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Mark Maimone


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 264-422

Pasadena, CA 91109

Member of:

347F - Robotic Surface Mobility

Acting Member of:

347F - Robotic Surface Mobility

Mark Maimone

Robotic Systems Engineer


Dr. Mark Maimone is a Navigation and Machine Vision researcher at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology. He designed and implemented the Autonomous Navigation flight software for the MER and MSL Mars Rover missions, is a member of the Mars 2020 Flight Software team, and has been the Flight Software Lead and Rover Driver Deputy Lead on the Curiosity operations teams. He is currently a Rover Planner and Flight/Ground Software Developer for both Perseverance and Curiosity, and Deputy Lead Rover Planner for Perseverance.
In 1989 he completed the International Space University summer program. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Computer Science Department of Carnegie Mellon University in 1996, with a dissertation that addressed problems that have plagued stereo vision systems for decades. He was then a Post-doctoral Research Associate at Carnegie Mellons Robotics Institute, supervising the 1996 Lunar Rover field trials and serving as Navigation and Software Lead for the 1997 Atacama Desert Trek.
At JPL since 1997, Mark has worked on the Long Range Science Rover, Planetary Dexterous Manipulator, and Pioneer Vision System for Chornobyl Inspection projects, delivering 3D vision systems for autonomous robotic operations and mapping. Mark developed the autonomous vision and navigation software that lets the MER and MSL vehicles drive themselves safely, and wrote ground software that automates the analysis of Mobility and arm operations on MER and MSL Mars Rovers.
His research interests include robotic navigational autonomy, stereo vision, and camera calibration.


2022 Mars 2020 Robotic Operations Voyager Award for implementing a Rover Planner rule and best-practice checking framework and tool that both enhances rover safety and compresses the tactical timeline

2022 Mars 2020 Robotic Operations Team award for significant contributions to strategic route planning for M2020 Surface Operations

2020 Mars 2020 Team award for Mars 2020 CEDL Flight Software
2020 IEEE Aerospace Conference M. Charles Fogg Best Paper award for Driving Curiosity: Mars Rover Mobility Trends during the First Seven Years"
2019 MSL Team award for Successful development, testing and implementation of end to end Feed Extended Drilling and Sample Transfer which returned sampling capability to MSL following the failure of the feed mechanism on MSL.
2018 NASA Honors Award MSL Uplink Improvement Team – Group Achievement for exceptional achievement in reducing operations duration, increasing science return, and recovering from anomalies for the Mars Science Laboratory mission.
2017 Mars Exploration Directorate Voyager Award for Outstanding contributions in MSL FSW leadership, Rover Planning and auto-sequence deactivate development
2017 NASA Honors Award for excellent achievement in developing the Non-Percussive Drilling Capability for Mars Science Laboratory
2017 NASA Honors Award for the development, integration, and extensive testing of a new wheel speed control algorithm to prolong the life of Curiositys wheels
2017 NASA Honors Award for excellent achievement in resolving the Mars Science Laboratory Sol 911 Drill Short to Chassis Anomaly including the Rover Motor Controller Flight Software Patch
2017 MSL Team award for Continued technical excellence and troubleshooting of multiple MSL SA/SPaH anomalies over the past year
2017 MSL Team award for Excellence in diagnostics and flight recovery during the CHIMRA tunnel anomaly
2017 MSL Team award for Successful diagnosis, recovery, and return to nominal operations after safe mode and catalog corruption on sol 1389
2017 MSL Team award for Successful development, test, and deployment of the Traction Control patch to the flight vehicle, reducing forces experienced by the wheels
2016 NASA Group Achievement Award to MSL R12 FSW Development, V&V and Deployment Team for successful development, test and deployment of the Mars Science Laboratory R12 Flight Software Load
2015 NASA Group Achievement Award to MSL Prime Mission Science and Operations Team for exceptional technical innovations in rover surface operations leading to significantly improved Mars Science Laboratory prime mission performance and science return
2015 MSL R12 FSW and Transition Team Award, for the successful development, testing, upload and execution of the R12 Flight Software Load
2015 MSL Sol 911 Drill Chassis Short Anomaly Team Award, for the successful analysis, development, testing and recovery from the drill voice coil short anomaly
2015 MSL ChemCam Anomaly Response Team Award, for the successful analysis, development, testing and resolution of the ChemCam auto-focus and sun safety anomalies
2014 NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for the development and deployment of autonomous surface navigation for the MSL rover, enabling traverses beyond the rovers line of sight on Mars
2013 NASA Software of the Year Award for Mars Science Laboratory Rover Flight Software
2007 NASA Space Act Major Award for Mars Exploration Rovers Flight Software
2007 NASA Space Act Standard Award for Autonomous Instrument Placement for the Mars Exploration Rover
2006 Mars Exploration Directorate Team Bonus Award for successful flight code development and validation of autonomy algorithms for the MER mission
2006 ASPRS John I Davidson Award for Practical Papers for Initial Results of Rover Localization and Topographic Mapping for the 2003 MER Mission
2006 NASA Space Act award, Visual Odometry Software for 6 DOF Attitude Estimation on Mobile Robots Using Stereo Cameras
2005 JPL Level A Award, for outstanding technical accomplishment in the design, development, and incorporation of code which compensates for slip while driving on sloped terrain on Mars into the Mars Exploration Rover flight software.
2004 NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal for Mars Exploration Rover Autonomous Surface Navigation System
1999 JPL Nova Award for Planetary Dexterous Manipulation work
1997 CMU Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence for Atacama Desert Trek field test

Flight Project and Research Task Involvement

Flight Projects
Robot Operations
Surface System Software and Rover Navigation
MER Surface Navigation


  1. M. Maimone, N. Patel, A. Sabel, A. Holloway, A. Rankin, "Visual Odometry Thinking While Driving for the Curiosity Mars Rover’s Three-Year Test Campaign: Impact of Evolving Constraints on Verification and Validation," 2022 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 9 March 2022, 29 April 2022.
  2. V. Verma, F. Hartman, A. Rankin, M. Maimone, T. Del Sesto, O. Toupet, E. Graser, S. Myint, K. Davis, D. Klein, J. Koch, S. Brooks, P. Bailey , H. Justice, M. Dolci, H. Ono, "First 210 solar days of Mars Perseverance Robotic Operations - Mobility, Robotics Arm, Sampling, and Helicopter," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 05 March 2022.
  3. Mark Maimone, "Visualizing Multi-process CPU Utilization using CUSP," IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, USA, 01 March 2022.
  4. Neil Abcouwer, Mark Maimone, Freddy Wang, Evan Hilgemann, Alexandra Holloway, Anna Sabel, Nik Patel, "These Wheels Are Made For Arc-ing: Two New Mobility Commands To Improve Wheel Wear Outcomes," Flight Software Workshop, Laurel, MD, USA, 07 February 2022.
  5. Mark Maimone, Alexandra Holloway, "Load and Patch: Improving Hot Patch Capabilities in Curiosity's Flight Software," Flight Software Workshop, Laurel, MD USA 7 February 2022, 01 February 2022.
  1. Mark Maimone, "Evolution of Mars Rover Surface Navigation Autonomy," NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) Academy, Guidance Navigation and Control Webcast, 15 September 2021.
  2. A. Rankin, A. Holloway, J. Carsten, M. Maimone, "Integration of an Arm Kinematics Hot Patch Onboard the Curiosity Rover," 2021 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2021.
  3. Arturo Rankin, Mark Maimone, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Nikunj Patel, Dan Levine, Olivier Toupet, "Mars Curiosity Rover Mobility Trends During the First 7 Years," Journal of Field Robotics, 09 January 2021.
  1. Mark Maimone, "My Other Cars Drive Themselves on Mars," JPL Mission Chronicles talk series, 17 September 2020.
  2. Tom Soderstrom, Rob Manning, Mark Maimone, John Wright, Jordan Gleeson, Chris Burns, "Deep Reinforcement Learning on AWS with the NASA JPL Rover Pilots," Webinar, 15 July 2020.
  3. A Rankin, M Maimone, J Biesiadecki, N Patel, D Levine, O Toupet, "Driving Curiosity: Mars Rover Mobility Trends during the first Seven Years," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2020.
  4. Michael McHenry, Neil Abcouwer, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Johnny Chang, Tyler Del Sesto, Andrew Johnson, Todd Litwin, Mark Maimone, Jack Morrison, Richard Rieber, Olivier Toupet, Philip Twu, "Mars 2020 Autonomous Rover Navigation," Proceedings of the 43rd AAS Rocky Mountain Section guidance, Navigation and Control Conference, Breckenridge, Colorado, 30 January 2020.
  1. Olivier Toupet, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Art Rankin, Amanda Steffy, Gareth Meirion-Griffith, Dan Levine, Max Schadegg, Mark Maimone, "Terrain-adaptive Wheel Speed Control on the Curiosity Mars Rover: Algorithm and Flight Results," Journal of Field Robotics, Volume 37, Issue 5, Special Issue on Space Robotics, August 2020, 699 - 728, 26 August 2019.
  1. Mark Maimone, Scott Maxwell, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Stirling Algermissen, "RP-check: An Architecture for Spaceflight Command Sequence Validation," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 March 2018.
  2. O. Toupet, J. Biesiadecki, A. Rankin, A. Steffy, G. Meirion-Griffith, D. Levine, M. Schadegg, and M. Maimone, "Traction Control Design and Integration Onboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover," IEEE Aerospace Conference, 01 January 2018.
  1. Mark Maimone, "The Evolution of Autonomous Capabilities on NASAs Mars Rovers," Southern California Robotics Symposium 2017, Los Angeles, CA, 14 April 2017.
  1. Mark Maimone, "A Martian Vision: Impact of JPL Robotics Vision and Mobility Research on the Mars Rovers," JPL Robotics Section Senior Lecture Series, Pasadena, CA, 05 May 2016.
  2. R. E. Arvidson, M. Maimone, M. W. Gildner, E. K. Hines, "Curiosity Rover Mobility Issues Crossing Martian Megaripple Fields," 47th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Texas, USA, 01 March 2016.
  3. R. Arvidson, K. Iagnemma, M. Maimone, A. Fraeman, F. Zhou, M. Heverly, P. Bellutta, D. Rubin, N. Stein, J. Grotzinger, A. Vasavada, "Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Megaripple Crossings up to Sol 710 in Gale Crater," Journal of Field Robotics, doi: 10.1002/rob.21647, 01 February 2016.
  1. E. Benowitz, M. Maimone, "Patching Flight Software on Mars," Workshop on Spacecraft Flight Software, Laurel, MD, USA, 27 October 2015.
  2. Masahiro Ono, Thomas Fuchs, Amanda Steffy, Mark Maimone, Jeng Yen, "Risk-aware Planetary Rover Operation: Autonomous Terrain Classification and Path Planning," IEEE Aerospace conference proceedings, Big Sky, Montana, USA, 01 March 2015.
  1. Mark Maimone, "What Drives Curiosity? Robotics Technologies on the Mars Science Rover," Microsoft Research Presentation (slides originally presented at International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS) June 2014 Plenary session), 11 September 2014.
  2. Mark Maimone, "C++ on Mars: Incorporating C++ into Mars Rover Flight Software," Cplusplus Conference (CppCon) Keynote Speaker, Seattle, Washington, 01 September 2014.
  1. Matt Heverly, Jaret Matthews, Justin Lin, Dan Fuller, Mark Maimone, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, John Leichty, "Traverse Performance Characterization for the Mars Science Laboratory Rover," Journal of Field Robotics Special Issue: Special Issue on Space Robotics, Part 1 Volume 30, Issue 6, November/December 2013, 835-846, 23 October 2013.
  2. Mark Maimone, "Leave the Driving to Autonav," Curiosity Rover Report, Mars Science Laboratory Mission, JPL/Caltech video, 19 September 2013.
  1. J. Maki, D. Thiessen, A. Pourangi, P. Kobzeff, T. Litwin, L. Scherr, S. Elliott, A. Dingizian and M. Maimone, "The Mars Science Laboratory Engineering Cameras," Space Science Reviews, 2012, DOI: 10.1007/s11214-012-9882-4, 10 May 2012.
  1. Max Bajracharya, Mark W. Maimone, Daniel Helmick, "Autonomy for Mars Rovers: Past, Present, and Future,," IEEE Computer, vol. 41, no. 12, 44-50, 01 December 2008.
  2. Mark Maimone, "Challenges for Planetary Rover Navigation," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) Planetary Rovers Workshop, Pasadena CA, 19 May 2008, 19 May 2008.
  3. Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Robert Liebersbach, Mark Maimone, "Mars Exploration Rover Mobility and IDD Downlink Analysis Tools," International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation for Space (i-SAIRAS) Proceedings, Los Angeles, CA, 27 February 2008.
  1. L. Matthies, et. al,, "Computer Vision on Mars," Intl. Journal of Computer Vision, Oct. 2007, vol. 75, No. 1, pp. 67-92., 01 October 2007.
  2. Mark W. Maimone, P. Chris Leger, Jeffrey J. Biesiadecki, "Overview of the Mars Exploration Rovers' Autonomous Mobility and Vision Capabilities," IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) Space Robotics Workshop, Roma, Italy, 14 April 2007.
  3. M. Maimone, Y. Cheng, L. Matthies, "Two Years of Visual Odometry on the Mars Exploration Rovers," Journal of Field Robotics, Special Issue on Space Robotics, vol.24, no.3, pp.169-186, 01 March 2007.
  4. L. Matthies, M. Maimone, Y. Cheng, A. Johnson, R. Willson, "Computer vision in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission," Computational Vision in Neural and Machine Systems, L. R. Harris and M. R. M. Jenkin (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 01 January 2007.
  5. Jeffrey J. Biesiadecki, P. Chris Leger, Mark W. Maimone, "Tradeoffs Between Directed and Autonomous Driving on the Mars Exploration Rovers," Robotics Research: Springer Tracts in Advanced Robotics 28, 254-267, 01 January 2007.
  6. Rongxing Li , Raymond E. Arvidson, Kaichang Di, Matt Golombek, Joe Guinn, Andrew Johnson, Mark Maimone, Larry H. Matthies, Mike Malin, Tim Parker , Steven W. Squyres, "Opportunity Rover Localization and Topographic Mapping at the Landing Site Of Meridiani Planum, Mars," Journal of Geophysical Research - Planets, 2007 (to appear), 01 January 2007.
  1. Y. Cheng, M. Maimone, L. Matthies, "Visual Odometry on the Mars Exploration Rovers," IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, vol. 13, no. 2, 01 June 2006.
  2. J J Biesiadecki M W Maimone, "The Mars Exploration Rover Surface Mobility Flight Software: Driving Ambition," March 2006 IEEE Aerospace conference proceedings, Big Sky, Montana, USA, 08 March 2006.
  3. Mark Maimone, Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Edward Tunstel, Yang Cheng, and Chris Leger, "Surface navigation and mobility intelligence on the Mars Exploration Rovers," Intelligence for Space Robotics, TSI Press, San Antonio, TX, USA, chapter 3, 2006, 45-69, 01 March 2006.
  1. Jeffrey J. Biesiadecki and Eric T. Baumgartner and Robert G. Bonitz and Brian K. Cooper and Frank R. Hartman and P. Christopher Leger and Mark W. Maimone and Scott A. Maxwell and Ashitey Trebi-Ollenu and Edward W. Tunstel and John R. Wright., "Mars Exploration Rover Surface Operations: Driving Opportunity at Meridiani Planum," October 2005 IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics conference proceedings, Hawaii, USA., 10 October 2005.
  2. 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.
  3. K. Ali, C. Vanelli, J. Biesiadecki, M. Maimone, Y. Cheng, M. San Martin, J. Alexander, "Attitude and Position Esimation on the Mars Exploration Rovers," October 2005 IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics conference proceedings, Hawaii, USA., 10 October 2005.
  4. Tunstel, Maimone, Trebi-Ollennu, Yen, Petras, and Willson, "Mars Exploration Rover Mobility and Robotic Arm Operational Performance," October 2005 IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics conference proceedings, Hawaii, USA., 10 October 2005.
  5. Reg G. Willson, Mark W. Maimone, Andrew E. Johnson, Larry M. Scherr, "An Optical Model for Image Artifacts Produced by Dust Particles on Lenses," International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation for Space (i-SAIRAS) Proceedings, Munich, Germany, 5-9 Sept 2005, 05 September 2005.
  6. E. Tunstel, A. Howard, M. Maimone, A. Trebi-Ollenu, "Mars exploration rover performance as a baseline for flight Rover autonomy technology assessment," 8th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics And Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS), 01 January 2005.
  7. Li, R., S.W. Squyres, R.E. Arvidson, J. Bell, Y. Cheng, L. Crumpler, J.J. Des Marais, K. Di, T.A. Ely, M. Golombek, E. Graat, J. Grant, J. Guinn, A. Johnson, R. Greeley, R.L. Kirk, M. Maimone, L.H. Matthies, M. Malin, T. Parker, M. Sims, L.A. Soderblom, S. Thompson, J. Wang, P. Whelley and F. Xu, "Initial Results of Rover Localization and Topographic Mapping for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission," Journal of Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, Vol.71, No.10, pp.1129-1142., 01 January 2005.
  1. Invited paper and plenary talk, "Autonomous Navigation Results from the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Mission," International Symposium on Experimental Robotics, Singapore, 01 June 2004.
  2. Mark Maimone, Jack Morrison, "Rover Navigation 101: Autonomous Rover Navigation," (<a href="">direct link</a>), 13 January 2004.
  1. Clark F. Olson, Larry H. Matthies, Marcel Schoppers and Mark W. Maimone, "Rover navigation using stereo ego-motion," Robotics and Autonomous Systems 43(4), Elsevier Publishers, June 2003,, 215-229., 01 June 2003.
  2. J. N. Maki, J. F. Bell III, K. E. Herkenhoff, S. W. Squyres, A. Kiely, M. Klimesh, M. Schwochert, T. Litwin, R. Willson, A. Johnson, M. Maimone, E. Baumgartner, A. Collins, M. Wadsworth, S. T. Elliot, A. Dingizian, D. Brown, E. C. Hagerott, L. Scherr, R. Deen, D. Alexander, and J. Lorre, "The Mars Exploration Rover Engineering Cameras," J. Geophys. Res., Vol 108, No. E12, 2003, 12-1 to 12-24, 01 January 2003.
  1. Goldberg, Maimone, and Matthies, "Stereo vision and rover navigation software for planetary exploration," March 2002 IEEE Aerospace conference proceedings, volume 5, Big Sky, Montana, USA, 2025-2036, 01 March 2002.
  1. Eisenman, Liebe, Maimone, Schwochert, and Willson, "Mars Exploration Rover Engineering Cameras," Sept 2001 SPIE Remote Sensing conference proceedings, Toulouse, France., 01 September 2001.
  2. Jeffrey Biesiadecki, Mark W. Maimone, and Jack Morrison., "The Athena SDM Rover: A Testbed for Mars Rover Mobility," June 2001 iSAIRAS conference proceedings, Montreal, Canada., 01 June 2001.
  3. Clark F. Olson, Larry H. Matthies, Marcel Schoppers, and Mark W. Maimone, "Stereo ego-motion improvements for robust rover navigation," 2001 ICRA conference proceedings, Seoul, Korea, 1099-1104., 01 January 2001.
  1. Clark F. Olson, Larry H. Matthies, Marcel Schoppers, and Mark W. Maimon, "Robust stereo ego-motion for long distance navigation," June 2000 CVPR conference proceedings, Hilton Head, South Carolina, 453-458, 01 June 2000.
  2. Issa Nesnas, Mark Maimone, and Hari Das, "Rover Maneuvering for Autonomous Vision-Based Dexterous Manipulation," April 2000 ICRA conference proceedings, San Francisco, California., 01 April 2000.
  1. I. Nesnas, M. Maimone, H. Das, "Autonomous Vision-Based Manipulation from a Rover Platform," November 1999 CIRA conference proceedings, Monterey, California., 01 November 1999.
  2. E. Krotkov, M. Hebert, L. Henriksen, P. Levin, M. Maimone, R. Simmons, J. Teza, "Evolution of a Prototype Lunar Rover: Addition of Laser-Based Hazard Detection, and Results from Field Trials in Lunar Analogue Terrain," Autonomous Robots 7(2), Kluwer Academic Publishers, September 1999., 01 September 1999.
  3. M. Maimone, I. Nesnas, H. Das, "Autonomous Rock Tracking and Acquisition from a Mars Rover," June 1999 i-SAIRAS'99 Conference Proceedings, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 329-334., 01 June 1999.
  4. C. Weisbin, G. Rodriguez, P. Schenker, H. Das, S. Hayati, E. Baumgartner, M. Maimone, I. Nesnas, R. Volpe, "Autonomous Rover Technology for Mars Sample Return,," June 1999 i-SAIRAS99 Conference Proceedings, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 1-10, 01 June 1999.
  5. Wettergreen, Bapna, Maimone and Thomas, "Developing Nomad for Robotic Exploration of the Atacama Desert," Robotics and Autonomous Systems Journal, Elsevier publishers, vol 26 numbers 2-3, 127-148, 01 February 1999.
  6. H. Das, X. Bao, Y. Bar-Cohen, R. Bonitz, R. Lendemann, M. Maimone, I. Nesnas, C. Voorhees, "Robot manipulator technologies for planetary exploration," Proceedings of the 6th Annual International Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials, Newport Beach, CA. Paper No. 3668-17., 01 January 1999.
  7. T. T. Blackmon, L. Ngyuen, C. F. Neveu, D. Rasmussen, E. Zbinden, M. Maimone, L. H. Matthies, S. Thayer, V. Broz, J. Teza, J. Osborn, M. Hebert, G. Thomas, J. Steele, "Photorealistic virtual reality mapping system for Chornobyl accident site assessment," Human Vision and Electronic Imaging IV, San Jose, CA. 25-28 January, 1999., 01 January 1999.
  1. Maimone, Matthies, Osborn, Rollins, Teza and Thayer, "A photo-realistic 3-D mapping system for extreme nuclear environments: Chornobyl," October, 1998 IROS Conference Proceedings vol III, Victoria, BC, 1521-1527., 01 October 1998.
  1. Mark Maimone, "Characterizing Stereo Matching Problems using Local Spatial Frequency," Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science Ph.D. Thesis, CMU-CS-TR-96-125, 01 May 1996.
  1. S.I. Feldman, David M. Gay, Mark W. Maimone, N. L. Schryer, "A Fortran to C Converter," AT&T Bell Laboratories Computing Science CS-TR-149, 01 January 1990.