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ARM-S Robot, Phase 1 - The DARPA Automous Robot Manipulation - Software (ARM-S) Program provided this hardware configuration for JPL participation during Phase 1 of the program. Shown are the sensing head, single manipulator and hand, and test objects for grasping experiments. Phase 2 of the program will use a dual-arm configuration.
ARM-S Robot, Phase 1
Driving: GESTALT Navigation - Graphic showing MER navigation technique of evaluating terrain traversability along discrete arcs in the imaged terrain. This algorithm is called GESTALT (Grid-based Estimation of Surface Traversability Applied to Local Terrain). <br>(<a href='../applications/' target='_blank'>Click here for full movie.</a>)
Driving: GESTALT Navigation
Driving: Visual Odometry - Image sequence showing features tracked to measure changes in the position of the MER Opportunity rover on Mars during driving in soft, sloped soil.
Driving: Visual Odometry
Flying: Titan Aerobot Testbed - Take-off of Titan self-propelled aerobot test bed, used to develop autonomy technology for a future aerial mission to Saturn's moon.
Flying: Titan Aerobot Testbed
Flying: Montgofiere Balloon - Prototype Mars solar Montgofiere balloon during altitude-control testing.
Flying: Montgofiere Balloon
Flying: Superpressure Balloon - Prototype Mars helium superpressure balloon during Earth stratospheric flight test.
Flying: Superpressure Balloon
Flying: Venus Balloon - Artist's conception of a Venus altitude-cycling balloon based on phase-change buoyancy fluids.
Flying: Venus Balloon
Graphical User Interface: MER RSVP - RSVP-HyperDrive displays a graphical version of the rover, which is used to drive the MER Spirit rover and to place its robotic arm on rocks.
Graphical User Interface: MER RSVP
Graphical User Interface: MER SAP/Maestro - Science Activity Planner (aka. Maestro), used by MER scientists to create desired activities for the day.
Graphical User Interface: MER SAP/Maestro
Instrument Placement: Base Positioning - The rover autonomously moves to a base position that allows a collision-free arm path, followed by the arm placing an instrument on the designated target.
Instrument Placement: Base Positioning
Instrument Placement: Rover Approach - A rover approaches the target on a rock using visual target tracking during autonomous navigation with hazard avoidance.
Instrument Placement: Rover Approach
Instrument Placement: Visual Tracking - Visual target tracking updates the goal target-image position (red square) and its 3D position more accurately as the rover approaches the target from 10 m away to 2 m away.
Instrument Placement: Visual Tracking
JPL Stereo Vision - An example of JPL stereo vision image processing, as used by the MER Mars rovers. On the left is one image from a stereo pair, while the right shows an elevation map computed from the pair. Elevation maps of the terrain are used for navigation and manipulation decisions.
JPL Stereo Vision
Landing: Crater-based Localization - Position Estimation from Crater
Landmarks in Visible Imagery.
Landing: Crater-based Localization
Landing: Lidar Sensing - Rocket Sled Testing of Lidar Hazard Detection.
Landing: Lidar Sensing
Landing: Terrain Classification - Dense Structure from Motion for Rock and Slope Hazard Detection.
Landing: Terrain Classification
MSL Manipulation - The Mars Science Laboratory has a large arm for instrument placement and drilling operations.
MSL Manipulation
Onboard Science: cloud in the Martian sky - Image of an evident cloud in the Martian sky and the binary thumbnail created by the MER Cloud SPOTTER to summarize its findings. The image occupies 2Mb of onboard memory; the thumbnail occupies 512 bytes.
Onboard Science: cloud in the Martian sky
Onboard Science: detected dust devil - Automatically detected dust devil on imagery from the Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover (click on hi-res image link for animation).
Onboard Science: detected dust devil
Onboard Science: JPL MarsYard - Automatically identified rocks on an image acquired at the JPL MarsYard.
Onboard Science: JPL MarsYard
Onboard Science: Martian scene - Detail of automatically selected rock targets on an image of a Martian scene acquired by the Spirit rover.
Onboard Science: Martian scene
Onboard Science: segmented Martian sky - Automatically segmented Martian sky.
Onboard Science: segmented Martian sky
Phoenix digs on Mars - The Phoenix Robotic Arm displays a full scoop of soil excavated from the Martian polar terrain.
Phoenix digs on Mars
Phoenix Robotic Arm Inspection - A vital instrument on NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander is the robotic arm, which will dig into the icy soil and bring samples back to the science deck of the spacecraft for analysis. In September 2006 at a Lockheed Martin Space Systems clean room facility near Denver, a spacecraft technician inspects the arm during the assembly phase of the mission.
Using the robotic arm, built by JPL, the Phoenix mission will study the history of water and search for complex organic molecules in the ice-rich soil.
Photo credit: NASA/JPL/UA/Lockheed Martin
Phoenix Robotic Arm Inspection
Phoenix Robotic Arm, Engineering Model - The Engineering Model of the Phoenix Robotic Arm, very similar to the flight article. This arm is used for software development and testing
Phoenix Robotic Arm, Engineering Model
ROAMS Simulation of Rover Slippage - Overhead graphical view of simulated rover slippage tests with ROAMS.
ROAMS Simulation of Rover Slippage
Sampling: Drilling - Laboratory manipulator for MSL mission robotic coring development (left) and core sample (right).
Sampling: Drilling
Sampling: MSL - Artist's concept of the 2011 MSL rover, which will sample rocks and soil on Mars, and process them through an on-board science laboratory.
Sampling: MSL
Sampling: Phoenix - Artist's concept of the Phoenix lander, which will dig down next to a fixed lander, and process samples through a suite of on-board science instruments.
Sampling: Phoenix
Simulation: DSENDS - Screen capture of simulation of entry and descent of a Mars capsule, computed by DSENDS (Dynamics Simulator for Entry, Descent and Surface landing). From upper left and clockwise: entry spacecraft over simulated terrain, steps of entry phase, grid of landing area, plots of altitude and acceleration experienced.
Simulation: DSENDS
Simulation: ROAMS - Rendering of a simulated MER rover in simulated terrain, using ROAMS (Rover Analysis, Modeling and Simulation) and Simscape.
Simulation: ROAMS
Simulation: Testing - Plan view of terrain evaluation from the MER GESTALT navigation algorithm running under simulation.
Simulation: Testing
Simulation: Vision - Stereo vision results computed from simulated imagery, resulting in an elevation map of the simulated terrain in front of the simulated rover.
Simulation: Vision
Small Body Orbiting: Crater Detection - Crater-detection examples.
Small Body Orbiting: Crater Detection
Small Body Orbiting: Hazard Detection - Hazard (rock) detection result on a NEAR final-descent image.
Small Body Orbiting: Hazard Detection
Small Body Orbiting: Orbit Determination - Landmark-based spacecraft-orbit determination. Left pane: Imagery with detected landmarks shown. Red = rejected as outlier. Green = accepted. Right pane: Recovered position overlaid on ground-truth trajectory. Vision-based position errors are shown for each frame.
Small Body Orbiting: Orbit Determination
Subsurface Access - Prototype long-life drill bit that can wear down in length by a factor of 10 times its width before it is worn out. It is made of a matrix of diamond and tungsten particles in a cast copper-silver alloy.
Subsurface Access
Subsurface Access: Augering - Subsurface Explorer with Raman Spectrometer and microscopic imager heads embedded in tail stabilizer fins.
Subsurface Access: Augering
Subsurface Access: Drilling - Testing of small, commercial, rotary-percussive drill motor to evaluate required axial force, torque, and vibration.
Subsurface Access: Drilling
Subsurface Access: Melting - The Cryobot, which can melt its way through water ice or other frozen volatiles.
Subsurface Access: Melting
Subsurface Access: Pounding - 'Self-contained Pile Driver' able to penetrate to 8-m depth in sand in a few hours.
Subsurface Access: Pounding
Superpressure Helium Balloon - Aerially deployed of a 10 meter diameter Mars balloon prototype at 31 km above Earth, in the stratosphere.
Superpressure Helium Balloon
Terrestrial and Military: Navigation - The
Terrestrial and Military: Navigation
Terrestrial and Military: People Detection - Demonstration of moving person detection. Left: input image. Right: input image labeled with detected moving person.
Terrestrial and Military: People Detection
Terrestrial and Military: Water Detection - Demonstration of water detection in natural terrain. Left: pond reflecting sky and terrain. Right: detected water regions.
Terrestrial and Military: Water Detection

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