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Long Range Science Rover

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Beyond the 1997 Microrover Flight Experiment on the Pathfinder Mission to Mars , NASA/JPL intend to continue to use small robotic rovers for planetary surface exploration. This task is designed to expand the current science enabling capabilities of these microrovers, while increasing their range of operation. This work includes exploration of new or improved methods of mobility, manipulation, sensing, computation, and control. The research is divided into three categories:

  • Rover Technology: new Rocky 7 rover design, construction and testing; sensing, perception, and control for navigation and manipulation.

  • Science Data Acquisition: integration and operation of real science instruments; autonomous sequencing for nominal and contingency operations; data reduction.

  • Operator Interfacing: graphical programming of rover operations; fused display of collected science data; WWW access.

For experimentation, we have created the Mars Yard outdoor test area for this task and several components of the Pathfinder mission. In addition, we will be conducting field trials in the Mojave desert at Lavic Lake, in collaboration with scientists from Washington University and elsewhere. For details of these field tests, visit the Mojave Field Experiments website at Wash U.

Completion Date:  09/30/1998

Point of Contact:  Samad Hayati - Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sponsored by:  Mars Technology Program

Associated Publications:
  1. R. Volpe, T. Ohm, R. Petras, R. Welch, J. Balaram, R. Ivlev, "A Prototype Manipulation System for Mars Rover Science Operations," IEEE / RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), September 7-11 1997.
  2. R. Volpe, "Mars Rover Navigation Results Using Sun Sensor Heading Determination," IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Robots and Systems (IROS), Kyongju Korea, Oct 17-21 1999.
  3. R. Volpe, T. Litwin, L. Matthies, "Mobile Robot Localization by Remote Viewing of a Colored Cylinder," IEEE / RSJ International Conference on Robots and Systems (IROS), Pittsburgh PA, August 1995.
  4. R. Volpe, T. Ohm, R. Petras, R. Welch, J. Balaram, R. Ivlev, "Mobile Robot Manipulators for Mars Science," Space Technology Journal, 17(3-4), April 1998, pp. 219-229.
  5. R. Volpe, "Navigation Results from Desert Field Tests of the Rocky 7 Mars Rover Prototype," International Journal of Robotics Research, Special Issue on Field and Service Robots, 18(7), July 1999.
  6. R. Volpe, J. Balaram, T. Ohm, R. Ivlev, "Rocky 7: A Next Generation Mars Rover Prototype," Journal of Advanced Robotics, 11(4), December 1997.
  7. R. Volpe, J. Balaram, T. Ohm, and R. Ivlev, "The Rocky 7 Mars Rover Prototype," IEEE / RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), Osaka, Japan, November 4-8, 1996.
  8. S. Hayati, R. Volpe, et al., "The Rocky 7 Rover: A Mars Sciencecraft Prototype," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Albuquerque NM, April 20-25, 1997.

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