Skip Navigation

Research Tasks

High-Resolution Terrain Database for DSENDS

Current Mars simulation systems for Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) incorporate Mars-wide low/medium resolution terrain models as well as an ad-hoc set of site-specific higher resolution terrain models to support modeling of the spacecraft on-board sensors and performance models. For future sensor intensive missions incorporating Pinpoint Landing or Hazard Avoidance, and related system and mission studies, these systems will need to incorporate a comprehensive set of the highest resolution terrain models to support accurate simulation of the on-board sensors such as cameras and radar altimeters.

To address these issues, we will develop and populate the simulation terrain database with a comprehensive set of the highest resolution terrain data products currently available for Mars. Additionally, we will develop an automated script process for importing into the simulation terrain database the terrain data and all of the meta-data associated with acquiring, validating and using the terrain.

DSENDS is a high-fidelity, physics-based Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) simulation tool in use to support current Mars missions (Phoenix, MSL). It is also in use for technology development and studies relating to future missions (e.g. Sample Return) where it is used for mission and system performance/trade analysis of various Pinpoint Landing and Hazard Avoidance technologies relating to sensors, guidance/navigation strategies, and control algorithms.
Point of Contact: J. (Bob) Balaram
Sponsored By: Mars Technology Program