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Research Tasks

Machine Vision Algorithm Toolbox

The objective of this task is to develop, integrate and demonstrate relevant machine vision algorithms and data structures for a small body sample return. The vision algorithms will provide the following capabilities to a state-of-the-art navigation system, such as JPL's next generation navigation and mission design software ("MONTE"):

1. Station keeping: This will enable the spacecraft to keep a relatively fixed position before final landing and/or sample collection. The vision algorithm will monitor the relative motion change within an area of interest (AOI) and feed a stream of continuous corrections to the spacecraft guidance and control system to keep the spacecraft above the AOI.

2. Surface Relative Navigation during Terminal Descent: In the final leg of Terminal Descent (TD) (< 100 meter from the surface) autonomous terrain relative navigation is required for the spacecraft safety and mission success. To ensure the spacecraft navigates to the scientifically interested site, the surface environment and the spacecraft state have to be constantly estimated and monitored. In this subsystem, the vision system will provide the critical elements of terrain relative sensing: surface relative spacecraft state (position attitude and velocity), a map of local surface topography, and the location of local surface hazards.
Point of Contact: Andrew Johnson