hypothesized to depend on locally variable conditions including moisture, solar flux, and rock/soil composition. The ability to traverse tens to hundreds of kilometers while deploying sensors is a fundamental requirement because only by visiting many sites will the few in which organisms exist be found. Many observations provide the basis for statistically valid analysis of distribution. Zo's instrument payload combines complementary elements, some directed towards remote sensing of the environment (geology, morphology, mineralogy, climate) for the detection of conditions favorable to

  7. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Fermi, E.; Szilard, L.

    1957-09-24

    Reactors of the type employing plates of natural uranium in a moderator are discussed wherein the plates are um-formly disposed in parallel relationship to each other thereby separating the moderator material into distinct and individual layers. Each plate has an uninterrupted sunface area substantially equal to the cross-sectional area of the active portion of the reactor, the particular size of the plates and the volume ratio of moderator to uranium required to sustain a chain reaction being determinable from the known purity of these materials and other characteristics such as the predictable neutron losses due to the formation of radioactive elements of extremely high neutron capture cross section.

  8. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Wigner, E.P.; Weinberg, A.W.; Young, G.J.

    1958-04-15

    A nuclear reactor which uses uranium in the form of elongated tubes as fuel elements and liquid as a coolant is described. Elongated tubular uranium bodies are vertically disposed in an efficient neutron slowing agent, such as graphite, for example, to form a lattice structure which is disposed between upper and lower coolant tanks. Fluid coolant tubes extend through the uranium bodies and communicate with the upper and lower tanks and serve to convey the coolant through the uranium body. The reactor is also provided with means for circulating the cooling fluid through the coolant tanks and coolant tubes, suitable neutron and gnmma ray shields, and control means.

  9. Speed Measurement and Motion Analysis of Chang'E-3 Rover Based on Differential Phase Delay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chao, Pan; Qing-hui, Liu; Xin, Zheng; Qing-bao, He; Ya-jun, Wu

    2016-04-01

    On 14th December 2013, the Chang'E-3 made a successful soft landing on the lunar surface, and then carried out the tasks of separating the lander and the rover, and taking pictures of each other. With the same beam VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) technique to observe the signals transmitted by the lander and the rover simultaneously, the differential phase delay between them is calculated, which can reflect the minor changes of the rover's position on a scale of a few centimeters. Based on the high sensitivity of differential phase delay, the rover's speeds during 5 movements are obtained with an average of 0.056 m/s. The relationship between the rover's shake in the moving process and the lunar terrain is analyzed by using the spectrum of the residual of the differential phase delay after the first-order polynomial fitting.

  10. Speed Measurement and Motion Analysis of Chang'E-3 Rover Based on Differential Phase Delay

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pan, C.; Liu, Q. H.; Zheng, X.; He, Q. B.; Wu, Y. J.

    2015-07-01

    On 2013 December 14, the Chang'E-3 made a successful soft landing on the lunar surface, and then carried out the tasks of separating the lander and the rover, and taking the photos of each other. With the same beam VLBI (Very long baseline interferometry) technique to observe the signals transmitted by the lander and the rover simultaneously, the differential phase delay between them is calculated, which can reflect a minor change of the rover's position on a scale of a few centimeters. Based on the high sensitivity of differential phase delay, the rover's speeds during 5 movements are obtained with an average of 0.056 m/s. The relationship between the rover's shake in moving process, and lunar terrain is analyzed by using the spectrum of the residual of the differential phase delay after the first-order polynomial fitting.

  11. A Real-Time Rover Executive based On Model-Based Reactive Planning

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bias, M. Bernardine; Lemai, Solange; Muscettola, Nicola; Korsmeyer, David (Technical Monitor)

    2003-01-01

    This paper reports on the experimental verification of the ability of IDEA (Intelligent Distributed Execution Architecture) effectively operate at multiple levels of abstraction in an autonomous control system. The basic hypothesis of IDEA is that a large control system can be structured as a collection of interacting control agents, each organized around the same fundamental structure. Two IDEA agents, a system-level agent and a mission-level agent, are designed and implemented to autonomously control the K9 rover in real-time. The system is evaluated in the scenario where the rover must acquire images from a specified set of locations. The IDEA agents are responsible for enabling the rover to achieve its goals while monitoring the execution and safety of the rover and recovering from dangerous states when necessary. Experiments carried out both in simulation and on the physical rover, produced highly promising results.

  12. An Environmental Control and Life Support System Concept for a Pressurized Lunar Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bagdigian, Robert M.; Stambaugh, Imelda

    2010-01-01

    Pressurized rovers can add many attractive capabilities to a human lunar exploration campaign, most notably by extending the reach of astronauts far beyond the immediate vicinities of lunar landers and fixed assets such as habitats. Effective campaigns will depend on an efficient allocation of environmental control and life support system (ECLSS) equipment amongst mobile rovers and fixed habitats such that widespread and sustainable exploration can be achieved. This paper will describe some of the key drivers that influence the design of an ECLSS for a pressurized lunar rover and a conceptual design that has been formulated to address those drivers. Opportunities to realize programmatic and operational efficiencies through commonality of rover ECLSS and extravehicular activity (EVA) equipment have also been explored and will be described. Plans for the inclusion of ECLSS functionality in prototype lunar rovers will be summarized

  13. The University Rover Challenge: A competition highlighting Human and Robotic partnerships for exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, Heather; Duncan, Andrew

    2016-07-01

    The University Rover Challenge began in 2006 with 4 American college teams competing, now in it's 10th year there are 63 teams from 12 countries registered to compete for the top rover designed to assist humans in the exploration of Mars. The Rovers compete aided by the University teams in four tasks (3 engineering and 1 science) in the Mars analog environment of the Utah Southern Desert in the United States. In this presentation we show amazing rover designs with videos demonstrating the incredible ingenuity, skill and determination of the world's most talented college students. We describe the purpose and results of each of the tasks: Astronaut Assistant, Rover Dexterity, Terrain maneuvering, and Science. We explain the evolution of the competition and common challenges faced by the robotic explorers

  14. Neutronic reactor

    DOEpatents

    Wende, Charles W. J.

    1976-08-17

    A safety rod for a nuclear reactor has an inner end portion having a gamma absorption coefficient and neutron capture cross section approximately equal to those of the adjacent shield, a central portion containing materials of high neutron capture cross section and an outer end portion having a gamma absorption coefficient at least equal to that of the adjacent shield.

  15. Neutronic reactor

    DOEpatents

    Carleton, John T.

    1977-01-25

    A graphite-moderated nuclear reactor includes channels between blocks of graphite and also includes spacer blocks between adjacent channeled blocks with an axis of extension normal to that of the axis of elongation of the channeled blocks to minimize changes in the physical properties of the graphite as a result of prolonged neutron bombardment.

  16. Sonochemical Reactors.

    PubMed

    Gogate, Parag R; Patil, Pankaj N

    2016-10-01

    Sonochemical reactors are based on the generation of cavitational events using ultrasound and offer immense potential for the intensification of physical and chemical processing applications. The present work presents a critical analysis of the underlying mechanisms for intensification, available reactor configurations and overview of the different applications exploited successfully, though mostly at laboratory scales. Guidelines have also been presented for optimum selection of the important operating parameters (frequency and intensity of irradiation, temperature and liquid physicochemical properties) as well as the geometric parameters (type of reactor configuration and the number/position of the transducers) so as to maximize the process intensification benefits. The key areas for future work so as to transform the successful technique at laboratory/pilot scale into commercial technology have also been discussed. Overall, it has been established that there is immense potential for sonochemical reactors for process intensification leading to greener processing and economic benefits. Combined efforts from a wide range of disciplines such as material science, physics, chemistry and chemical engineers are required to harness the benefits at commercial scale operation.

  17. NEUTRONIC REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Anderson, H.L.

    1958-10-01

    The design of control rods for nuclear reactors are described. In this design the control rod consists essentially of an elongated member constructed in part of a neutron absorbing material and having tube means extending therethrough for conducting a liquid to cool the rod when in use.

  18. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Creutz, E.C.; Ohlinger, L.A.; Weinberg, A.M.; Wigner, E.P.; Young, G.J.

    1959-10-27

    BS>A reactor cooled by water, biphenyl, helium, or other fluid with provision made for replacing the fuel rods with the highest plutonium and fission product content without disassembling the entire core and for promptly cooling the rods after their replacement in order to prevent build-up of heat from fission product activity is described.

  19. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (False Color)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

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

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

    The image is presented here in false color that is used to bring out subtle differences in color.

  20. Building Hybrid Rover Models for NASA: Lessons Learned

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Willeke, Thomas; Dearden, Richard

    2004-01-01

    Particle filters have recently become popular for diagnosis and monitoring of hybrid systems. In this paper we describe our experiences using particle filters on a real diagnosis problem, the NASA Ames Research Center's K-9 rover. As well as the challenge of modelling the dynamics of the system, there are two major issues in applying a particle filter to such a model. The first is the asynchronous nature of the system-observations from different subsystems arrive at different rates, and occasionally out of order, leading to large amounts of uncertainty in the state of the system. The second issue is data interpretation. The particle filter produces a probability distribution over the state of the system, from which summary statistics that can be used for control or higher-level diagnosis must be extracted. We describe our approaches to both these problems, as well as other modelling issues that arose in this domain.

  1. Mars Exploration Rover Mission: Entry, Descent, and Landing System Validation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mitcheltree, Robert A.; Lee, Wayne; Steltzner, Adam; SanMartin, Alejanhdro

    2004-01-01

    System validation for a Mars entry, descent, and landing system is not simply a demonstration that the electrical system functions in the associated environments. The function of this system is its interaction with the atmospheric and surface environment. Thus, in addition to traditional test-bed, hardware-in-the-loop, testing, a validation program that confirms the environmental interaction is required. Unfortunately, it is not possible to conduct a meaningful end-to-end test of a Mars landing system on Earth. The validation plan must be constructed from an interconnected combination of simulation, analysis and test. For the Mars Exploration Rover mission, this combination of activities and the logic of how they combined to the system's validation was explicitly stated, reviewed, and tracked as part of the development plan.

  2. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Stereo)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

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

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

    Multiple images taken with Spirit's panoramic camera are combined here into a stereo view that appears three-dimensional when seen through red-blue glasses, with the red lens on the left.

  3. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Vertical)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2009-01-01

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

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

    The image is presented here as a vertical projection, as if looking straight down, and in false color, which brings out subtle color differences.

  4. Mars Rover Sample Return aerocapture configuration design and packaging constraints

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lawson, Shelby J.

    1989-01-01

    This paper discusses the aerodynamics requirements, volume and mass constraints that lead to a biconic aeroshell vehicle design that protects the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission elements from launch to Mars landing. The aerodynamic requirements for Mars aerocapture and entry and packaging constraints for the MRSR elements result in a symmetric biconic aeroshell that develops a L/D of 1.0 at 27.0 deg angle of attack. A significant problem in the study is obtaining a cg that provides adequate aerodynamic stability and performance within the mission imposed constraints. Packaging methods that relieve the cg problems include forward placement of aeroshell propellant tanks and incorporating aeroshell structure as lander structure. The MRSR missions developed during the pre-phase A study are discussed with dimensional and mass data included. Further study is needed for some missions to minimize MRSR element volume so that launch mass constraints can be met.

  5. Mars rover sample return: An exobiology science scenario

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rosenthal, D. A.; Sims, M. H.; Schwartz, Deborah E.; Nedell, S. S.; Mckay, Christopher P.; Mancinelli, Rocco L.

    1988-01-01

    A mission designed to collect and return samples from Mars will provide information regarding its composition, history, and evolution. At the same time, a sample return mission generates a technical challenge. Sophisticated, semi-autonomous, robotic spacecraft systems must be developed in order to carry out complex operations at the surface of a very distant planet. An interdisciplinary effort was conducted to consider how much a Mars mission can be realistically structured to maximize the planetary science return. The focus was to concentrate on a particular set of scientific objectives (exobiology), to determine the instrumentation and analyses required to search for biological signatures, and to evaluate what analyses and decision making can be effectively performed by the rover in order to minimize the overhead of constant communication between Mars and the Earth. Investigations were also begun in the area of machine vision to determine whether layered sedimentary structures can be recognized autonomously, and preliminary results are encouraging.

  6. The opportunity Rover's athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has investigated the landing site in Eagle crater and the nearby plains within Meridiani Planum. The soils consist of fine-grained basaltic sand and a surface lag of hematite-rich spherules, spherule fragments, and other granules. Wind ripples are common. Underlying the thin soil layer, and exposed within small impact craters and troughs, are flat-lying sedimentary rocks. These rocks are finely laminated, are rich in sulfur, and contain abundant sulfate salts. Small-scale cross-lamination in some locations provides evidence for deposition in flowing liquid water. We interpret the rocks to be a mixture of chemical and siliciclastic sediments formed by episodic inundation by shallow surface water, followed by evaporation, exposure, and desiccation. Hematite-rich spherules are embedded in the rock and eroding from them. We interpret these spherules to be concretions formed by postdepositional diagenesis, again involving liquid water.

  7. Two years at Meridiani Planum: Results from the opportunity rover

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Squyres, S. W.; Knoll, A.H.; Arvidson, R. E.; Clark, B. C.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Jolliff, B.L.; McLennan, S.M.; Tosca, N.; Bell, J.F.; Calvin, W.M.; Farrand, W. H.; Glotch, T.D.; Golombek, M.P.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhofer, G.; McSween, H.Y.; Yen, A. S.

    2006-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has spent more than 2 years exploring Meridiani Planum, traveling ???8 kilometers and detecting features that reveal ancient environmental conditions. These include well-developed festoon (trough) cross-lamination formed in flowing liquid water, strata with smaller and more abundant hematite-rich concretions than those seen previously, possible relict "hopper crystals" that might reflect the formation of halite, thick weathering rinds on rock surfaces, resistant fracture fills, and networks of polygonal fractures likely caused by dehydration of sulfate salts. Chemical variations with depth show that the siliciclastic fraction of outcrop rock has undergone substantial chemical alteration from a precursor basaltic composition. Observations from microscopic to orbital scales indicate that ancient Meridiani once had abundant acidic groundwater, arid and oxidizing surface conditions, and occasional liquid flow on the surface.

  8. Soil-like deposits observed by Sojourner, the Pathfinder rover

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moore, Henry J.; Bickler, Donald B.; Crisp, Joy A.; Eisen, Howard J.; Gensler, Jeffrey A.; Haldemann, Albert F.C.; Matijevic, Jacob R.; Reid, Lisa K.; Pavlics, Ferenc

    1999-01-01

    Most of the soil-like materials at the Pathfinder landing site behave like moderately dense soils on Earth with friction angles near 34°-39° and are called cloddy deposits. Cloddy deposits appear to be poorly sorted with dust-sized to granule-sized mineral or rock grains; they may contain pebbles, small rock fragments, and clods. Thin deposits of porous, compressible drifts with friction angles near 26°-28° are also present. Drifts are fine grained. Cohesions of both types of deposits are small. There may be indurated soil-like deposits and/or coated or crusted rocks. Cloddy deposits may be fluvial sediments of the Ares-Tiu floods, but other origins, such as ejecta from nearby impact craters, should be considered. Drifts are probably dusts that settled from the Martian atmosphere. Remote-sensing signatures of the deposits inferred from rover observations are consistent with those observed from orbit and Earth.

  9. Mars rover/sample return mission requirements affecting space station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1988-01-01

    The possible interfaces between the Space Station and the Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) mission are defined. In order to constrain the scope of the report a series of seven design reference missions divided into three major types were assumed. These missions were defined to span the probable range of Space Station-MRSR interactions. The options were reduced, the MRSR sample handling requirements and baseline assumptions about the MRSR hardware and the key design features and requirements of the Space Station are summarized. Only the aspects of the design reference missions necessary to define the interfaces, hooks and scars, and other provisions on the Space Station are considered. An analysis of each of the three major design reference missions, is reported, presenting conceptual designs of key hardware to be mounted on the Space Station, a definition of weights, interfaces, and required hooks and scars.

  10. Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) : the US 2009 Mars rover mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palluconi, Frank; Tampari, Leslie; Steltzner, Adam; Umland, Jeff

    2003-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory mission is the 2009 United States Mars Exploration Program rover mission. The MSL Project expects to complete its pre-Phase A definition activity this fiscal year (FY2003), investigations in mid-March 2004, launch in 2009, arrive at Mars in 2010 during Northern hemisphere summer and then complete a full 687 day Mars year of surface exploration. MSL will assess the potential for habitability (past and present) of a carefully selected landing region on Mars by exploring for the chemical building blocks of life, and seeking to understand quantitatively the chemical and physical environment with which these components have interacted over the geologic history of the planet. Thus, MSL will advance substantially our understanding of the history of Mars and potentially, its capacity to sustain life.

  11. Lunar Resource Exploitation with Team Hakuto Swarm Rovers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Acierno, Kyle

    2016-07-01

    While much research has been done on the exploration, extraction and utilization of the Moon's resources, little attention has been given to exploring the economic opportunities that exist in the exploitation of those resources with the use of swam rovers. In order to develop a holistic view of lunar resources, this paper will first investigate the most important volatiles and minerals that are known to exist on the Moon. Next, Google Lunar XPRIZE Team Hakuto's technology and current robotic set up will be given. Finally, TEAM HAKUTO's 2017 Lunar mission plan will be outlined, providing an overview of future architectures using future swarm robotics to search for, map and eventually exploit the resources and volatiles.

  12. A Wheel-On-Limb Rover for Lunar Operations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heverly, Matthew

    2007-01-01

    The All-Terrain Hex-Limbed Extra-Terrestrial Explorer (ATHLETE) is a new mobility platform developed for potential lunar operations. This six limbed rover is designed to traverse quickly over benign terrain by rolling, traverse rough and steep terrain by walking, as well as perform general manipulation of tools and payloads. This flexible robotic platform will provide a mobile base for pressurized lunar habitats allowing for long range surface exploration and crew transport. It will also enable in-situ construction of lunar assets providing astronauts with the ability to assemble, maintain, and service a wide range of cargo. This paper presents the design details and capabilities of this wheel-on-limb platform.

  13. The Opportunity Rover's Athena science investigation at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

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

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has investigated the landing site in Eagle crater and the nearby plains within Meridiani Planum. The soils consist of fine-grained basaltic sand and a surface lag of hematite-rich spherules, spherule fragments, and other granules. Wind ripples are common. Underlying the thin soil layer, and exposed within small impact craters and troughs, are flat-lying sedimentary rocks. These rocks are finely laminated, are rich in sulfur, and contain abundant sulfate salts. Small-scale cross-lamination in some locations provides evidence for deposition in flowing liquid water. We interpret the rocks to be a mixture of chemical and siliciclastic sediments formed by episodic inundation by shallow surface water, followed by evaporation, exposure, and desiccation. Hematite-rich spherules are embedded in the rock and eroding from them. We interpret these spherules to be concretions formed by postdepositional diagenesis, again involving liquid water.

  14. Lunar surface operations. Volume 4: Lunar rover trailer

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shields, William; Feteih, Salah; Hollis, Patrick

    1993-01-01

    The purpose of the project was to design a lunar rover trailer for exploration missions. The trailer was designed to carry cargo such as lunar geological samples, mining equipment and personnel. It is designed to operate in both day and night lunar environments. It is also designed to operate with a maximum load of 7000 kilograms. The trailer has a ground clearance of 1.0 meters and can travel over obstacles 0.75 meters high at an incline of 45 degrees. It can be transported to the moon fully assembled using any heavy lift vehicle with a storage compartment diameter of 5.0 meters. The trailer has been designed to meet or exceed the performance of any perceivable lunar vehicle.

  15. Dynamic Modeling and Soil Mechanics for Path Planning of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trease, Brian; Arvidson, Raymond; Lindemann, Randel; Bennett, Keith; Zhou, Feng; Iagnemma, Karl; Senatore, Carmine; Van Dyke, Lauren

    2011-01-01

    To help minimize risk of high sinkage and slippage during drives and to better understand soil properties and rover terramechanics from drive data, a multidisciplinary team was formed under the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project to develop and utilize dynamic computer-based models for rover drives over realistic terrains. The resulting tool, named ARTEMIS (Adams-based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction Simulator), consists of the dynamic model, a library of terramechanics subroutines, and the high-resolution digital elevation maps of the Mars surface. A 200-element model of the rovers was developed and validated for drop tests before launch, using MSC-Adams dynamic modeling software. Newly modeled terrain-rover interactions include the rut-formation effect of deformable soils, using the classical Bekker-Wong implementation of compaction resistances and bull-dozing effects. The paper presents the details and implementation of the model with two case studies based on actual MER telemetry data. In its final form, ARTEMIS will be used in a predictive manner to assess terrain navigability and will become part of the overall effort in path planning and navigation for both Martian and lunar rovers.

  16. Dynamic Modeling and Soil Mechanics for Path Planning of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Trease, Brian

    2011-01-01

    To help minimize risk of high sinkage and slippage during drives and to better understand soil properties and rover terramechanics from drive data, a multidisciplinary team was formed under the Mars Exploration Rover project to develop and utilize dynamic computer-based models for rover drives over realistic terrains. The resulting system, named ARTEMIS (Adams-based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction System), consists of the dynamic model, a library of terramechanics subroutines, and the high-resolution digital elevation maps of the Mars surface. A 200-element model of the rovers was developed and validated for drop tests before launch, using Adams dynamic modeling software. The external library was built in Fortran and called by Adams to model the wheel-soil interactions include the rut-formation effect of deformable soils, lateral and longitudinal forces, bull-dozing effects, and applied wheel torque. The paper presents the details and implementation of the system. To validate the developed system, one study case is presented from a realistic drive on Mars of the Opportunity rover. The simulation results match well from the measurement of on-board telemetry data. In its final form, ARTEMIS will be used in a predictive manner to assess terrain navigability and will become part of the overall effort in path planning and navigation for both Martian and lunar rovers.

  17. A Wind-powered Rover for a Low-Cost Venus Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Benigno, Gina; Hoza, Kathleen; Motiwala, Samira; Landis, Geoffrey A.; Colozza, Anthony J.

    2013-01-01

    Venus, with a surface temperature of 450 C and an atmospheric pressure 90 times higher than that of the Earth, is a difficult target for exploration. However, high-temperature electronics and power systems now being developed make it possible that future missions may be able to operate in the Venus environment. Powering such a rover within the scope of a Discovery class mission will be difficult, but harnessing Venus' surface winds provides a possible way to keep a powered rover small and light. This project scopes out the feasibility of a wind-powered rover for Venus surface missions. Two rover concepts, a land-sailing rover and a wind-turbine-powered rover, were considered. The turbine-powered rover design is selected as being a low-risk and low-cost strategy. Turbine detailed analysis and design shows that the turbine can meet mission requirements across the desired range of wind speeds by utilizing three constant voltage generators at fixed gear ratios.

  18. Concept for a radioisotope powered dual mode lunar rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Elliott, John O.; Schriener, Timothy M.; Coste, Keith

    2006-01-01

    Over three decades ago, the Apollo missions manifestly demonstrated the value of a lunar rover to expand the exploration activities of lunar astronauts. The stated plan of the new Vision for Space Exploration to establish a permanent presence on the moon in the next decades gives new impetus to providing long range roving and exploration capability in support of the siting, construction, and maintenance of future human bases. The incorporation of radioisotope power systems and telerobotic capability in the design has the potential to significantly expand the capability of such a rover, allowing continuous operation during the full lunar day/night cycle, as well as enabling exploration in permanently shadowed regions that may be of interest to humans for the resources they may hold. This paper describes a concept that builds on earlier studies originated in the Apollo program for a Dual Mode (crewed and telerobotic) Lunar Roving Vehicle (DMLRV). The goal of this vehicle would be to provide a multipurpose infrastructure element and remote science platform for the exploration of the moon. The DMLRV would be essential for extending the productivity of human exploration crews, and would provide a unique capability for diverse long-range, long-duration science exploration between human visits. With minimal reconfiguration this vehicle could also provide the basic platform to support a range of site survey and preparation activities in anticipation of the establishment of a permanent human presence on the moon. A conceptual design is presented for the DMLRV, including discussion of mission architecture, vehicle performance, representative science payload accommodation, and equipment and crew radiation considerations.

  19. Mars 2020 Science Rover: Science Goals and Mission Concept

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mustard, John F.; Beaty, D.; Bass, D.

    2013-10-01

    The Mars 2020 Science Definition Team (SDT), chartered in January 2013 by NASA, formulated a spacecraft mission concept for a science-focused, highly mobile rover to explore and investigate in detail a site on Mars that likely was once habitable. The mission, based on the Mars Science Laboratory landing and rover systems, would address, within a cost- and time-constrained framework, four objectives: (A) Explore an astrobiologically relevant ancient environment on Mars to decipher its geological processes and history, including the assessment of past habitability; (B) Assess the biosignature preservation potential within the selected geological environment and search for potential biosignatures; (C) Demonstrate significant technical progress towards the future return of scientifically selected, well-documented samples to Earth; and (D) provide an opportunity for contributed instruments from Human Exploration or Space Technology Programs. The SDT addressed the four mission objectives and six additional charter-specified tasks independently while specifically looking for synergy among them. Objectives A and B are each ends unto themselves, while Objective A is also the means by which samples are selected for objective B, and together they motivate and inform Objective C. The SDT also found that Objective D goals are well aligned with A through C. Critically, Objectives A, B, and C as an ensemble brought the SDT to the conclusion that exploration oriented toward both astrobiology and the preparation of a returnable cache of scientifically selected, well documented surface samples is the only acceptable mission concept. Importantly the SDT concluded that the measurements needed to attain these objectives were essentially identical, consisting of six types of field measurements: 1) context imaging 2) context mineralogy, 3) fine-scale imaging, 4) fine-scale mineralogy, 5) fine-scale elemental chemistry, and 6) organic matter detection. The mission concept fully addresses

  20. Mars Science Laboratory Rover Integrated Pump Assembly Bellows Jamming Failure

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, Michael R.; Johnson, Joel; Birur, Gajanana; Bhandari, Pradeep; Karlmann, Paul

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover and spacecraft utilize two mechanically pumped fluid loops for heat transfer to and from the internal electronics assemblies and the Radioisotope Thermo-Electric Generator (RTG). The heat transfer fluid is Freon R-11 (CFC-11) which has a large coefficient of thermal expansion. The Freon within the heat transfer system must have a volume for safe expansion of the fluid as the system temperature rises. The device used for this function is a gas-over-liquid accumulator. The accumulator uses a metal bellows to separate the fluid and gas sections. During expansion and contraction of the fluid in the system, the bellows extends and retracts to provide the needed volume change. During final testing of a spare unit, the bellows would not extend the full distance required to provide the needed expansion volume. Increasing the fluid pressure did not loosen the jammed bellows either. No amount of stroking the bellows back and forth would get it to pass the jamming point. This type of failure, if it occurred during flight, would result in significant overpressure of the heat transfer system leading to a burst failure at some point in the system piping. A loss of the Freon fluid would soon result in a loss of the mission. The determination of the source of the jamming of the bellows was quite elusive, leading to an extensive series of tests and analyses. The testing and analyses did indicate the root cause of the failure, qualitatively. The results did not provide a set of dimensional limits for the existing hardware design that would guarantee proper operation of the accumulator. In the end, a new design was developed that relied on good engineering judgment combined with the test results to select a reliable enough solution that still met other physical constraints of the hardware, the schedule, and the rover system.

  1. Autonomous Vision-Based Tethered-Assisted Rover Docking

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsai, Dorian; Nesnas, Issa A.D.; Zarzhitsky, Dimitri

    2013-01-01

    Many intriguing science discoveries on planetary surfaces, such as the seasonal flows on crater walls and skylight entrances to lava tubes, are at sites that are currently inaccessible to state-of-the-art rovers. The in situ exploration of such sites is likely to require a tethered platform both for mechanical support and for providing power and communication. Mother/daughter architectures have been investigated where a mother deploys a tethered daughter into extreme terrains. Deploying and retracting a tethered daughter requires undocking and re-docking of the daughter to the mother, with the latter being the challenging part. In this paper, we describe a vision-based tether-assisted algorithm for the autonomous re-docking of a daughter to its mother following an extreme terrain excursion. The algorithm uses fiducials mounted on the mother to improve the reliability and accuracy of estimating the pose of the mother relative to the daughter. The tether that is anchored by the mother helps the docking process and increases the system's tolerance to pose uncertainties by mechanically aligning the mating parts in the final docking phase. A preliminary version of the algorithm was developed and field-tested on the Axel rover in the JPL Mars Yard. The algorithm achieved an 80% success rate in 40 experiments in both firm and loose soils and starting from up to 6 m away at up to 40 deg radial angle and 20 deg relative heading. The algorithm does not rely on an initial estimate of the relative pose. The preliminary results are promising and help retire the risk associated with the autonomous docking process enabling consideration in future martian and lunar missions.

  2. Mars Exploration Rover Entry, Descent, and Landing: A Thermal Perspective

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tsuyuki, Glenn T.; Sunada, Eric T.; Novak, Keith S.; Kinsella, Gary M.; Phillip, Charles J.

    2005-01-01

    Perhaps the most challenging mission phase for the Mars Exploration Rovers was the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). During this phase, the entry vehicle attached to its cruise stage was transformed into a stowed tetrahedral Lander that was surrounded by inflated airbags through a series of complex events. There was only one opportunity to successfully execute an automated command sequence without any possible ground intervention. The success of EDL was reliant upon the system thermal design: 1) to thermally condition EDL hardware from cruise storage temperatures to operating temperature ranges; 2) to maintain the Rover electronics within operating temperature ranges without the benefit of the cruise single phase cooling loop, which had been evacuated in preparation for EDL; and 3) to maintain the cruise stage propulsion components for the critical turn to entry attitude. Since the EDL architecture was inherited from Mars Pathfinder (MPF), the initial EDL thermal design would be inherited from MPF. However, hardware and implementation differences from MPF ultimately changed the MPF inheritance approach for the EDL thermal design. With the lack of full inheritance, the verification and validation of the EDL thermal design took on increased significance. This paper will summarize the verification and validation approach for the EDL thermal design along with applicable system level thermal testing results as well as appropriate thermal analyses. In addition, the lessons learned during the system-level testing will be discussed. Finally, the in-flight EDL experiences of both MER-A and -B missions (Spirit and Opportunity, respectively) will be presented, demonstrated how lessons learned from Spirit were applied to Opportunity.

  3. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Treshow, M.

    1958-08-19

    A neuclear reactor is described of the heterogeneous type and employing replaceable tubular fuel elements and heavy water as a coolant and moderator. A pluraltty of fuel tubesa having their axes parallel, extend through a tank type pressure vessel which contatns the liquid moderator. The fuel elements are disposed within the fuel tubes in the reaetive portion of the pressure vessel during normal operation and the fuel tubes have removable plug members at each end to permit charging and discharging of the fuel elements. The fuel elements are cylindrical strands of jacketed fissionable material having helical exterior ribs. A bundle of fuel elements are held within each fuel tube with their longitudinal axes parallel, the ribs serving to space them apart along their lengths. Coolant liquid is circulated through the fuel tubes between the spaced fuel elements. Suitable control rod and monitoring means are provided for controlling the reactor.

  4. NEUTRONIC REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Wade, E.J.

    1958-09-16

    This patent relates to a reflector means for a neutronic reactor. A reflector comprised of a plurality of vertically movable beryllium control members is provided surrounding the sides of the reactor core. An absorber of fast neutrons comprised of natural uramum surrounds the reflector. An absorber of slow neutrons surrounds the absorber of fast neutrons and is formed of a plurality of beryllium blocks having natural uranium members distributcd therethrough. in addition, a movable body is positioned directly below the core and is comprised of a beryllium reflector and an absorbing member attached to the botiom thereof, the absorbing member containing a substance selected from the goup consisting of natural urantum and Th/sup 232/.

  5. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Grebe, J.J.

    1959-12-15

    A reactor which is particularly adapted tu serve as a heat source for a nuclear powered alrcraft or rocket is described. The core of this reactor consists of a porous refractory modera;or body which is impregnated with fissionable nuclei. The core is designed so that its surface forms tapered inlet and outlet ducts which are separated by the porous moderator body. In operation a gaseous working fluid is circulated through the inlet ducts to the surface of the moderator, enters and passes through the porous body, and is heated therein. The hot gas emerges into the outlet ducts and is available to provide thrust. The principle advantage is that tremendous quantities of gas can be quickly heated without suffering an excessive pressure drop.

  6. Nuclear reactor

    DOEpatents

    Wade, Elman E.

    1979-01-01

    A nuclear reactor including two rotatable plugs and a positive top core holddown structure. The top core holddown structure is divided into two parts: a small core cover, and a large core cover. The small core cover, and the upper internals associated therewith, are attached to the small rotating plug, and the large core cover, with its associated upper internals, is attached to the large rotating plug. By so splitting the core holddown structures, under-the-plug refueling is accomplished without the necessity of enlarging the reactor pressure vessel to provide a storage space for the core holddown structure during refueling. Additionally, the small and large rotating plugs, and their associated core covers, are arranged such that the separation of the two core covers to permit rotation is accomplished without the installation of complex lifting mechanisms.

  7. REACTOR UNLOADING

    DOEpatents

    Leverett, M.C.

    1958-02-18

    This patent is related to gas cooled reactors wherein the fuel elements are disposed in vertical channels extending through the reactor core, the cooling gas passing through the channels from the bottom to the top of the core. The invention is a means for unloading the fuel elements from the core and comprises dump values in the form of flat cars mounted on wheels at the bottom of the core structure which support vertical stacks of fuel elements. When the flat cars are moved, either manually or automatically, for normal unloading purposes, or due to a rapid rise in the reproduction ratio within the core, the fuel elements are permtted to fall by gravity out of the core structure thereby reducing the reproduction ratio or stopping the reaction as desired.

  8. NUCLEAR REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Koch, L.J.; Rice, R.E. Jr.; Denst, A.A.; Rogers, A.J.; Novick, M.

    1961-12-01

    An active portion assembly for a fast neutron reactor is described wherein physical distortions resulting in adverse changes in the volume-to-mass ratio are minimized. A radially expandable locking device is disposed within a cylindrical tube within each fuel subassembly within the active portion assembly, and clamping devices expandable toward the center of the active portion assembly are disposed around the periphery thereof. (AEC)

  9. Neutronic reactor

    DOEpatents

    Lewis, Warren R.

    1978-05-30

    A graphite-moderated, water-cooled nuclear reactor including a plurality of rectangular graphite blocks stacked in abutting relationship in layers, alternate layers having axes which are normal to one another, alternate rows of blocks in alternate layers being provided with a channel extending through the blocks, said channeled blocks being provided with concave sides and having smaller vertical dimensions than adjacent blocks in the same layer, there being nuclear fuel in the channels.

  10. NUCLEAR REACTOR

    DOEpatents

    Grebe, J.J.

    1961-01-24

    A core structure for neutronic reactors adapted for the propulsion of aircraft and rockets is offered. The core is designed for cooling by gaseous media, and comprises a plurality of hollow tapered tubular segments of a porous moderating material impregniated with fissionable fuel nested about a common axis. Alternate ends of the segments are joined. In operation a coolant gas passes through the porous structure and is heated.

  11. NUCLEAR REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Long, E.; Ashby, J.W.

    1958-09-16

    ABS>A graphite moderator structure is presented for a nuclear reactor compriscd of an assembly of similarly orientated prismatic graphite blocks arranged on spaced longitudinal axes lying in common planes wherein the planes of the walls of the blocks are positioned so as to be twisted reintive to the planes of said axes so thatthe unlmpeded dtrect paths in direction wholly across the walls of the blocks are limited to the width of the blocks plus spacing between the blocks.

  12. REACTOR CONTROL

    DOEpatents

    Ruano, W.J.

    1957-12-10

    This patent relates to nuclear reactors of the type which utilize elongited rod type fuel elements immersed in a liquid moderator and shows a design whereby control of the chain reaction is obtained by varying the amount of moderator or reflector material. A central tank for containing liquid moderator and fuel elements immersed therein is disposed within a surrounding outer tank providing an annular space between the two tanks. This annular space is filled with liquid moderator which functions as a reflector to reflect neutrons back into the central reactor tank to increase the reproduction ratio. Means are provided for circulating and cooling the moderator material in both tanks and additional means are provided for controlling separately the volume of moderator in each tank, which latter means may be operated automatically by a neutron density monitoring device. The patent also shows an arrangement for controlling the chain reaction by injecting and varying an amount of poisoning material in the moderator used in the reflector portion of the reactor.

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

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wood, S. J.; Dean, S. L.; De Dios, Y. E.; MacDougall, H. G.; Moore, S. T.

    2011-01-01

    Following long-duration space travel, pressurized rovers will enhance crew mobility to explore Mars and other planetary surfaces. Adaptive changes in sensorimotor function may limit the crew s proficiency when performing some rover operations shortly after transition to the new gravitoinertial environment. The primary goal of this investigation is to quantify postflight decrements in operational proficiency in a motion-based rover simulation after International Space Station (ISS) expeditions. Given that postflight performance will also be influenced by the level of preflight proficiency attained, a ground-based normative study was conducted to characterize the acquisition of skills over multiple sessions.

  14. Monitoring motion and measuring relative position of the Chang'E-3 rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Liu, Qinghui; Zheng, Xin; Huang, Yong; Li, Peijia; He, Qingbao; Wu, Yajun; Guo, Li; Tang, Mingle

    2014-11-01

    Same-beam very long baseline interferometry observations were performed between the rover and the lander of Chang'E-3 and differential phase delay data were obtained with the minimum random error of about 0.03 ps. These data were used to monitor the rover motions, as small as several centimeters, including movement, turning, and attitude adjustment. The relative position between the rover and the lander was precisely measured with an accuracy of 1 m, which is an improvement of 10 times compared with that of the Apollo project.

  15. Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) Technologies for Thermal Control of Future Mars Rovers

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Birur, Gaj; Bhandari, Pradeep; Prina, Mauro; Bame, Dave; Yavrouian, Andre; Plett, Gary

    2006-01-01

    Mechanically pumped fluid loop has been the basis of thermal control architecture for the last two Mars lander and rover missions and is the key part of the MSL thermal architecture. Several MPFL technologies are being developed for the MSL rover include long-life pumps, thermal control valves, mechanical fittings for use with CFC-11 at elevated temperatures of approx.100 C. Over three years of life tests and chemical compatibility tests on these MPFL components show that MPFL technology is mature for use on MSL. The advances in MPFL technologies for MSL Rover will benefit any future MPFL applications on NASA s Moon, Mars and Beyond Program.

  16. Nuclear Reactors. Revised.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hogerton, John F.

    This publication is one of a series of information booklets for the general public published by the United States Atomic Energy Commission. Among the topics discussed are: How Reactors Work; Reactor Design; Research, Teaching, and Materials Testing; Reactors (Research, Teaching and Materials); Production Reactors; Reactors for Electric Power…

  17. Dynamic testing techniques for qualifying Mars Eploration Rover equipment to quasi-static landing loads

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Davis, G. L.; Scharton, T. D.; Tsoi, W. B.

    2002-01-01

    In mid 2003, NASA will launch identical spacecraft to deliver two large rovers to the Martian surface. As with the successful Mars Pathfinder (MPF) mission, the MER spacecraft will use an airbag landing system to safely deliver its payload.

  18. Top View of a Computer Graphic Model of the Opportunity Lander and Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] PIA05265

    A computer graphics model of the Opportunity lander and rover are super-imposed on top of the martian terrain where Opportunity landed.

  19. The Challenges of Designing the Rocker-Bogie Suspension for the Mars Exploration Rover

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Harrington, Brian D.; Voorhees, Chris

    2004-01-01

    Over the past decade, the rocker-bogie suspension design has become a proven mobility application known for its superior vehicle stability and obstacle-climbing capability. Following several technology and research rover implementations, the system was successfully flown as part of Mars Pathfinder s Sojourner rover. When the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project was first proposed, the use of a rocker-bogie suspension was the obvious choice due to its extensive heritage. The challenge posed by MER was to design a lightweight rocker-bogie suspension that would permit the mobility to stow within the limited space available and deploy into a configuration that the rover could then safely use to egress from the lander and explore the Martian surface. This paper will describe how the MER rocker-bogie suspension subsystem was able to meet these conflicting design requirements while highlighting the variety of deployment and latch mechanisms employed in the design.

  20. The Preparation for and Execution of Engineering Operations for the Mars Curiosity Rover Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Samuels, Jessica A.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover mission is the most complex and scientifically packed rover that has ever been operated on the surface of Mars. The preparation leading up to the surface mission involved various tests, contingency planning and integration of plans between various teams and scientists for determining how operation of the spacecraft (s/c) would be facilitated. In addition, a focused set of initial set of health checks needed to be defined and created in order to ensure successful operation of rover subsystems before embarking on a two year science journey. This paper will define the role and responsibilities of the Engineering Operations team, the process involved in preparing the team for rover surface operations, the predefined engineering activities performed during the early portion of the mission, and the evaluation process used for initial and day to day spacecraft operational assessment.

  1. In Brief: Mineral sensors in orbit around Mars guide Opportunity rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tretkoff, Ernie

    2011-01-01

    As NASA's Mars rover Opportunity travels around the red planet, researchers are using the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to guide the rover to interesting geology. This is the first time orbital mineral sensing has been used to determine where the rover should go, researchers said at the 2010 AGU Fall Meeting. The Opportunity rover is now near the edge of the 22-kilometer-wide Endeavor crater. CRISM has identified clay minerals in the region. The presence of clay minerals suggests that a less acidic, wet environment existed in the past. Some CRISM observations point to mineral clays that may be types that Opportunity has not investigated before.

  2. Mars Exploration Rovers 2004-2013: Evolving Operational Tactics Driven by Aging Robotic Systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Townsend, Julie; Seibert, Michael; Bellutta, Paolo; Ferguson, Eric; Forgette, Daniel; Herman, Jennifer; Justice, Heather; Keuneke, Matthew; Sosland, Rebekah; Stroupe, Ashley; Wright, John

    2014-01-01

    Over the course of more than 10 years of continuous operations on the Martian surface, the operations team for the Mars Exploration Rovers has encountered and overcome many challenges. The twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, designed for a Martian surface mission of three months in duration, far outlived their life expectancy. Spirit explored for six years and Opportunity still operates and, in January 2014, celebrated the 10th anniversary of her landing. As with any machine that far outlives its design life, each rover has experienced a series of failures and degradations attributable to age, use, and environmental exposure. This paper reviews the failures and degradations experienced by the two rovers and the measures taken by the operations team to correct, mitigate, or surmount them to enable continued exploration and discovery.

  3. Operation and performance of the mars exploration rover imaging system on the martian surface

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Maki, J.N.; Litwin, T.; Schwochert, M.; Herkenhoff, K.

    2005-01-01

    The Imaging System on the Mars Exploration Rovers has successfully operated on the surface of Mars for over one Earth year. The acquisition of hundreds of panoramas and tens of thousands of stereo pairs has enabled the rovers to explore Mars at a level of detail unprecedented in the history of space exploration. In addition to providing scientific value, the images also play a key role in the daily tactical operation of the rovers. The mobile nature of the MER surface mission requires extensive use of the imaging system for traverse planning, rover localization, remote sensing instrument targeting, and robotic arm placement. Each of these activity types requires a different set of data compression rates, surface coverage, and image acquisition strategies. An overview of the surface imaging activities is provided, along with a summary of the image data acquired to date. ?? 2005 IEEE.

  4. MEEC, a MSP 2001 Rover Experiment to Measure Electrostatic Charging in the Martian Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ferguson, D. C.; Hillard, G. B.

    2000-01-01

    The Mars Experiment on Electrostatic Charging (MEEC), to be flown on the MSP 2001 Marie Curie Rover, is described. It will measure absolute and relative levels of charging in the Martian atmosphere due to traverses and dust-laden winds.

  5. Lunar Compass: A Rover Mission for Exploration of a Lunar Crustal Magnetic Anomaly

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blewett, D. T.; Hurley, D. M.; Denevi, B. W.; Cahill, J. T. S.; Klima, R. L.; Plescia, J. B.; Paranicas, C. P.; Greenhagen, B. T.; Anderson, B. A.; Korth, H.; Ho, G. C.; Nunez, J. I.; Zimmerman, M. I.; Brandt, P. C.

    2016-11-01

    We suggest that a rover mission to a lunar magnetic anomaly could answer key questions in several major fields of planetary science: planetary magnetism, space plasma physics, lunar geology, and space weathering.

  6. Student Participation in Mars Sample Return Rover Field Tests, Silver Lake, California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, R. C.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bowman, J. D.; Dunham, C. D.; Backes, P.; Baumgartner, E. T.; Bell, J.; Dworetzky, S. C.; Klug, S.; Peck, N.

    2000-01-01

    An integrated team of students and teachers from four high schools across the country developed and implemented their own mission of exploration and discovery using the Mars Sample Return prototype rover, FIDO, at Silver Lake in the Mojave Desert.

  7. The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE) on the Mars 2020 Rover

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hecht, M. H.; Hoffman, J. A.; Moxie Team

    2016-10-01

    The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment (MOXIE) is a technology experiment on the Mars 2020 Rover mission that will demonstrate the production of oxygen from atmospheric carbon dioxide as a precursor to a future human mission.

  8. Rovers and Lasers: The Autonomous, Non-Destructive Search for Life in Lava Tubes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruiz, A.; Messenger, S.; Yang, J.; Kim, S.; Paudel, S.; Lyzenga, G.; Clark, C.; Storrie-Lombardi, M.

    2014-07-01

    We report here on work conducted at Harvey Mudd College by undergraduate students to build the optical science probes and the cooperative, autonomous rovers necessary to map and search for life in the radiation-shielded lava tubes of Mars.

  9. Nuclear reactor

    DOEpatents

    Pennell, William E.; Rowan, William J.

    1977-01-01

    A nuclear reactor in which the core components, including fuel-rod assemblies, control-rod assemblies, fertile rod-assemblies, and removable shielding assemblies, are supported by a plurality of separate inlet modular units. These units are referred to as inlet module units to distinguish them from the modules of the upper internals of the reactor. The modular units are supported, each removable independently of the others, in liners in the supporting structure for the lower internals of the reactor. The core assemblies are removably supported in integral receptacles or sockets of the modular units. The liners, units, sockets and assmblies have inlet openings for entry of the fluid. The modular units are each removably mounted in the liners with fluid seals interposed between the opening in the liner and inlet module into which the fluid enters and the upper and lower portion of the liner. Each assembly is similarly mounted in a corresponding receptacle with fluid seals interposed between the openings where the fluid enters and the lower portion of the receptacle or fitting closely in these regions. As fluid flows along each core assembly a pressure drop is produced along the fluid so that the fluid which emerges from each core assembly is at a lower pressure than the fluid which enters the core assembly. However because of the seals interposed in the mountings of the units and assemblies the pressures above and below the units and assemblies are balanced and the units are held in the liners and the assemblies are held in the receptacles by their weights as they have a higher specific gravity than the fluid. The low-pressure spaces between each module and its liner and between each core assembly and its module is vented to the low-pressure regions of the vessel to assure that fluid which leaks through the seals does not accumulate and destroy the hydraulic balance.

  10. NUCLEAR REACTORS

    DOEpatents

    Long, E.; Ashley, J.W.

    1958-12-16

    A graphite moderator structure is described for a gas-cooled nuclear reactor having a vertical orlentation wherein the structure is physically stable with regard to dlmensional changes due to Wigner growth properties of the graphite, and leakage of coolant gas along spaces in the structure is reduced. The structure is comprised of stacks of unlform right prismatic graphite blocks positioned in layers extending in the direction of the lengths of the blocks, the adjacent end faces of the blocks being separated by pairs of tiles. The blocks and tiles have central bores which are in alignment when assembled and are provided with cooperatlng keys and keyways for physical stability.

  11. REACTOR COMPONETN

    DOEpatents

    Creutz, E.C.

    1959-10-27

    A reactor fuel element comprised of a slug of fissionable material disposed in a sheath of corrosion resistantmaterial is described. The sheath is in the form of a tubular container closed at one end and is in tight-fitting engagement with the peripheral sunface of the slug. An inner cap is insented into the open end of the sheath against the slug, which end is then bent around the inner cap and welded thereto. An outer cap is then welded around its peripheny to the bent portion of the container.

  12. Photocatalytic reactor

    DOEpatents

    Bischoff, B.L.; Fain, D.E.; Stockdale, J.A.D.

    1999-01-19

    A photocatalytic reactor is described for processing selected reactants from a fluid medium comprising at least one permeable photocatalytic membrane having a photocatalytic material. The material forms an area of chemically active sites when illuminated by light at selected wavelengths. When the fluid medium is passed through the illuminated membrane, the reactants are processed at these sites separating the processed fluid from the unprocessed fluid. A light source is provided and a light transmitting means, including an optical fiber, for transmitting light from the light source to the membrane. 4 figs.

  13. Surface Telerobotics: Development and Testing of a Crew Controlled Planetary Rover System

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fong, Terry; Bualat, Maria; Allan, Mark B; Bouyssounouse, Xavier; Cohen, Tamar

    2013-01-01

    During Summer 2013, we conducted a series of tests to examine how astronauts in the In- ternational Space Station (ISS) can remotely operate a planetary rover. The tests simulated portions of a proposed mission, in which an astronaut in lunar orbit remotely operates a planetary rover to deploy a radio telescope on the lunar farside. In this paper, we present the design, implementation, and preliminary test results.

  14. Testing of the Mars Exploration Rovers to Survive the Extreme Thermal Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Man, Kin F.; Hoffman, Alan R.

    2007-01-01

    Both Rovers have celebrated 3-year anniversaries on surface of Mars: a) More than ten times design life; b) Planned and implemented rigorous assembly and system level test programs; c) Demonstrated robust thermal margins; d)Tested both in vacuum and Mars atmosphere; e) Planned and implemented thermal cycling life qualification program; f) Demonstrated survival in deep thermal diurnal cycling and seasonal temperature variations; and g) Both Rovers continue to explore and return valuable science data

  15. Fast Optical Hazard Detection for Planetary Rovers Using Multiple Spot Laser Triangulation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matthies, L.; Balch, T.; Wilcox, B.

    1997-01-01

    A new laser-based optical sensor system that provides hazard detection for planetary rovers is presented. It is anticipated that the sensor can support safe travel at speeds up to 6cm/second for large (1m) rovers in full sunlight on Earth or Mars. The system overcomes limitations in an older design that require image differencing ot detect a laser stripe in full sun.

  16. The Mars exploration rover: an in situ science mission to Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Welch, R.; Matijevic, J.; Goldstein, B.

    2001-01-01

    In this paper the concept for a mobile vehicle system which performs an in situ science mission to Mars is described. This rover mission with its requirements for driving, positioning at science selected targets, and remote and in situ measurement will utilize the technologies for hazard avoidance and autonomous navigation supported by ground operation tools which use rover-based imagery for position estimation and motion planning.

  17. Systematic Structural Optimization of a Next Generation Lunar Rover Chassis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pitre, Ryan Alexander

    This research utilized topology and size optimization to optimize a lunar rover chassis in order to reduce structural mass while satisfying the required surface and launch vehicle loading criterion. Renewed interest in lunar exploration has provided an opportunity for Canada to participate in a Lunar Prospecting Mission in collaboration with NASA. Queen's University, in collaboration with Neptec Design Group, has developed methodology to produce the structural design of a next generation lunar rover chassis using systematic design optimization techniques to minimize the structural mass of the chassis. Typical lightweight design can be achieved using lightweight materials, advanced manufacturing processes or systems, and design optimization. Due to the unique requirements for spacecraft, the proposed research is limited to specific materials and processes, therefore weight reduction is achieved exclusively through design optimization. The structural design was completed using a three stage design approach: Conceptual, Preliminary, and Detailed Design Stages. The Conceptual Design Stage developed chassis designs considering component layout and bounding box topology. The generated concepts were evaluated qualitatively to select the best candidates for design optimization. The Preliminary Design Stage utilized Hyperworks(c) Optistruct commercial software to complete topology optimization to optimize the chassis bounding box topology while considering lunar surface and launch vehicle loading. The topology optimization results were then used to create preliminary optimum designs. In the detailed design stage, size optimization with Optistruct was used to refine the preliminary design further to produce a final optimum design which had characterized mass and structural performance. All optimization work was constrained to satisfy displacement, stress, and natural frequency constraints. The final optimum design reduced the weight of the chassis by 38.7% when compared to

  18. Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Felder, Michael; Nesnas, Issa A.; Pivtoraiko, Mihail; Kelly, Alonzo; Volpe, Richard

    2011-01-01

    Exploring planetary surfaces typically involves traversing challenging and unknown terrain and acquiring in-situ measurements at designated locations using arm-mounted instruments. We present field results for a new implementation of an autonomous capability that enables a rover to traverse and precisely place an arm-mounted instrument on remote targets. Using point-and-click mouse commands, a scientist designates targets in the initial imagery acquired from the rover's mast cameras. The rover then autonomously traverse the rocky terrain for a distance of 10 - 15 m, tracks the target(s) of interest during the traverse, positions itself for approaching the target, and then precisely places an arm-mounted instrument within 2-3 cm from the originally designated target. The rover proceeds to acquire science measurements with the instrument. This work advances what has been previously developed and integrated on the Mars Exploration Rovers by using algorithms that are capable of traversing more rock-dense terrains, enabling tight thread-the-needle maneuvers. We integrated these algorithms on the newly refurbished Athena Mars research rover and fielded them in the JPL Mars Yard. We conducted 43 runs with targets at distances ranging from 5 m to 15 m and achieved a success rate of 93% for placement of the instrument within 2-3 cm.

  19. Robotic Lunar Rover Technologies and SEI Supporting Technologies at Sandia National Laboratories

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Klarer, Paul R.

    1992-01-01

    Existing robotic rover technologies at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) can be applied toward the realization of a robotic lunar rover mission in the near term. Recent activities at the SNL-RVR have demonstrated the utility of existing rover technologies for performing remote field geology tasks similar to those envisioned on a robotic lunar rover mission. Specific technologies demonstrated include low-data-rate teleoperation, multivehicle control, remote site and sample inspection, standard bandwidth stereo vision, and autonomous path following based on both internal dead reckoning and an external position location update system. These activities serve to support the use of robotic rovers for an early return to the lunar surface by demonstrating capabilities that are attainable with off-the-shelf technology and existing control techniques. The breadth of technical activities at SNL provides many supporting technology areas for robotic rover development. These range from core competency areas and microsensor fabrication facilities, to actual space qualification of flight components that are designed and fabricated in-house.

  20. 1999 Marsokhod Field Experiment: A Simulation of a Mars Rover Science Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, C.; Cabrol, N.; Roush, T.; Gulick, V.; Hovde, G.; Moersch, J.

    1999-01-01

    A field experiment to simulate a rover mission to Mars was performed in February 1999. This experiment, the latest in a series of rover field experiments, was designed to demonstrate and validate technologies and investigation strategies for high-science, high-technology performance, and cost-effective planetary rover operations. Objectives: The experiment objectives were to: (1) train scientists in a mission configuration relevant to Surveyor program rover missions at a terrestrial analog field site simulating the criteria of high-priority candidate landing-sites on Mars; (2) develop optimal exploration strategies; (3) evaluate the effectiveness of imaging and spectroscopy in addressing science objectives; (4) assess the value and limitation of descent imaging in supporting rover operations; and (5) evaluate the ability of a science team to correctly interpret the geology of the field site using rover observations. A field site in the California Mojave Desert was chosen for its relevance to the criteria for landing site selection for the Mars Surveyor program. These criteria are: (1) evidence of past water activity; (2) presence of a mechanism to concentrate life; (3) presence of thermal energy sources; (4) evidence of rapid burial; and (5) excavation mechanisms that could expose traces of life.