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Chris Leger


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S T1722
Pasadena, CA 91109





Chris Leger, PhD

Member of Technical Staff


Dr. Chris Leger is the Surface FSW Development Lead for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, and is the developer for the robotic arm and motor control interface flight software. He previously worked as a rover driver and flight software developer for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, and as a mobility and motor control flight system engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory mission. On MER, he wrote flight software for the Descent Image Motion Estimation System (DIMES), manipulator collision detection, and radar and pyrotechnic device interfaces. He also designed rover mechanical hardware, developed machine vision algorithms for the MER ground data system, and worked on manipulator simulation for the MER Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP). He has been a rover planner for Spirit since it landed and continues to develop flight software for MER. Dr. Leger received a BS in Computer Engineering and MS and PhD degrees in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon University.


BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, December 1994.
MS in Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, May 1997.
PhD in Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, December 1999.

Research Interests

Planetary rover mobility, manipulation, and operations
3D computer vision


  1. C. Leger, R. Deen, R. Bonitz., "Remote Image Analysis for Mars Exploration Rover Mobility and Manipulation Operations.," In Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics., 17 September 2020.
  2. E. Baumgartner, R. Bonitz, J. Melko, L. Shiraishi, and C. Leger., "The Mars Exploration Rover Instrument Positioning System.," In Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT, March 2005., 17 September 2020.
  1. P. Chris Leger, Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, John R. Wright, Scott A. Maxwell, Robert G. Bonitz, Jeffrey J. Biesiadecki, Frank R. Hartman, Brian K. Cooper, Eric T. Baumgartner, and Mark W. Maimone, "Mars Exploration Rover Surface Operations: Driving Spirit at Gusev Crater," October 2005 IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics conference proceedings, Hawaii, USA., 10 October 2005.
  2. F. Hartman, B. Cooper, C. Leger, S. Maxwell, J. Wright and Jeng Yen., "Data Visualization for Effective Rover Sequencing," Data Visualization for Effective Rover Sequencing, 01 October 2005.
  3. A. Trebi-Ollennu, E. Baumgartner, C. Leger, and R. Bonitz., "Robotic Arm In-Situ Operations for the Mars Exploration Rovers Surface Mission," In Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics., 01 October 2005.
  1. E. Mumm, S. Farritor, P. Pirjanian, C. Leger, and P. Schenker., "Planetary Cliff Descent Using Cooperative Robots," Autonomous Robots, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp 259-272, 01 May 2004.
  2. Y. Cheng, J. Goguen, A. Johnson, C. Leger, L. Matthies, M. San Martin and R. Willson., "The Mars Exploration Rovers Descent Image Motion Estimation System.," IEEE Intelligent Systems, 19(3), pp. 13-21, 01 May 2004.
  1. P. Backes, J. Norris, M. Powell, G. Tharp, C. Leger, "Sequence Planning for the FIDO Mars Rover Prototype.," In Proceedings of the 2003 IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, MT., 08 March 2003.
  1. C. Leger, "Efficient Sensor/Model Based On-Line Collision Detection for Planetary Manipulators," In Proceedings of ICRA 2002., 01 May 2002.