The moon of Saturn, Titan, is a high priority exploration target for a variety of reasons, including its potential to host prebiotic or protobiotic chemistry that could reveal steps in the origin of life. The Cassini-Huygens mission is exploring Titan with orbital imaging using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and visible/infrared (VIR) imaging spectroscopy, as well as with descent imaging on the Huygens probe. Studies of future Titan missions are considering a balloon with onboard imaging and surface sampling capability and an orbiter to do global mapping with SAR and VIR multispectral imaging.
Over a three-year effort, the research proposed here will facilitate registration of Cassini SAR and VIR imagery and address needs of future Titan missions by developing and characterizing the performance of algorithms:
- Autonomous registration of SAR and VIR imagery from flyby, orbital, and balloon platforms to improve science image registration and to provide global balloon position estimates;
- Autonomous topographic mapping, orthoimage generation, and incremental balloon motion estimation with imagery from the balloon to improve image registration, data compression, and balloon navigation.
We will also show that these algorithms are amenable to onboard implementation with spacequalifiable computing hardware that is already in development based on field-programmable gate arrays.
This work is funded by the NASA Applied Information Systems Research (AISR) program.
Larry Matthies - Jet Propulsion Laboratory
NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) funded