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InSight (Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy, and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery mission scheduled for launch in 2016. InSight will peer into the Martian interior using seismic, rotational, and thermal measurements. Scientific instruments will be deployed to the surface using a robotic arm and cameras, called the Instrument Deployment System (IDS). The instruments to be deployed are a seismometer (SEIS), and a heat probe (HP3). Experience from previous missions to Mars (Phoenix and MER) will help with the operations of the arm with minimal ground-in-the-loop interactions.

Instrument Deployment System (IDS)

JPL Robotics is leading the development, testing, and operations of IDS. This subsystem is comprised of the Instrument Deployment Arm (IDA), arm-mounted Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), lander-mounted Instrument Context Camera (ICC), and control software. IDS is responsible for precision instrument placement on a planetary surface that will enable scientist to perform the first comprehensive surface-based geophysical investigation of Mars.

IDA has 1.9-m reach with four degrees of freedom: yaw (shoulder azimuth) and three pitch joints (shoulder elevation, elbow, and wrist). Each joint has a temperature sensor and heater with a dust seal to prevent contamination of the motor and gearbox. IDC allows visual confirmation of deployment steps, as well as acquisition of the stereo image pairs used to create a 3D map of the workspace. IDC also provides engineering images of solar arrays, payload deck, and instruments. ICC provides context images and redundant worksite imagery.

Figure 1:  The Curiosity Rover and the science instrument payload.
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Figure 1: A view of the mockup arm, end effector, and lander top deck of Insight (left), and a sequence of three graphics representing instrument deployment (right).
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RSVP for InSight

The Robot Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) is a proven mission-critical ground software tool for surface operations of robot vehicles. The RSVP version for InSight will be used to command the InSight robotic arm for instrument deployment and pointing of the arm-mounted camera. RSVP consists of two elements:

  1. RSVP-RoSE: Textual and GUI based interface to the command dictionary with time based command sequence organization, editing, and error correction support.
  2. RSVP-HyperDrive: Multiple 3D graphics interfaces to the stereo images and 3D terrain-model data that will be used to plan and sequence all lander robotic arm motions, as well as simulate and visualize the lander and terrain environment in order to verify instrument deployment sequences.

Real-time connection between RSVP-RoSE and RSVP-HyperDrive facilitates interactive robotic arm and camera command generation using both GUI, textual and 3D visual interface modalities.

Figure 2:  A graphical representation in RSVP of the Insight lander and surrounding terrain.
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Figure 2: A graphical representation in RSVP of the Insight lander and surrounding terrain.
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For more details on all aspects of the InSight Lander mission, visit the InSight Project website.

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