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Sample records for mars pathfinder rover

  1. Maps of the Martian Landing Sites and Rover Traverses: Viking 1 and 2, Mars Pathfinder, and Phoenix Landers, and the Mars Exploration Rovers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Parker, T. J.; Calef, F. J., III; Deen, R. G.; Gengl, H.

    2016-12-01

    The traverse maps produced tactically for the MER and MSL rover missions are the first step in placing the observations made by each vehicle into a local and regional geologic context. For the MER, Phoenix and MSL missions, 25cm/pixel HiRISE data is available for accurately localizing the vehicles. Viking and Mars Pathfinder, however, relied on Viking Orbiter images of several tens of m/pixel to triangulate to horizon features visible both from the ground and from orbit. After Pathfinder, MGS MOC images became available for these landing sites, enabling much better correlations to horizon features and localization predictions to be made, that were then corroborated with HiRISE images beginning 9 years ago. By combining topography data from MGS, Mars Express, and stereo processing of MRO CTX and HiRISE images into orthomosaics (ORRs) and digital elevation models (DEMs), it is possible to localize all the landers and rover positions to an accuracy of a few tens of meters with respect to the Mars global control net, and to better than half a meter with respect to other features within a HiRISE orthomosaic. JPL's MIPL produces point clouds of the MER Navcam stereo images that can be processed into 1cm/pixel ORR/DEMs that are then georeferenced to a HiRISE/CTX base map and DEM. This allows compilation of seamless mosaics of the lander and rover camera-based ORR/DEMs with the HiRISE ORR/DEM that can be viewed in 3 dimensions with GIS programs with that capability. We are re-processing the Viking Lander, Mars Pathfinder, and Phoenix lander data to allow similar ORR/DEM products to be made for those missions. For the fixed landers and Spirit, we will compile merged surface/CTX/HiRISE ORR/DEMs, that will enable accurate local and regional mapping of these landing sites, and allow comparisons of the results from these missions to be made with current and future surface missions.

  2. Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor Outreach Compilation

    Science.gov (United States)

    1999-09-01

    This videotape is a compilation of the best NASA JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) videos of the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor missions. The mission is described using animation and narration as well as some actual footage of the entire sequence of mission events. Included within these animations are the spacecraft orbit insertion; descent to the Mars surface; deployment of the airbags and instruments; and exploration by Sojourner, the Mars rover. JPL activities at spacecraft control during significant mission events are also included at the end. The spacecraft cameras pan the surrounding Mars terrain and film Sojourner traversing the surface and inspecting rocks. A single, brief, processed image of the Cydonia region (Mars face) at an oblique angle from the Mars Global Surveyor is presented. A description of the Mars Pathfinder mission, instruments, landing and deployment process, Mars approach, spacecraft orbit insertion, rover operation are all described using computer animation. Actual color footage of Sojourner as well as a 360 deg pan of the Mars terrain surrounding the spacecraft is provided. Lower quality black and white photography depicting Sojourner traversing the Mars surface and inspecting Martian rocks also is included.

  3. Mars Pathfinder Microrover- Implementing a Low Cost Planetary Mission Experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matijevic, J.

    1996-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX) is a NASA Office of Space Access and Technology (OSAT) flight experiment which has been delivered and integrated with the Mars Pathfinder (MPF) lander and spacecraft system. The total cost of the MFEX mission, including all subsystem design and development, test, integration with the MPF lander and operations on Mars has been capped at $25 M??is paper discusses the process and the implementation scheme which has resulted in the development of this first Mars rover.

  4. Mechanical design of the Mars Pathfinder mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eisen, Howard Jay; Buck, Carl W.; Gillis-Smith, Greg R.; Umland, Jeffrey W.

    1997-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder mission and the Sojourner rover is reported on, with emphasis on the various mission steps and the performance of the technologies involved. The mechanical design of mission hardware was critical to the success of the entry sequence and the landing operations. The various mechanisms employed are considered.

  5. The Athena Mars Rover Science Payload

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyes, S. W.; Arvidson, R.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Haskin, L.

    1998-01-01

    The Mars Surveyor missions that will be launched in April of 2001 will include a highly capable rover that is a successor to the Mars Pathfinder mission's Sojourner rover. The design goals for this rover are a total traverse distance of at least 10 km and a total lifetime of at least one Earth year. The rover's job will be to explore a site in Mars' ancient terrain, searching for materials likely to preserve a record of ancient martian water, climate, and possibly biology. The rover will collect rock and soil samples, and will store them for return to Earth by a subsequent Mars Surveyor mission in 2005. The Athena Mars rover science payload is the suite of scientific instruments and sample collection tools that will be used to perform this job. The specific science objectives that NASA has identified for the '01 rover payload are to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. (4) Collect and store samples. The Athena payload has been designed to meet these objectives. The focus of the design is on field operations: making sure the rover can locate, characterize, and collect scientifically important samples in a dusty, dirty, real-world environment. The topography, morphology, and mineralogy of the scene around the rover will be revealed by Pancam/Mini-TES, an integrated imager and IR spectrometer. Pancam views the surface around the rover in stereo and color. It uses two high-resolution cameras that are identical in most respects to the rover's navigation cameras. The detectors are low-power, low-mass active pixel sensors with on-chip 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion. Filters provide 8-12 color spectral bandpasses over the spectral region from 0.4 to 1.1 micron Narrow-angle optics provide an angular resolution of 0

  6. Mars 2024/2026 Pathfinder Mission: Mars Architectures, Systems, and Technologies for Exploration and Resources Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeitlin, Nancy; Mueller, Robert; Muscatello, Anthony

    2015-01-01

    Integrate In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) sub-systems and examine advanced capabilities and technologies to verify Mars 2024 Forward architecture precursor pathfinder options: Integrated spacecraft/surface infrastructure fluid architecture: propulsion, power, life support center dot Power system feed and propellant scavenging from propulsion system center dot High quality oxygen for life support and EVA Fluid/cryogenic zero-loss transfer and long-term storage center dot Rapid depot-to-rover/spacecraft center dot Slow ISRU plant-to-ascent vehicle Integration of ISRU consumable production center dot Oxygen only from Mars atmosphere carbon dioxide center dot Oxygen, fuel, water, from extraterrestrial soil/regolith Test bed to evaluate long duration life, operations, maintenance on hardware, sensors, and autonomy

  7. Mars Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Murdin, P.

    2000-11-01

    First of NASA's Discovery missions. Launched in December 1996 and arrived at Mars on 4 July 1997. Mainly intended as a technology demonstration mission. Used airbags to cushion the landing on Mars. The Carl Sagan Memorial station returned images of an ancient flood plain in Ares Vallis. The 10 kg Sojourner rover used an x-ray spectrometer to study the composition of rocks and travelled about 100 ...

  8. Mars Science Laboratory Rover System Thermal Test

    Science.gov (United States)

    Novak, Keith S.; Kempenaar, Joshua E.; Liu, Yuanming; Bhandari, Pradeep; Dudik, Brenda A.

    2012-01-01

    On November 26, 2011, NASA launched a large (900 kg) rover as part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to Mars. The MSL rover is scheduled to land on Mars on August 5, 2012. Prior to launch, the Rover was successfully operated in simulated mission extreme environments during a 16-day long Rover System Thermal Test (STT). This paper describes the MSL Rover STT, test planning, test execution, test results, thermal model correlation and flight predictions. The rover was tested in the JPL 25-Foot Diameter Space Simulator Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The Rover operated in simulated Cruise (vacuum) and Mars Surface environments (8 Torr nitrogen gas) with mission extreme hot and cold boundary conditions. A Xenon lamp solar simulator was used to impose simulated solar loads on the rover during a bounding hot case and during a simulated Mars diurnal test case. All thermal hardware was exercised and performed nominally. The Rover Heat Rejection System, a liquid-phase fluid loop used to transport heat in and out of the electronics boxes inside the rover chassis, performed better than predicted. Steady state and transient data were collected to allow correlation of analytical thermal models. These thermal models were subsequently used to predict rover thermal performance for the MSL Gale Crater landing site. Models predict that critical hardware temperatures will be maintained within allowable flight limits over the entire 669 Sol surface mission.

  9. MOC's Highest Resolution View of Mars Pathfinder Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    2000-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] (A) Mars Pathfinder site, left: April 1998; right: January 2000. [figure removed for brevity, see original site] (B) top: April 1998; bottom: January 2000.Can Mars Global Surveyor's 1.5 meter (5 ft) per pixel camera be used to find any evidence as to the fate of the Mars Polar Lander that was lost on December 3, 1999? One way to find out is to look for one of the other Mars landers and determine what, if anything, can be seen. There have been three successful Mars lander missions: Viking 1 (July 1976), Viking 2 (September 1976), and Mars Pathfinder (July 1997). Of these, the location of Mars Pathfinder is known the best because there are several distinct landmarks visible in the lander's images that help in locating the spacecraft. The MGS MOC Operations Team at Malin Space Science Systems has been tasked since mid-December 1999 with looking for the lost Polar Lander. Part of this effort has been to test the capabilities of MOC by taking a picture of the landing site of Mars Pathfinder.An attempt to photograph the Pathfinder site was made once before, in April 1998, by turning the entire MGS spacecraft so that the camera could point at the known location of the Mars Pathfinder lander. Turning the MGS spacecraft like this is not a normal operation--it takes considerable planning, and disrupts the on-going, normal acquisition of science data. It took 3 attempts to succeed, but on April 22, 1998, MOC acquired the picture seen on the left side of Figure A, above. The three near-by major landmarks that were visible to the Pathfinder's cameras are labeled here (North Peak, Big Crater, Twin Peaks). It was known at the time that this image was not adequate to see the Pathfinder lander because the camera was not in focus and had a resolution of only 3.3 meters (11 ft) per pixel. In this and all other images shown here, north is up. All views of the 1998 MOC image are illuminated from the lower right, all views of the 2000 MOC

  10. Recent Accomplishments in Mars Exploration: The Rover Perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLennan, S. M.; McSween, H. Y.

    2018-04-01

    Mobile rovers have revolutionized our understanding of Mars geology by identifying habitable environments and addressing critical questions related to Mars science. Both the advances and limitations of rovers set the scene for Mars Sample Return.

  11. NASA Mars 2020 Rover Mission: New Frontiers in Science

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calle, Carlos I.

    2014-01-01

    The Mars 2020 rover mission is the next step in NASAs robotic exploration of the red planet. The rover, based on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover now on Mars, will address key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission would also provide opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.Like the Mars Science Laboratory rover, which has been exploring Mars since 2012, the Mars 2020 spacecraft will use a guided entry, descent, and landing system which includes a parachute, descent vehicle, and, during the provides the ability to land a very large, heavy rover on the surface of Mars in a more precise landing area. The Mars 2020 mission is designed to accomplish several high-priority planetary science goals and will be an important step toward meeting NASAs challenge to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. The mission will conduct geological assessments of the rover's landing site, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. The science instruments aboard the rover also will enable scientists to identify and select a collection of rock and soil samples that will be stored for potential return to Earth in the future. The rover also may help designers of a human expedition understand the hazards posed by Martian dust and demonstrate how to collect carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which could be a valuable resource for producing oxygen and rocket fuel.

  12. Mars rover local navigation and hazard avoidance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilcox, B. H.; Gennery, D. B.; Mishkin, A. H.

    1989-01-01

    A Mars rover sample return mission has been proposed for the late 1990's. Due to the long speed-of-light delays between earth and Mars, some autonomy on the rover is highly desirable. JPL has been conducting research in two possible modes of rover operation, Computer-Aided Remote Driving and Semiautonomous Navigation. A recently-completed research program used a half-scale testbed vehicle to explore several of the concepts in semiautonomous navigation. A new, full-scale vehicle with all computational and power resources on-board will be used in the coming year to demonstrate relatively fast semiautonomous navigation. The computational and power requirements for Mars rover local navigation and hazard avoidance are discussed.

  13. Rationale for a Mars Pathfinder mission to Chryse Planitia and the Viking 1 lander

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craddock, Robert A.

    1994-01-01

    Presently the landing site for Mars Pathfinder will be constrained to latitudes between 0 deg and 30 deg N to facilitate communication with earth and to allow the lander and rover solar arrays to generate the maximum possible power. The reference elevation of the site must also be below 0 km so that the descent parachute, a Viking derivative, has sufficient time to open and slow the lander to the correct terminal velocity. Although Mars has as much land surface area as the continental crust of the earth, such engineering constraints immediately limit the number of possible landing sites to only three broad areas: Amazonis, Chryse, and Isidis Planitia. Of these, both Chryse and Isidis Planitia stand out as the sites offering the most information to address several broad scientific topics.

  14. International testing of a Mars rover prototype

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kemurjian, Alexsandr Leonovich; Linkin, V.; Friedman, L.

    1993-03-01

    Tests on a prototype engineering model of the Russian Mars 96 Rover were conducted by an international team in and near Death Valley in the United States in late May, 1992. These tests were part of a comprehensive design and testing program initiated by the three Russian groups responsible for the rover development. The specific objectives of the May tests were: (1) evaluate rover performance over different Mars-like terrains; (2) evaluate state-of-the-art teleoperation and autonomy development for Mars rover command, control and navigation; and (3) organize an international team to contribute expertise and capability on the rover development for the flight project. The range and performance that can be planned for the Mars mission is dependent on the degree of autonomy that will be possible to implement on the mission. Current plans are for limited autonomy, with Earth-based teleoperation for the nominal navigation system. Several types of television systems are being investigated for inclusion in the navigation system including panoramic camera, stereo, and framing cameras. The tests used each of these in teleoperation experiments. Experiments were included to consider use of such TV data in autonomy algorithms. Image processing and some aspects of closed-loop control software were also tested. A micro-rover was tested to help consider the value of such a device as a payload supplement to the main rover. The concept is for the micro-rover to serve like a mobile hand, with its own sensors including a television camera.

  15. Operations and Autonomy of the Mars Pathfinder Microrover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishkin, A. H.; Morrison, J. C.; Nguyen, T. T.; Stone, H. W.; Cooper, B. K.

    1998-01-01

    The Microrover Flight Experiment (MFEX) is a NSAS OACT (Office of Advanced Concepts and Technology) flight experiment which, integrated with the Mars Pathfinder (MPF) lander and spacecraft system, landed on Mars on July 4, 1997.

  16. Cars on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.

    2002-01-01

    Mars is one of the most fascinating planets in the solar system, featuring an atmosphere, water, and enormous volcanoes and canyons. The Mars Pathfinder, Global Surveyor, and Odyssey missions mark the first wave of the Planet Earth's coming invasion of the red planet, changing our views of the past and future of the planet and the possibilities of life. Scientist and science-fiction writer Geoffrey A. Landis will present experiences on the Pathfinder mission, the challenges of using solar power on the surface of Mars, and present future missions to Mars such as the upcoming Mars Twin Rovers, which will launch two highly-capable vehicles in 2003 to explore the surface of Mars.

  17. Mars Exploration Rover Spirit End of Mission Report

    Science.gov (United States)

    Callas, John L.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit landed in Gusev crater on Mars on January 4, 2004, for a prime mission designed to last three months (90 sols). After more than six years operating on the surface of Mars, the last communication received from Spirit occurred on Sol 2210 (March 22, 2010). Following the loss of signal, the Mars Exploration Rover Project radiated over 1400 commands to Mars in an attempt to elicit a response from the rover. Attempts were made utilizing Deep Space Network X-Band and UHF relay via both Mars Odyssey and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Search and recovery efforts concluded on July 13, 2011. It is the MER project's assessment that Spirit succumbed to the extreme environmental conditions experienced during its fourth winter on Mars. Focusing on the time period from the end of the third Martian winter through the fourth winter and end of recovery activities, this report describes possible explanations for the loss of the vehicle and the extent of recovery efforts that were performed. It offers lessons learned and provides an overall mission summary.

  18. Sedimentary geomorphology of the Mars Pathfinder Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rice, James W., Jr.; Parker, Timothy Jay

    1997-01-01

    The first landing on Mars in over 20 years will take place July 4, 1997, near te mouth of the Ares Vallis outflow channel located in southeastern Chryse Planitia. Mars Pathfinder, unlike Viking 1, is expected to land on a surface that has a distinct and unambiguous fluvial signature.

  19. (abstract) Telecommunications for Mars Rovers and Robotic Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cesarone, Robert J.; Hastrup, Rolf C.; Horne, William; McOmber, Robert

    1997-01-01

    Telecommunications plays a key role in all rover and robotic missions to Mars both as a conduit for command information to the mission and for scientific data from the mission. Telecommunications to the Earth may be accomplished using direct-to-Earth links via the Deep Space Network (DSN) or by relay links supported by other missions at Mars. This paper reviews current plans for missions to Mars through the 2005 launch opportunity and their capabilities in support of rover and robotic telecommunications.

  20. Using Planning, Scheduling and Execution for Autonomous Mars Rover Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estlin, Tara A.; Gaines, Daniel M.; Chouinard, Caroline M.; Fisher, Forest W.; Castano, Rebecca; Judd, Michele J.; Nesnas, Issa A.

    2006-01-01

    With each new rover mission to Mars, rovers are traveling significantly longer distances. This distance increase raises not only the opportunities for science data collection, but also amplifies the amount of environment and rover state uncertainty that must be handled in rover operations. This paper describes how planning, scheduling and execution techniques can be used onboard a rover to autonomously generate and execute rover activities and in particular to handle new science opportunities that have been identified dynamically. We also discuss some of the particular challenges we face in supporting autonomous rover decision-making. These include interaction with rover navigation and path-planning software and handling large amounts of uncertainty in state and resource estimations. Finally, we describe our experiences in testing this work using several Mars rover prototypes in a realistic environment.

  1. Mars 2020 Rover SHERLOC Calibration Target

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graff, Trevor; Fries, Marc; Burton, Aaron; Ross, Amy; Larson, Kristine; Garrison, Dan; Calaway, Mike; Tran, Vinh; Bhartia, Roh; Beegle, Luther

    2016-01-01

    The Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals (SHERLOC) instrument is a deep ultraviolet (UV) Raman Fluorescence instrument selected as part of the Mars 2020 rover instrument suite. SHERLOC will be mounted on the rover arm and its primary role is to identify carbonaceous species in martian samples. The SHERLOC instrument requires a calibration target which is being designed and fabricated at JSC as part of our continued science participation in Mars robotic missions. The SHERLOC calibration target will address a wide range of NASA goals to include basic science of interest to both the Science Mission Directorate and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

  2. Slip Validation and Prediction for Mars Exploration Rovers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jeng Yen

    2008-04-01

    Full Text Available This paper presents a novel technique to validate and predict the rover slips on Martian surface for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission (MER. Different from the traditional approach, the proposed method uses the actual velocity profile of the wheels and the digital elevation map (DEM from the stereo images of the terrain to formulate the equations of motion. The six wheel speed from the empirical encoder data comprises the vehicle's velocity, and the rover motion can be estimated using mixed differential and algebraic equations. Applying the discretization operator to these equations, the full kinematics state of the rover is then resolved by the configuration kinematics solution in the Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP. This method, with the proper wheel slip and sliding factors, produces accurate simulation of the Mars Exploration rovers, which have been validated with the earth-testing vehicle. This computational technique has been deployed to the operation of the MER rovers in the extended mission period. Particularly, it yields high quality prediction of the rover motion on high slope areas. The simulated path of the rovers has been validated using the telemetry from the onboard Visual Odometry (VisOdom. Preliminary results indicate that the proposed simulation is very effective in planning the path of the rovers on the high-slope areas.

  3. Onboard autonomous mineral detectors for Mars rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilmore, M. S.; Bornstein, B.; Castano, R.; Merrill, M.; Greenwood, J.

    2005-12-01

    Mars rovers and orbiters currently collect far more data than can be downlinked to Earth, which reduces mission science return; this problem will be exacerbated by future rovers of enhanced capabilities and lifetimes. We are developing onboard intelligence sufficient to extract geologically meaningful data from spectrometer measurements of soil and rock samples, and thus to guide the selection, measurement and return of these data from significant targets at Mars. Here we report on techniques to construct mineral detectors capable of running on current and future rover and orbital hardware. We focus on carbonate and sulfate minerals which are of particular geologic importance because they can signal the presence of water and possibly life. Sulfates have also been discovered at the Eagle and Endurance craters in Meridiani Planum by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity and at other regions on Mars by the OMEGA instrument aboard Mars Express. We have developed highly accurate artificial neural network (ANN) and Support Vector Machine (SVM) based detectors capable of identifying calcite (CaCO3) and jarosite (KFe3(SO4)2(OH)6) in the visible/NIR (350-2500 nm) spectra of both laboratory specimens and rocks in Mars analogue field environments. To train the detectors, we used a generative model to create 1000s of linear mixtures of library end-member spectra in geologically realistic percentages. We have also augmented the model to include nonlinear mixing based on Hapke's models of bidirectional reflectance spectroscopy. Both detectors perform well on the spectra of real rocks that contain intimate mixtures of minerals, rocks in natural field environments, calcite covered by Mars analogue dust, and AVIRIS hyperspectral cubes. We will discuss the comparison of ANN and SVM classifiers for this task, technical challenges (weathering rinds, atmospheric compositions, and computational complexity), and plans for integration of these detectors into both the Coupled Layer

  4. Electrostatic Spectrometer for Mars Rover Wheel

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Develop a simple electrostatic spectrometer that can be mounted on the wheels of a Mars rover to continuously and unobtrusively determine the mineral composition and...

  5. Lithium-Thionyl Chloride Batteries for the Mars Pathfinder Microrover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Deligiannis, F.; Frank, H.; Staniewicz, R.J.; Willson, J. [SAFT America, Inc., Cockeysville, MD (United States)

    1996-02-01

    A discussion of the power requirements for the Mars Pathfinder Mission is given. Topics include: battery requirements; cell design; battery design; test descriptions and results. A summary of the results is also included.

  6. Lithium-Thionyl Chloride Batteries for the Mars Pathfinder Microrover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deligiannis, Frank; Frank, Harvey; Staniewicz, R. J.; Willson, John

    1996-01-01

    A discussion of the power requirements for the Mars Pathfinder Mission is given. Topics include: battery requirements; cell design; battery design; test descriptions and results. A summary of the results is also included.

  7. Dust Accumulation and Solar Panel Array Performance on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turgay, Eren H.

    2004-01-01

    One of the most fundamental design considerations for any space vehicle is its power supply system. Many options exist, including batteries, fuel cells, nuclear reactors, radioisotopic thermal generators (RTGs), and solar panel arrays. Solar arrays have many advantages over other types of power generation. They are lightweight and relatively inexpensive, allowing more mass and funding to be allocated for other important devices, such as scientific instruments. For Mars applications, solar power is an excellent option, especially for long missions. One might think that dust storms would be a problem; however, while dust blocks some solar energy, it also scatters it, making it diffuse rather than beamed. Solar cells are still able to capture this diffuse energy and convert it into substantial electrical power. For these reasons, solar power was chosen to be used on the 1997 Mars Pathfinder mission. The success of this mission set a precedent, as NASA engineers have selected solar power as the energy system of choice for all future Mars missions, including the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Project. Solar sells have their drawbacks, however. They are difficult to manufacture and are relatively fragile. In addition, solar cells are highly sensitive to different parts of the solar spectrum, and finding the correct balance is crucial to the success of space missions. Another drawback is that the power generated is not a constant with respect to time, but rather changes with the relative angle to the sun. On Mars, dust accumulation also becomes a factor. Over time, dust settles out of the atmosphere and onto solar panels. This dust blocks and shifts the frequency of the incoming light, degrading solar cell performance. My goal is to analyze solar panel telemetry data from the two MERs (Spirit and Opportunity) in an effort to accurately model the effect of dust accumulation on solar panels. This is no easy process due to the large number of factors involved. Changing solar

  8. Mars Exploration Rover Heat Shield Recontact Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raiszadeh, Behzad; Desai, Prasun N.; Michelltree, Robert

    2011-01-01

    The twin Mars Exploration Rover missions landed successfully on Mars surface in January of 2004. Both missions used a parachute system to slow the rover s descent rate from supersonic to subsonic speeds. Shortly after parachute deployment, the heat shield, which protected the rover during the hypersonic entry phase of the mission, was jettisoned using push-off springs. Mission designers were concerned about the heat shield recontacting the lander after separation, so a separation analysis was conducted to quantify risks. This analysis was used to choose a proper heat shield ballast mass to ensure successful separation with low probability of recontact. This paper presents the details of such an analysis, its assumptions, and the results. During both landings, the radar was able to lock on to the heat shield, measuring its distance, as it descended away from the lander. This data is presented and is used to validate the heat shield separation/recontact analysis.

  9. Microbiological cleanliness of the Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newlin, L.; Barengoltz, J.; Chung, S.; Kirschner, L.; Koukol, R.; Morales, F.

    2002-01-01

    Planetary protection for Mars missions is described, and the approach being taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Project is discussed. Specific topics include alcohol wiping, dry heat microbial reduction, microbiological assays, and the Kennedy Space center's PHSF clean room.

  10. Requirements and Designs for Mars Rover RTGs

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Schock, Alfred; Shirbacheh, M; Sankarankandath, V

    2012-01-19

    The current-generation RTGs (both GPHS and MOD) are designed for operation in a vacuum environment. The multifoil thermal insulation used in those RTGs only functions well in a good vacuum. Current RTGs are designed to operate with an inert cover gas before launch, and to be vented to space vacuum after launch. Both RTGs are sealed with a large number of metallic C-rings. Those seals are adequate for retaining the inert-gas overpressure during short-term launch operations, but would not be adequate to prevent intrusion of the Martian atmospheric gases during long-term operations there. Therefore, for the Mars Rover application, those RTGs just be modified to prevent the buildup of significant pressures of Mars atmosphere or of helium (from alpha decay of the fuel). In addition, a Mars Rover RTG needs to withstand a long-term dynamic environment that is much more severe than that seen by an RTG on an orbiting spacecraft or on a stationary planetary lander. This paper describes a typical Rover mission, its requirements, the environment it imposes on the RTG, and a design approach for making the RTG operable in such an environment. Specific RTG designs for various thermoelectric element alternatives are presented.; Reference CID #9268 and CID #9276.

  11. A Rover Mobility Platform with Autonomous Capability to Enable Mars Sample Return

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fulford, P.; Langley, C.; Shaw, A.

    2018-04-01

    The next step in understanding Mars is sample return. In Fall 2016, the CSA conducted an analogue deployment using the Mars Exploration Science Rover. An objective was to demonstrate the maturity of the rover's guidance, navigation, and control.

  12. Atmosphere Processing Module Automation and Catalyst Durability Analysis for Mars ISRU Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Petersen, Elspeth M.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars In-Situ Resource Utilization Pathfinder was designed to create fuel using components found in the planet’s atmosphere and regolith for an ascension vehicle to return a potential sample return or crew return vehicle from Mars. The Atmosphere Processing Module (APM), a subunit of the pathfinder, uses cryocoolers to isolate and collect carbon dioxide from Mars simulant gas. The carbon dioxide is fed with hydrogen into a Sabatier reactor where methane is produced. The APM is currently undergoing the final stages of testing at Kennedy Space Center prior to process integration testing with the other subunits of the pathfinder. The automation software for the APM cryocoolers was tested and found to perform nominally. The catalyst used for the Sabatier reactor was investigated to determine the factors contributing to catalyst failure. The results from the catalyst testing require further analysis, but it appears that the rapid change in temperature during reactor start up or the elevated operating temperature is responsible for the changes observed in the catalyst.

  13. Mars' surface radiation environment measured with the Mars science laboratory's curiosity rover

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hassler, D.M.; Zeitlin, C.; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R.F.; Ehresmann, B.; Rafkin, S.; Eigenbrode, J.L.; Brinza, D.E.; Weigle, G.; Böttcher, S.; Böhm, E.; Burmeister, S.; Guo, J.; Köhler, J.; Martin, C.; Reitz, G.; Cucinotta, F.A.; Kim, M.-H.; Grinspoon, D.; Bullock, M.A.; Posner, A.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Vasavada, A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; MSL Science Team, the|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/292012217

    2014-01-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity rover began making detailed measurements of the cosmic ray and energetic particle radiation environment on the surface of Mars on 7 August 2012. We report and discuss measurements of the absorbed dose and dose

  14. A Raman Spectrometer for the ExoMars 2020 Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moral, A. G.; Rull, F.; Maurice, S.; Hutchinson, I.; Canora, C. P.; Seoane, L.; Rodríguez, P.; Canchal, R.; Gallego, P.; Ramos, G.; López, G.; Prieto, J. A. R.; Santiago, A.; Santamaría, P.; Colombo, M.; Belenguer, T.; Forni, O.

    2017-09-01

    The Raman project is devoted to the development of a Raman spectrometer and the support science associated for the rover EXOMARS mission to be launched in 2020. ExoMars is a double mission with two different launch opportunities, first one launched in March 2016 allowed to put in orbit the TGO with the communication system for the next mission. And the second one in 2020, deploying a rover which includes for the first time in the robotic exploration of Mars, a drill capable to obtain samples from the subsurface up to 2 meters depth. These samples will be crushed into a fine powder and delivered to the analytical instruments suite inside the rover by means of a dosing station. The EQM has been already qualified under a very demanding thermo mechanical environment, and under EMC tests, finally achieving required scientific performances. The RLS Engineering and Qualification Model has been manufactured and is expected to be delivered by May 2017, after a full qualification testing campaign developed during 2016 Q4, and 2017 Q1. It will finally delivered to ESA, by July 2017. December 2017 at TAS-I premises will do RLS FM delivery to ESA, for its final integration on the ExoMars 2020 Rover.

  15. Habitability on Early Mars and the Search for Biosignatures with the ExoMars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westall, Frances; Coates, Andrew J.; Jaumann, Ralf; Korablev, Oleg; Ciarletti, Valérie; Mitrofanov, Igor; Josset, Jean-Luc; De Sanctis, Maria Cristina; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Goesmann, Fred; Steininger, Harald; Brinckerhoff, William; Szopa, Cyril; Raulin, François; Westall, Frances; Edwards, Howell G. M.; Whyte, Lyle G.; Fairén, Alberto G.; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Bridges, John; Hauber, Ernst; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Werner, Stephanie; Loizeau, Damien; Kuzmin, Ruslan O.; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Flahaut, Jessica; Forget, François; Rodionov, Daniel; Korablev, Oleg; Svedhem, Håkan; Sefton-Nash, Elliot; Kminek, Gerhard; Lorenzoni, Leila; Joudrier, Luc; Mikhailov, Viktor; Zashchirinskiy, Alexander; Alexashkin, Sergei; Calantropio, Fabio; Merlo, Andrea; Poulakis, Pantelis; Witasse, Olivier; Bayle, Olivier; Bayón, Silvia; Meierhenrich, Uwe; Carter, John; García-Ruiz, Juan Manuel; Baglioni, Pietro; Haldemann, Albert; Ball, Andrew J.; Debus, André; Lindner, Robert; Haessig, Frédéric; Monteiro, David; Trautner, Roland; Voland, Christoph; Rebeyre, Pierre; Goulty, Duncan; Didot, Frédéric; Durrant, Stephen; Zekri, Eric; Koschny, Detlef; Toni, Andrea; Visentin, Gianfranco; Zwick, Martin; van Winnendael, Michel; Azkarate, Martín; Carreau, Christophe

    2017-01-01

    Abstract The second ExoMars mission will be launched in 2020 to target an ancient location interpreted to have strong potential for past habitability and for preserving physical and chemical biosignatures (as well as abiotic/prebiotic organics). The mission will deliver a lander with instruments for atmospheric and geophysical investigations and a rover tasked with searching for signs of extinct life. The ExoMars rover will be equipped with a drill to collect material from outcrops and at depth down to 2 m. This subsurface sampling capability will provide the best chance yet to gain access to chemical biosignatures. Using the powerful Pasteur payload instruments, the ExoMars science team will conduct a holistic search for traces of life and seek corroborating geological context information. Key Words: Biosignatures—ExoMars—Landing sites—Mars rover—Search for life. Astrobiology 17, 471–510.

  16. Autonomous navigation and control of a Mars rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, D. P.; Atkinson, D. J.; Wilcox, B. H.; Mishkin, A. H.

    1990-01-01

    A Mars rover will need to be able to navigate autonomously kilometers at a time. This paper outlines the sensing, perception, planning, and execution monitoring systems that are currently being designed for the rover. The sensing is based around stereo vision. The interpretation of the images use a registration of the depth map with a global height map provided by an orbiting spacecraft. Safe, low energy paths are then planned through the map, and expectations of what the rover's articulation sensors should sense are generated. These expectations are then used to ensure that the planned path is correctly being executed.

  17. Habitability on Early Mars and the Search for Biosignatures with the ExoMars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vago, Jorge L.; Westall, Frances; Pasteur Instrument Team; Pasteur Landing Team; Coates, Andrew J.; Jaumann, Ralf; Korablev, Oleg; Ciarletti, Valérie; Mitrofanov, Igor; Josset, Jean-Luc; De Sanctis, Maria Cristina; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Rull, Fernando; Goesmann, Fred; Steininger, Harald; Goetz, Walter; Brinckerhoff, William; Szopa, Cyril; Raulin, François; Westall, Frances; Edwards, Howell G. M.; Whyte, Lyle G.; Fairén, Alberto G.; Bibring, Jean-Pierre; Bridges, John; Hauber, Ernst; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Werner, Stephanie; Loizeau, Damien; Kuzmin, Ruslan O.; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Flahaut, Jessica; Forget, François; Vago, Jorge L.; Rodionov, Daniel; Korablev, Oleg; Svedhem, Håkan; Sefton-Nash, Elliot; Kminek, Gerhard; Lorenzoni, Leila; Joudrier, Luc; Mikhailov, Viktor; Zashchirinskiy, Alexander; Alexashkin, Sergei; Calantropio, Fabio; Merlo, Andrea; Poulakis, Pantelis; Witasse, Olivier; Bayle, Olivier; Bayón, Silvia; Meierhenrich, Uwe; Carter, John; García-Ruiz, Juan Manuel; Baglioni, Pietro; Haldemann, Albert; Ball, Andrew J.; Debus, André; Lindner, Robert; Haessig, Frédéric; Monteiro, David; Trautner, Roland; Voland, Christoph; Rebeyre, Pierre; Goulty, Duncan; Didot, Frédéric; Durrant, Stephen; Zekri, Eric; Koschny, Detlef; Toni, Andrea; Visentin, Gianfranco; Zwick, Martin; van Winnendael, Michel; Azkarate, Martín; Carreau, Christophe; ExoMars Project Team

    2017-07-01

    The second ExoMars mission will be launched in 2020 to target an ancient location interpreted to have strong potential for past habitability and for preserving physical and chemical biosignatures (as well as abiotic/prebiotic organics). The mission will deliver a lander with instruments for atmospheric and geophysical investigations and a rover tasked with searching for signs of extinct life. The ExoMars rover will be equipped with a drill to collect material from outcrops and at depth down to 2 m. This subsurface sampling capability will provide the best chance yet to gain access to chemical biosignatures. Using the powerful Pasteur payload instruments, the ExoMars science team will conduct a holistic search for traces of life and seek corroborating geological context information.

  18. The Mars Pathfinder atmospheric structure investigation/meteorology (ASI/MET) experiment

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Schofield, J.T.; Barnes, J.R.; Crisp, D.

    1997-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder atmospheric structure investigation/meteorology (ASI/MET) experiment measured the vertical density, pressure, and temperature structure of the martian atmosphere from the surface to 160 km, and monitored surface meteorology and climate for 83 sols (1 sol = 1 martian day = 24...

  19. Pressure and Relative Humidity Measurement Devices for Mars 2020 Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hieta, M.; Genzer, M.; Nikkanen, T.; Haukka, H.; Harri, A.-M.; Polkko, J.; Rodriguez-Manfredi, J. A.

    2017-09-01

    One of the scientific payloads onboard the NASA Mars 2020 rover mission is Mars Environmental Dynamic Analyzer (MEDA): a set of environmental sensors for Mars surface weather measurements. Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) provides a pressure measurement device (MEDA PS) and a relative humidity measurement device (MEDA HS) for MEDA.

  20. Mars Exploration Rovers Propulsive Maneuver Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Potts, Christopher L.; Raofi, Behzad; Kangas, Julie A.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity successfully landed respectively at Gusev Crater and Meridiani Planum in January 2004. The rovers are essentially robotic geologists, sent on a mission to search for evidence in the rocks and soil pertaining to the historical presence of water and the ability to possibly sustain life. In order to conduct NASA's 'follow the water' strategy on opposite sides of the planet Mars, an interplanetary journey of over 300 million miles culminated with historic navigation precision. Rigorous trajectory targeting and control was necessary to achieve the atmospheric entry requirements for the selected landing sites. The propulsive maneuver design challenge was to meet or exceed these requirements while preserving the necessary design margin to accommodate additional project concerns. Landing site flexibility was maintained for both missions after launch, and even after the first trajectory correction maneuver for Spirit. The final targeting strategy was modified to improve delivery performance and reduce risk after revealing constraining trajectory control characteristics. Flight results are examined and summarized for the six trajectory correction maneuvers that were planned for each mission.

  1. Mission Operations of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bass, Deborah; Lauback, Sharon; Mishkin, Andrew; Limonadi, Daniel

    2007-01-01

    A document describes a system of processes involved in planning, commanding, and monitoring operations of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. The system is designed to minimize command turnaround time, given that inherent uncertainties in terrain conditions and in successful completion of planned landed spacecraft motions preclude planning of some spacecraft activities until the results of prior activities are known by the ground-based operations team. The processes are partitioned into those (designated as tactical) that must be tied to the Martian clock and those (designated strategic) that can, without loss, be completed in a more leisurely fashion. The tactical processes include assessment of downlinked data, refinement and validation of activity plans, sequencing of commands, and integration and validation of sequences. Strategic processes include communications planning and generation of long-term activity plans. The primary benefit of this partition is to enable the tactical portion of the team to focus solely on tasks that contribute directly to meeting the deadlines for commanding the rover s each sol (1 sol = 1 Martian day) - achieving a turnaround time of 18 hours or less, while facilitating strategic team interactions with other organizations that do not work on a Mars time schedule.

  2. The Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C): a potential rover mission for 2018. Final report of the Mars Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG) October 14, 2009.

    Science.gov (United States)

    2010-03-01

    This report documents the work of the Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG), which was assigned to formulate a concept for a potential rover mission that could be launched to Mars in 2018. Based on programmatic and engineering considerations as of April 2009, our deliberations assumed that the potential mission would use the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) sky-crane landing system and include a single solar-powered rover. The mission would also have a targeting accuracy of approximately 7 km (semimajor axis landing ellipse), a mobility range of at least 10 km, and a lifetime on the martian surface of at least 1 Earth year. An additional key consideration, given recently declining budgets and cost growth issues with MSL, is that the proposed rover must have lower cost and cost risk than those of MSL--this is an essential consideration for the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG). The MRR-SAG was asked to formulate a mission concept that would address two general objectives: (1) conduct high priority in situ science and (2) make concrete steps toward the potential return of samples to Earth. The proposed means of achieving these two goals while balancing the trade-offs between them are described here in detail. We propose the name Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher(MAX-C) to reflect the dual purpose of this potential 2018 rover mission.

  3. Accessing Information on the Mars Exploration Rovers Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Walton, J. D.; Schreiner, J. A.

    2005-12-01

    In January 2004, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission successfully deployed two robotic geologists - Spirit and Opportunity - to opposite sides of the red planet. Onboard each rover is an array of cameras and scientific instruments that send data back to Earth, where ground-based systems process and store the information. During the height of the mission, a team of about 250 scientists and engineers worked around the clock to analyze the collected data, determine a strategy and activities for the next day and then carefully compose the command sequences that would instruct the rovers in how to perform their tasks. The scientists and engineers had to work closely together to balance the science objectives with the engineering constraints so that the mission achieved its goals safely and quickly. To accomplish this coordinated effort, they adhered to a tightly orchestrated schedule of meetings and processes. To keep on time, it was critical that all team members were aware of what was happening, knew how much time they had to complete their tasks, and could easily access the information they need to do their jobs. Computer scientists and software engineers at NASA Ames Research Center worked closely with the mission managers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to create applications that support the mission. One such application, the Collaborative Information Portal (CIP), helps mission personnel perform their daily tasks, whether they work inside mission control or the science areas at JPL, or in their homes, schools, or offices. With a three-tiered, service-oriented architecture (SOA) - client, middleware, and data repository - built using Java and commercial software, CIP provides secure access to mission schedules and to data and images transmitted from the Mars rovers. This services-based approach proved highly effective for building distributed, flexible applications, and is forming the basis for the design of future mission software systems. Almost two

  4. Surface-based 3D measurements of small aeolian bedforms on Mars and implications for estimating ExoMars rover traversability hazards

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balme, Matt; Robson, Ellen; Barnes, Rob; Butcher, Frances; Fawdon, Peter; Huber, Ben; Ortner, Thomas; Paar, Gerhard; Traxler, Christoph; Bridges, John; Gupta, Sanjeev; Vago, Jorge L.

    2018-04-01

    Recent aeolian bedforms comprising loose sand are common on the martian surface and provide a mobility hazard to Mars rovers. The ExoMars rover will launch in 2020 to one of two candidate sites: Mawrth Vallis or Oxia Planum. Both sites contain numerous aeolian bedforms with simple ripple-like morphologies. The larger examples are 'Transverse Aeolian Ridges' (TARs), which stereo imaging analyses have shown to be a few metres high and up to a few tens of metres across. Where they occur, TARs therefore present a serious, but recognized and avoidable, rover mobility hazard. There also exists a population of smaller bedforms of similar morphology, but it is unknown whether these bedforms will be traversable by the ExoMars rover. We informally refer to these bedforms as "mini-TARs", as they are about an order of magnitude smaller than most TARs observed to date. They are more abundant than TARs in the Oxia Planum site, and can be pervasive in areas. The aim of this paper is to estimate the heights of these features, which are too small to measured using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) Digital Elevation Models (DEMs), from orbital data alone. Thereby, we aim to increase our knowledge of the hazards in the proposed ExoMars landing sites. We propose a methodology to infer the height of these mini-TARs based on comparisons with similar features observed by previous Mars rovers. We use rover-based stereo imaging from the NASA Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Opportunity and PRo3D software, a 3D visualisation and analysis tool, to measure the size and height of mini-TARs in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars. These are good analogues for the smaller bedforms at the ExoMars rover candidate landing sites. We show that bedform height scales linearly with length (as measured across the bedform, perpendicular to the crest ridge) with a ratio of about 1:15. We also measured the lengths of many of the smaller aeolian bedforms in the ExoMars rover Oxia Planum

  5. NASA Curiosity rover hits organic pay dirt on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Voosen, Paul

    2018-06-01

    Since NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars in 2012, it has sifted samples of soil and ground-up rock for signs of organic molecules—the complex carbon chains that on Earth form the building blocks of life. Past detections have been so faint that they could be just contamination. Now, samples taken from two different drill sites on an ancient lakebed have yielded complex organic macromolecules that look strikingly similar to kerogen, the goopy fossilized building blocks of oil and gas on Earth. At a few dozen parts per million, the detected levels are 100 times higher than previous finds, but scientists still cannot say whether they have origins in biology or geology. The discovery positions scientists to begin searching for direct evidence of past life on Mars and bolsters the case for returning rock samples from the planet, an effort that begins with the Mars 2020 rover.

  6. Performance of the Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop Rover Heat Rejection System Used for Thermal Control of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover on the Surface of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhandari, Pradeep; Birur, Gajanana; Bame, David; Mastropietro, A. J.; Miller, Jennifer; Karlmann, Paul; Liu, Yuanming; Anderson, Kevin

    2013-01-01

    The challenging range of landing sites for which the Mars Science Laboratory Rover was designed, required a rover thermal management system that is capable of keeping temperatures controlled across a wide variety of environmental conditions. On the Martian surface where temperatures can be as cold as -123 C and as warm as 38 C, the Rover relies upon a Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) Rover Heat Rejection System (RHRS) and external radiators to maintain the temperature of sensitive electronics and science instruments within a -40 C to +50 C range. The RHRS harnesses some of the waste heat generated from the Rover power source, known as the Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), for use as survival heat for the rover during cold conditions. The MMRTG produces 110 Watts of electrical power while generating waste heat equivalent to approximately 2000 Watts. Heat exchanger plates (hot plates) positioned close to the MMRTG pick up this survival heat from it by radiative heat transfer and supply it to the rover. This design is the first instance of use of a RHRS for thermal control of a rover or lander on the surface of a planet. After an extremely successful landing on Mars (August 5), the rover and the RHRS have performed flawlessly for close to an earth year (half the nominal mission life). This paper will share the performance of the RHRS on the Martian surface as well as compare it to its predictions.

  7. An Overview of a Regenerative Fuel Cell Concept for a Mars Surface Mobile Element (Mars Rover)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andersson, T.

    2018-04-01

    This paper outlines an overview of a regenerative fuel cell concept for a Mars rover. The objectives of the system are to provide electrical and thermal power during the Mars night and to provide electrical power for the operational cycles.

  8. RAT magnet experiment on the Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity beyond sol 500

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Leer, Kristoffer; Goetz, Walter; Chan, Marjorie A.

    2011-01-01

    The Rock Abrasion Tool (RAT) magnet experiment on the Mars Exploration Rovers was designed to collect dust from rocks ground by the RAT of the two rovers on the surface of Mars. The dust collected on the magnets is now a mixture of dust from many grindings. Here the new data from the experiment...

  9. Frost on Mars Rover Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    Frost can form on surfaces if enough water is present and the temperature is sufficiently low. On each of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, the calibration target for the panoramic camera provides a good place to look for such events. A thin frost was observed by Opportunity's panoramic camera on the rover's 257th sol (Oct. 13, 2004) 11 minutes after sunrise (left image). The presence of the frost is most clearly seen on the post in the center of the target, particularly when compared with the unsegmented outer ring of the target, which is white. The post is normally black. For comparison, note the difference in appearance in the image on the right, taken about three hours later, after the frost had dissipated. Frost has not been observed at Spirit, where the amount of atmospheric water vapor is observed to be appreciably lower. Both images were taken through a filter centered at a wavelength of 440 nanometers (blue).

  10. Red rover: inside the story of robotic space exploration, from genesis to the mars rover curiosity

    CERN Document Server

    Wiens, Roger

    2013-01-01

    In its eerie likeness to Earth, Mars has long captured our imaginations—both as a destination for humankind and as a possible home to extraterrestrial life. It is our twenty-first century New World; its explorers robots, shipped 350 million miles from Earth to uncover the distant planet’s secrets.Its most recent scout is Curiosity—a one-ton, Jeep-sized nuclear-powered space laboratory—which is now roving the Martian surface to determine whether the red planet has ever been physically capable of supporting life. In Red Rover, geochemist Roger Wiens, the principal investigator for the ChemCam laser instrument on the rover and veteran of numerous robotic NASA missions, tells the unlikely story of his involvement in sending sophisticated hardware into space, culminating in the Curiosity rover's amazing journey to Mars.In so doing, Wiens paints the portrait of one of the most exciting scientific stories of our time: the new era of robotic space exploration. Starting with NASA’s introduction of the Discovery...

  11. The Curiosity Mars Rover's Fault Protection Engine

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benowitz, Ed

    2014-01-01

    The Curiosity Rover, currently operating on Mars, contains flight software onboard to autonomously handle aspects of system fault protection. Over 1000 monitors and 39 responses are present in the flight software. Orchestrating these behaviors is the flight software's fault protection engine. In this paper, we discuss the engine's design, responsibilities, and present some lessons learned for future missions.

  12. The Athena Science Payload for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Haskin, L.; Herkenhoff, K.

    2001-01-01

    The Athena Mars rover payload is a suite of scientific instruments and tools for geologic exploration of the martian surface. It is designed to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials, including soils, rock surfaces, and rock interiors. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. Two identical copies of the Athena payload will be flown in 2003 on the two Mars Exploration Rovers. The payload is at a high state of maturity, and first copies of several of the instruments have already been built and tested for flight.

  13. Dynamic Modeling and Soil Mechanics for Path Planning of the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trease, Brian; Arvidson, Raymond; Lindemann, Randel; Bennett, Keith; Zhou, Feng; Iagnemma, Karl; Senatore, Carmine; Van Dyke, Lauren

    2011-01-01

    To help minimize risk of high sinkage and slippage during drives and to better understand soil properties and rover terramechanics from drive data, a multidisciplinary team was formed under the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project to develop and utilize dynamic computer-based models for rover drives over realistic terrains. The resulting tool, named ARTEMIS (Adams-based Rover Terramechanics and Mobility Interaction Simulator), consists of the dynamic model, a library of terramechanics subroutines, and the high-resolution digital elevation maps of the Mars surface. A 200-element model of the rovers was developed and validated for drop tests before launch, using MSC-Adams dynamic modeling software. Newly modeled terrain-rover interactions include the rut-formation effect of deformable soils, using the classical Bekker-Wong implementation of compaction resistances and bull-dozing effects. The paper presents the details and implementation of the model with two case studies based on actual MER telemetry data. In its final form, ARTEMIS will be used in a predictive manner to assess terrain navigability and will become part of the overall effort in path planning and navigation for both Martian and lunar rovers.

  14. Search for life on Mars in surface samples: Lessons from the 1999 Marsokhod rover field experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newsom, Horton E.; Bishop, J.L.; Cockell, C.; Roush, T.L.; Johnson, J. R.

    2001-01-01

    The Marsokhod 1999 field experiment in the Mojave Desert included a simulation of a rover-based sample selection mission. As part of this mission, a test was made of strategies and analytical techniques for identifying past or present life in environments expected to be present on Mars. A combination of visual clues from high-resolution images and the detection of an important biomolecule (chlorophyll) with visible/near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy led to the successful identification of a rock with evidence of cryptoendolithic organisms. The sample was identified in high-resolution images (3 times the resolution of the Imager for Mars Pathfinder camera) on the basis of a green tinge and textural information suggesting the presence of a thin, partially missing exfoliating layer revealing the organisms. The presence of chlorophyll bands in similar samples was observed in visible/NIR spectra of samples in the field and later confirmed in the laboratory using the same spectrometer. Raman spectroscopy in the laboratory, simulating a remote measurement technique, also detected evidence of carotenoids in samples from the same area. Laboratory analysis confirmed that the subsurface layer of the rock is inhabited by a community of coccoid Chroococcidioposis cyanobacteria. The identification of minerals in the field, including carbonates and serpentine, that are associated with aqueous processes was also demonstrated using the visible/NIR spectrometer. Other lessons learned that are applicable to future rover missions include the benefits of web-based programs for target selection and for daily mission planning and the need for involvement of the science team in optimizing image compression schemes based on the retention of visual signature characteristics. Copyright 2000 by the American Geophysical Union.

  15. In situ characterization of martian materials and detection of organic compounds with the MOMA investigation onboard the ExoMars rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arevalo, R. D., Jr.; Grubisic, A.; van Amerom, F. H. W.; Danell, R.; Li, X.; Kaplan, D.; Pinnick, V. T.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Getty, S.; Goesmann, F.

    2017-12-01

    Ground-based observations (e.g., via the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility) and in situ investigations, including flybys (e.g., Mariner Program), orbiters (most recently MAVEN and ExoMars TGO), stationary landers (i.e., Viking, Pathfinder and Phoenix), and mobile rovers (i.e., Sojourner, Spirit/Opportunity and Curiosity), have enabled the progressive exploration of the Martian surface. Evidence for liquid water, manifest as hydrated and amorphous materials representative of alteration products of primary minerals/lithologies, and geomorphological features such as recurring slope lineae (RSL), valley networks and open-basin lakes, indicates that Mars may have hosted habitable environments, at least on local scales (temporally and spatially). However, the preservation potential of molecular biosignatures in the upper meter(s) of the surface is limited by destructive cosmic radiation and oxidative chemical reactions. Moreover, the determination of indigenous versus exogenous origins, and biotic versus abiotic formation mechanisms of detected organic material, provide additional challenges for future missions to the red planet. The Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) onboard the ExoMars rover, set to launch in 2020, provides an unprecedented opportunity to discover unambiguous indicators of life. The MOMA instrument will investigate the compositions of materials collected during multiple vertical surveys, extending as deep as two meters below the surface, via: i) gas chromatography mass spectrometry, a method geared towards the detection of volatile organics and the determination of molecular chirality, mapping to previous in situ Mars investigations; and, ii) laser desorption mass spectrometry, a technique commonly employed in research laboratories to detect larger, more refractory organic materials, but a first for spaceflight applications. Selective ion excitation and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) techniques support the isolation and disambiguation of complex

  16. Classification and Distribution of Mars Pathfinder Rocks Using Quantitative Morphologic Indices

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yingst, R. A.; Biederman, K. L.; Monhead, A. M.; Haldemann, A. F. C.; Kowalczyk, M. R.

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Pathfinder (MPF) landing site was predicted to contain a broad sampling of rock types varying in mineralogical, physical, mechanical and geochemical characteristics. Although rocks have been divided into several spectral categories based on Imager for Mars Pathfinder visible/near-infrared spectra, it has not been fully determined which of these stem from intrinsic mineralogical differences between rocks or rock surfaces, and which result from factors such as physical or chemical weathering. This has made isolation of unique mineralogy's difficult. Efforts in isolating and classifying spectral units among MPF rocks and soils have met with varying degrees of success, and the current understanding is such that many factors influencing spectral signatures cannot be quantified to a sufficient level so they may be removed. The result is that fundamental questions regarding information needed to reveal the present and past interactions between the rocks and rock surfaces and the Martian environment remain unanswered. But it is possible to approach the issue of identifying distinct rock and rock surface types from a different angle.

  17. PDS4 vs PDS3 - A Comparison of PDS Data for Two Mars Rovers - Existing Mars Curiosity Mission Mass Spectrometer (SAM) PDS3 Data vs Future ExoMars Rover Mass Spectrometer (MOMA) PDS4 Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lyness, E.; Franz, H. B.; Prats, B.

    2017-12-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument is a suite of instruments on Mars aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover. Centered on a mass spectrometer, SAM delivers its data to the PDS Atmosphere's node in PDS3 format. Over five years on Mars the process of operating SAM has evolved and extended significantly from the plan in place at the time the PDS3 delivery specification was written. For instance, SAM commonly receives double or even triple sample aliquots from the rover's drill. SAM also stores samples in spare cups for long periods of time for future analysis. These unanticipated operational changes mean that the PDS data deliveries are absent some valuable metadata without which the data can be confusing. The Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) instrument is another suite of instruments centered on a mass spectrometer bound for Mars. MOMA is part of the European ExoMars rover mission schedule to arrive on Mars in 2021. While SAM and MOMA differ in some important scientific ways - MOMA uses an linear ion trap compared to the SAM quadropole mass spectrometer and MOMA has a laser desorption experiment that SAM lacks - the data content from the PDS point of view is comparable. Both instruments produce data containing mass spectra acquired from solid samples collected on the surface of Mars. The MOMA PDS delivery will make use of PDS4 improvements to provide a metadata context to the data. The MOMA PDS4 specification makes few assumptions of the operational processes. Instead it provides a means for the MOMA operators to provide the important contextual metadata that was unanticipated during specification development. Further, the software tools being developed for instrument operators will provide a means for the operators to add this crucial metadata at the time it is best know - during operations.

  18. Mars Exploration Rovers Launch Performance and TCM-1 Maneuver Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kangas, Julie A.; Potts, Christopher L.; Raofi, Behzad

    2004-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project successfully landed two identical rovers on Mars in order to remotely conduct geologic investigations, including characterization of rocks and soils that may hold clues to past water activity. Two landing sites, Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum, were selected out of nearly 200 candidate sites after balancing science returns and flight system engineering and safety. Precise trajectory targeting and control was necessary to achieve the atmospheric entry requirements for the selected landing sites within the flight system constraints. This paper discusses the expected and achieved launch vehicle performance and the impacts of that performance on the first Trajectory Correction Maneuver (TCM-1) while maintaining targeting flexibility in accommodating additional project concerns about landing site safety and possible in-flight retargeting to alternate landing sites.

  19. Mars' Surface Radiation Environment Measured with the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassler, Donald M.; Zeitlin, Cary; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert F.; Ehresmann, Bent; Rafkin, Scot; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Brinza, David E.; Weigle, Gerald; Böttcher, Stephan; Böhm, Eckart; Burmeister, Soenke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; Martin, Cesar; Reitz, Guenther; Cucinotta, Francis A.; Kim, Myung-Hee; Grinspoon, David; Bullock, Mark A.; Posner, Arik; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Vasavada, Ashwin; Grotzinger, John P.; MSL Science Team; Kemppinen, Osku; Cremers, David; Bell, James F.; Edgar, Lauren; Farmer, Jack; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; King, Penelope; Blank, Jennifer; Schmidt, Mariek; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Ehlmann, Bethany; Farley, Kenneth; Griffes, Jennifer; Miller, Hayden; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Rice, Melissa; Siebach, Kirsten; Stack, Katie; Stolper, Edward; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Léveillé, Richard; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Steele, Andrew; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Squyres, Steven; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Berger, Thomas; Matthia, Daniel; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Fabre, Cécile; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Gupta, Sanjeev; Bish, David; Schieber, Juergen; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d'Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Maurice, Sylvestre; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Szopa, Cyril; Dromart, Gilles; Robert, François; Sautter, Violaine; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Mangold, Nicolas; Nachon, Marion; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Teinturier, Samuel; Cameron, James; Clegg, Sam; Cousin, Agnès; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Wiens, Roger C.; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Treiman, Allan; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Edgett, Kenneth; Fay, Donald; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; Malin, Michael; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Summons, Roger; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Dyar, M. Darby; Fassett, Caleb; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas; DesMarais, David; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William; Choi, David; Conrad, Pamela; Dworkin, Jason P.; Floyd, Melissa; Freissinet, Caroline; Garvin, James; Glavin, Daniel; Harpold, Daniel; Jones, Andrea; Mahaffy, Paul; Martin, David K.; McAdam, Amy; Pavlov, Alexander; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Stern, Jennifer; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Meyer, Michael; Voytek, Mary; Anderson, Robert C.; Aubrey, Andrew; Beegle, Luther W.; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Calef, Fred; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy A.; DeFlores, Lauren; Ehlmann, Bethany; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Hurowitz, Joel; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Archer, Paul Douglas; Jones, John H.; Ming, Douglas; Morris, Richard V.; Niles, Paul; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Fisk, Martin; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Vaniman, David; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Yingst, Aileen; Lewis, Kevin; Leshin, Laurie; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Grant, John; Vicenzi, Edward; Wilson, Sharon A.; Hamilton, Victoria; Peterson, Joseph; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Clark, Benton; Wolff, Michael; McLennan, Scott; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Dietrich, William; Kortmann, Onno; Palucis, Marisa; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Rubin, David; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Campbell, John L.; Gellert, Ralf; Perrett, Glynis; Pradler, Irina; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Rowland, Scott; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Savijärvi, Hannu; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Bridges, John C.; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Franz, Heather; Bower, Hannah; Brunner, Anna; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Atreya, Sushil; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Gordon, Suzanne; Newsom, Horton; Ollila, Ann; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Kah, Linda C.; Moersch, Jeffrey; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Kocurek, Gary; Hallet, Bernard; Sletten, Ronald; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Arvidson, Raymond; Fraeman, Abigail; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.

    2014-01-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover began making detailed measurements of the cosmic ray and energetic particle radiation environment on the surface of Mars on 7 August 2012. We report and discuss measurements of the absorbed dose and dose equivalent from galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles on the martian surface for ~300 days of observations during the current solar maximum. These measurements provide insight into the radiation hazards associated with a human mission to the surface of Mars and provide an anchor point with which to model the subsurface radiation environment, with implications for microbial survival times of any possible extant or past life, as well as for the preservation of potential organic biosignatures of the ancient martian environment.

  20. Mars' surface radiation environment measured with the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hassler, Donald M; Zeitlin, Cary; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert F; Ehresmann, Bent; Rafkin, Scot; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L; Brinza, David E; Weigle, Gerald; Böttcher, Stephan; Böhm, Eckart; Burmeister, Soenke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; Martin, Cesar; Reitz, Guenther; Cucinotta, Francis A; Kim, Myung-Hee; Grinspoon, David; Bullock, Mark A; Posner, Arik; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Vasavada, Ashwin; Grotzinger, John P

    2014-01-24

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) on the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover began making detailed measurements of the cosmic ray and energetic particle radiation environment on the surface of Mars on 7 August 2012. We report and discuss measurements of the absorbed dose and dose equivalent from galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles on the martian surface for ~300 days of observations during the current solar maximum. These measurements provide insight into the radiation hazards associated with a human mission to the surface of Mars and provide an anchor point with which to model the subsurface radiation environment, with implications for microbial survival times of any possible extant or past life, as well as for the preservation of potential organic biosignatures of the ancient martian environment.

  1. The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) aboard the Mars rover, Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, K. S.; Ravine, M. A.; Caplinger, M. A.; Ghaemi, F. T.; Schaffner, J. A.; Malin, M. C.; Baker, J. M.; Dibiase, D. R.; Laramee, J.; Maki, J. N.; Willson, R. G.; Bell, J. F., III; Cameron, J. F.; Dietrich, W. E.; Edwards, L. J.; Hallet, B.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Heydari, E.; Kah, L. C.; Lemmon, M. T.; Minitti, M. E.; Olson, T. S.; Parker, T. J.; Rowland, S. K.; Schieber, J.; Sullivan, R. J.; Sumner, D. Y.; Thomas, P. C.; Yingst, R. A.

    2009-08-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, is expected to land on Mars in 2012. The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) will be used to document martian rocks and regolith with a 2-megapixel RGB color CCD camera with a focusable macro lens mounted on an instrument-bearing turret on the end of Curiosity's robotic arm. The flight MAHLI can focus on targets at working distances of 20.4 mm to infinity. At 20.4 mm, images have a pixel scale of 13.9 μm/pixel. The pixel scale at 66 mm working distance is about the same (31 μm/pixel) as that of the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Microscopic Imager (MI). MAHLI camera head placement is dependent on the capabilities of the MSL robotic arm, the design for which presently has a placement uncertainty of ~20 mm in 3 dimensions; hence, acquisition of images at the minimum working distance may be challenging. The MAHLI consists of 3 parts: a camera head, a Digital Electronics Assembly (DEA), and a calibration target. The camera head and DEA are connected by a JPL-provided cable which transmits data, commands, and power. JPL is also providing a contact sensor. The camera head will be mounted on the rover's robotic arm turret, the DEA will be inside the rover body, and the calibration target will be mounted on the robotic arm azimuth motor housing. Camera Head. MAHLI uses a Kodak KAI-2020CM interline transfer CCD (1600 x 1200 active 7.4 μm square pixels with RGB filtered microlenses arranged in a Bayer pattern). The optics consist of a group of 6 fixed lens elements, a movable group of 3 elements, and a fixed sapphire window front element. Undesired near-infrared radiation is blocked using a coating deposited on the inside surface of the sapphire window. The lens is protected by a dust cover with a Lexan window through which imaging can be ac-complished if necessary, and targets can be illuminated by sunlight or two banks of two white light LEDs. Two 365 nm UV LEDs are included to search for fluores-cent materials at night. DEA

  2. The Preparation for and Execution of Engineering Operations for the Mars Curiosity Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samuels, Jessica A.

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover mission is the most complex and scientifically packed rover that has ever been operated on the surface of Mars. The preparation leading up to the surface mission involved various tests, contingency planning and integration of plans between various teams and scientists for determining how operation of the spacecraft (s/c) would be facilitated. In addition, a focused set of initial set of health checks needed to be defined and created in order to ensure successful operation of rover subsystems before embarking on a two year science journey. This paper will define the role and responsibilities of the Engineering Operations team, the process involved in preparing the team for rover surface operations, the predefined engineering activities performed during the early portion of the mission, and the evaluation process used for initial and day to day spacecraft operational assessment.

  3. The Development of the Chemin Mineralogy Instrument and Its Deployment on Mars (and Latest Results from the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David F.

    2014-01-01

    The CheMin instrument (short for "Chemistry and Mineralogy") on the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is one of two "laboratory quality" instruments on board the Curiosity rover that is exploring Gale crater, Mars. CheMin is an X-ray diffractometer that has for the first time returned definitive and fully quantitative mineral identifications of Mars soil and drilled rock. I will describe CheMin's 23-year development from an idea to a spacecraft qualified instrument, and report on some of the discoveries that Curiosity has made since its entry, descent and landing on Aug. 6, 2012, including the discovery and characterization of the first habitable environment on Mars.

  4. Modeling to Mars: a NASA Model Based Systems Engineering Pathfinder Effort

    Science.gov (United States)

    Phojanamongkolkij, Nipa; Lee, Kristopher A.; Miller, Scott T.; Vorndran, Kenneth A.; Vaden, Karl R.; Ross, Eric P.; Powell, Bobby C.; Moses, Robert W.

    2017-01-01

    The NASA Engineering Safety Center (NESC) Systems Engineering (SE) Technical Discipline Team (TDT) initiated the Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) Pathfinder effort in FY16. The goals and objectives of the MBSE Pathfinder include developing and advancing MBSE capability across NASA, applying MBSE to real NASA issues, and capturing issues and opportunities surrounding MBSE. The Pathfinder effort consisted of four teams, with each team addressing a particular focus area. This paper focuses on Pathfinder team 1 with the focus area of architectures and mission campaigns. These efforts covered the timeframe of February 2016 through September 2016. The team was comprised of eight team members from seven NASA Centers (Glenn Research Center, Langley Research Center, Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center IV&V Facility, Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, and Stennis Space Center). Collectively, the team had varying levels of knowledge, skills and expertise in systems engineering and MBSE. The team applied their existing and newly acquired system modeling knowledge and expertise to develop modeling products for a campaign (Program) of crew and cargo missions (Projects) to establish a human presence on Mars utilizing In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). Pathfinder team 1 developed a subset of modeling products that are required for a Program System Requirement Review (SRR)/System Design Review (SDR) and Project Mission Concept Review (MCR)/SRR as defined in NASA Procedural Requirements. Additionally, Team 1 was able to perform and demonstrate some trades and constraint analyses. At the end of these efforts, over twenty lessons learned and recommended next steps have been identified.

  5. Martian methane plume models for defining Mars rover methane source search strategies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicol, Christopher; Ellery, Alex; Lynch, Brian; Cloutis, Ed

    2018-07-01

    The detection of atmospheric methane on Mars implies an active methane source. This introduces the possibility of a biotic source with the implied need to determine whether the methane is indeed biotic in nature or geologically generated. There is a clear need for robotic algorithms which are capable of manoeuvring a rover through a methane plume on Mars to locate its source. We explore aspects of Mars methane plume modelling to reveal complex dynamics characterized by advection and diffusion. A statistical analysis of the plume model has been performed and compared to analyses of terrestrial plume models. Finally, we consider a robotic search strategy to find a methane plume source. We find that gradient-based techniques are ineffective, but that more sophisticated model-based search strategies are unlikely to be available in near-term rover missions.

  6. Mineralogic and compositional properties of Martian soil and dust: results from Mars Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J.F.; McSween, H.Y.; Crisp, J.A.; Morris, R.V.; Murchie, S.L.; Bridges, N.T.; Johnson, J. R.; Britt, D.T.; Golombek, M.P.; Moore, H.J.; Ghosh, A.; Bishop, J.L.; Anderson, R.C.; Brückner, J.; Economou, T.; Greenwood, J.P.; Gunnlaugsson, H.P.; Hargraves, R.M.; Hviid, S.; Knudsen, J.M.; Madsen, M.B.; Reid, R.; Rieder, R.; Soderblom, L.

    2000-01-01

    Mars Pathfinder obtained multispectral, elemental, magnetic, and physical measurements of soil and dust at the Sagan Memorial Station during the course of its 83 sol mission. We describe initial results from these measurements, concentrating on multispectral and elemental data, and use these data, along with previous Viking, SNC meteorite, and telescopic results, to help constrain the origin and evolution of Martian soil and dust. We find that soils and dust can be divided into at least eight distinct spectral units, based on parameterization of Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) 400 to 1000 nm multispectral images. The most distinctive spectral parameters for soils and dust are the reflectivity in the red, the red/blue reflectivity ratio, the near-IR spectral slope, and the strength of the 800 to 1000 nm absorption feature. Most of the Pathfinder spectra are consistent with the presence of poorly crystalline or nanophase ferric oxide(s), sometimes mixed with small but varying degrees of well-crystalline ferric and ferrous phases. Darker soil units appear to be coarser-grained, compacted, and/or mixed with a larger amount of dark ferrous materials relative to bright soils. Nanophase goethite, akaganeite, schwertmannite, and maghemite are leading candidates for the origin of the absorption centered near 900 nm in IMP spectra. The ferrous component in the soil cannot be well-constrained based on IMP data. Alpha proton X-ray spectrometer (APXS) measurements of six soil units show little variability within the landing site and show remarkable overall similarity to the average Viking-derived soil elemental composition. Differences exist between Viking and Pathfinder soils, however, including significantly higher S and Cl abundances and lower Si abundances in Viking soils and the lack of a correlation between Ti and Fe in Pathfinder soils. No significant linear correlations were observed between IMP spectral properties and APXS elemental chemistry. Attempts at constraining

  7. Conceptual Design and Dynamics Testing and Modeling of a Mars Tumbleweed Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calhoun Philip C.; Harris, Steven B.; Raiszadeh, Behzad; Zaleski, Kristina D.

    2005-01-01

    The NASA Langley Research Center has been developing a novel concept for a Mars planetary rover called the Mars Tumbleweed. This concept utilizes the wind to propel the rover along the Mars surface, bringing it the potential to cover vast distances not possible with current Mars rover technology. This vehicle, in its deployed configuration, must be large and lightweight to provide the ratio of drag force to rolling resistance necessary to initiate motion from rest on the Mars surface. One Tumbleweed design concept that satisfies these considerations is called the Eggbeater-Dandelion. This paper describes the basic design considerations and a proposed dynamics model of the concept for use in simulation studies. It includes a summary of rolling/bouncing dynamics tests that used videogrammetry to better understand, characterize, and validate the dynamics model assumptions, especially the effective rolling resistance in bouncing/rolling dynamic conditions. The dynamics test used cameras to capture the motion of 32 targets affixed to a test article s outer structure. Proper placement of the cameras and alignment of their respective fields of view provided adequate image resolution of multiple targets along the trajectory as the test article proceeded down the ramp. Image processing of the frames from multiple cameras was used to determine the target positions. Position data from a set of these test runs was compared with results of a three dimensional, flexible dynamics model. Model input parameters were adjusted to match the test data for runs conducted. This process presented herein provided the means to characterize the dynamics and validate the simulation of the Eggbeater-Dandelion concept. The simulation model was used to demonstrate full scale Tumbleweed motion from a stationary condition on a flat-sloped terrain using representative Mars environment parameters.

  8. (Nearly) Seven Years on Mars: Adventure, Adversity, and Achievements with the NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F.; Mars Exploration Rover Science; Engineering Teams

    2010-12-01

    NASA successfully landed twin rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, on Mars in January 2004, in the most ambitious mission of robotic exploration attempted to that time. Each rover is outfitted as a robot field geologist with an impressive array of scientific instruments--cameras, spectrometers, other sensors--designed to investigate the composition and geologic history of two distinctly-different landing sites. The sites were chosen because of their potential to reveal clues about the past history of water and climate on Mars, and thus to provide tests of the hypothesis that the planet may once have been an abode for life. In this presentation I will review the images, spectra, and chemical/mineralogic information that the rover team has been acquiring from the landing sites and along the rovers' 7.7 and 22.7 km traverse paths, respectively. The data and interpretations have been widely shared with the public and the scientific community through web sites, frequent press releases, and scientific publications, and they provide quantitative evidence that liquid water has played a role in the modification of the Martian surface during the earliest part of the planet's history. At the Spirit site in Gusev Crater, the role of water appears to have been relatively minor in general, although the recent discovery of enigmatic hydrated sulfate salt and amorphous silica deposits suggests that locally there may have been significant water-rock interactions, and perhaps even sustained hydrothermal activity. At the Opportunity site in Meridiani Planum, geologic and mineralogic evidence suggests that liquid water was stable at the surface and shallow subsurface for significant periods of early Martian geologic history. An exciting implication from both missions is that localized environments on early Mars may have been "habitable" by some terrestrial standards. As of early September 2010, the rovers had operated for 2210 and 2347 Martian days (sols), respectively, with the Spirit

  9. The Raman Laser Spectrometer for the ExoMars Rover Mission to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rull, Fernando; Maurice, Sylvestre; Hutchinson, Ian; Moral, Andoni; Perez, Carlos; Diaz, Carlos; Colombo, Maria; Belenguer, Tomas; Lopez-Reyes, Guillermo; Sansano, Antonio; Forni, Olivier; Parot, Yann; Striebig, Nicolas; Woodward, Simon; Howe, Chris; Tarcea, Nicolau; Rodriguez, Pablo; Seoane, Laura; Santiago, Amaia; Rodriguez-Prieto, Jose A.; Medina, Jesús; Gallego, Paloma; Canchal, Rosario; Santamaría, Pilar; Ramos, Gonzalo; Vago, Jorge L.; RLS Team

    2017-07-01

    The Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) on board the ESA/Roscosmos ExoMars 2020 mission will provide precise identification of the mineral phases and the possibility to detect organics on the Red Planet. The RLS will work on the powdered samples prepared inside the Pasteur analytical suite and collected on the surface and subsurface by a drill system. Raman spectroscopy is a well-known analytical technique based on the inelastic scattering by matter of incident monochromatic light (the Raman effect) that has many applications in laboratory and industry, yet to be used in space applications. Raman spectrometers will be included in two Mars rovers scheduled to be launched in 2020. The Raman instrument for ExoMars 2020 consists of three main units: (1) a transmission spectrograph coupled to a CCD detector; (2) an electronics box, including the excitation laser that controls the instrument functions; and (3) an optical head with an autofocus mechanism illuminating and collecting the scattered light from the spot under investigation. The optical head is connected to the excitation laser and the spectrometer by optical fibers. The instrument also has two targets positioned inside the rover analytical laboratory for onboard Raman spectral calibration. The aim of this article was to present a detailed description of the RLS instrument, including its operation on Mars. To verify RLS operation before launch and to prepare science scenarios for the mission, a simulator of the sample analysis chain has been developed by the team. The results obtained are also discussed. Finally, the potential of the Raman instrument for use in field conditions is addressed. By using a ruggedized prototype, also developed by our team, a wide range of terrestrial analog sites across the world have been studied. These investigations allowed preparing a large collection of real, in situ spectra of samples from different geological processes and periods of Earth evolution. On this basis, we are working

  10. Conceptual Design and Architecture of Mars Exploration Rover (MER) for Seismic Experiments Over Martian Surfaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garg, Akshay; Singh, Amit

    2012-07-01

    Keywords: MER, Mars, Rover, Seismometer Mars has been a subject of human interest for exploration missions for quite some time now. Both rover as well as orbiter missions have been employed to suit mission objectives. Rovers have been preferentially deployed for close range reconnaissance and detailed experimentation with highest accuracy. However, it is essential to strike a balance between the chosen science objectives and the rover operations as a whole. The objective of this proposed mechanism is to design a vehicle (MER) to carry out seismic studies over Martian surface. The conceptual design consists of three units i.e. Mother Rover as a Surrogate (Carrier) and Baby Rovers (two) as seeders for several MEMS-based accelerometer / seismometer units (Nodes). Mother Rover can carry these Baby Rovers, having individual power supply with solar cells and with individual data transmission capabilities, to suitable sites such as Chasma associated with Valles Marineris, Craters or Sand Dunes. Mother rover deploys these rovers in two opposite direction and these rovers follow a triangulation pattern to study shock waves generated through firing tungsten carbide shells into the ground. Till the time of active experiments Mother Rover would act as a guiding unit to control spatial spread of detection instruments. After active shock experimentation, the babies can still act as passive seismometer units to study and record passive shocks from thermal quakes, impact cratering & landslides. Further other experiments / payloads (XPS / GAP / APXS) can also be carried by Mother Rover. Secondary power system consisting of batteries can also be utilized for carrying out further experiments over shallow valley surfaces. The whole arrangement is conceptually expected to increase the accuracy of measurements (through concurrent readings) and prolong life cycle of overall experimentation. The proposed rover can be customised according to the associated scientific objectives and further

  11. The Pathfinder Microrover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matijevic, J. R.; Bickler, D. B.; Braun, D. F.; Eisen, H. J.; Matthies, L. H.; Mishkin, A. H.; Stone, H. W.; van Nieuwstadt, L. M.; Wen, L. C.; Wilcox, B. H.; hide

    1996-01-01

    An exciting scientific component of the Pathfinder mission is the rover, which will act as a mini-field geologist by providing us with access to samples for chemical analyses and close-up images of the Martian surface, performing active experiments to modify the surface and study the results, and exploring the landing site area.

  12. A vision system for a Mars rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilcox, Brian H.; Gennery, Donald B.; Mishkin, Andrew H.; Cooper, Brian K.; Lawton, Teri B.; Lay, N. Keith; Katzmann, Steven P.

    1988-01-01

    A Mars rover must be able to sense its local environment with sufficient resolution and accuracy to avoid local obstacles and hazards while moving a significant distance each day. Power efficiency and reliability are extremely important considerations, making stereo correlation an attractive method of range sensing compared to laser scanning, if the computational load and correspondence errors can be handled. Techniques for treatment of these problems, including the use of more than two cameras to reduce correspondence errors and possibly to limit the computational burden of stereo processing, have been tested at JPL. Once a reliable range map is obtained, it must be transformed to a plan view and compared to a stored terrain database, in order to refine the estimated position of the rover and to improve the database. The slope and roughness of each terrain region are computed, which form the basis for a traversability map allowing local path planning. Ongoing research and field testing of such a system is described.

  13. Radiation shield analysis for a manned Mars rover

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morley, N.J.; ElGenk, M.S.

    1991-01-01

    Radiation shielding for unmanned space missions has been extensively studied; however, designs of man-rated shields are minimal. Engle et al.'s analysis of a man-rated, multilayered shield composed of two and three cycles (a cycle consists of a tungsten and a lithium hydride layer) is the basis for the work reported in this paper. The authors present the results of a recent study of shield designs for a manned Mars rover powered by a 500-kW(thermal) nuclear reactor. A train-type rover vehicle was developed, which consists of four cars and is powered by an SP-100-type nuclear reactor heat source. The maximum permissible dose rate (MPD) from all sources is given by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements as 500 mSv/yr (50 rem/yr) A 3-yr Mars mission (2-yr round trip and 1-yr stay) will deliver a 1-Sv natural radiation dose without a solar particle event, 450 mSv/yr in flight, and an additional 100 mSv on the planet surface. An anomalously large solar particle event could increase the natural radiation dose for unshielded astronauts on the Martian surface to 200 mSv. This limits the MPD to crew members from the nuclear reactor to 300 mSv

  14. Scientific Results of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Banerdt, W. B.

    2006-08-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover project launched two robotic geologists, Spirit and Opportunity, toward Mars in June and July of 2003, reaching Mars the following January. The science objectives for this mission are focused on delineating the geologic history for two locations on Mars, with an emphasis on the history of water. Although they were designed for a 90-day mission, both rovers have lasted more than two years on the surface and each has covered more than four miles while investigating Martian geology. Spirit was targeted to Gusev Crater, a 300-km diameter impact basin that was suspected to be the site of an ancient lake. Initial investigations of the plains in the vicinity of the landing site found no evidence of such a lake, but were instead consistent with unaltered (by water) basaltic plains. But after a 3-km trek to an adjacent range of hills it found a quite different situation, with abundant chemical and morphological evidence for a complex geological history. Opportunity has been exploring Meridiani Planum, which was known from orbital data to contain the mineral hematite, which generally forms in the presence of water. The rocks exposed in Meridiani are highly chemically altered, and appear to have been exposed to significant amounts of water. By descending into the 130-m diameter Endurance Crater, Opportunity was able to analyze a 10-m vertical section of this rock unit, which showed significant gradations in chemistry and morphology.

  15. Size Scales for Thermal Inhomogeneities in Mars' Atmosphere Surface Layer: Mars Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mihalov, John D.; Haberle, Robert M.; Seiff, Alvin; Murphy, James R.; Schofield, John T.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Atmospheric temperature measurement at three heights with thin wire thermocouples on the 1.1 m Mars Pathfinder meteorology must allow estimates of the integral scale of the atmospheric thermal turbulence during an 83 sol period that begins in the summer. The integral scale is a measure for regions of perturbations. In turbulent media that roughly characterizes locations where the perturbations are correlated. Excluding some to intervals with violent excursions of the mean temperatures, integral scale values are found that increase relatively rapidly from a few tenths meters or less near down to several meters by mid-morning. During mid-morning, the diurnal and shorter time scale wind direction variations often place the meteorology mast in the thermal wake of the Lander.

  16. Archiving Data From the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, R. E.

    2002-12-01

    The two Mars Exploration Rovers will touch down on the red planet in January 2004 and each will operate for at least 90 sols, traversing hundreds of meters across the surface and acquiring data from the Athena Science Payload (mast-based multi-spectral, stereo-imaging data and emission spectra; arm-based in-situ Alpha Particle X-Ray (APXS) and Mössbauer Spectroscopy, microscopic imaging, coupled with use of a rock abrasion tool) at a number of locations. In addition, the rovers will acquire science and engineering data along traverses to characterize terrain properties and perhaps be used to dig trenches. An "Analyst's Notebook" concept has been developed to capture, organize, archive and distribute raw and derived data sets and documentation (http://wufs.wustl.edu/rover). The Notebooks will be implemented in ways that will allow users to "playback" the mission, using executed commands to drive animated views of rover activities, and pop-up windows to show why particular observations were acquired, along with displays of raw and derived data products. In addition, the archive will include standard Planetary Data System files and software for processing to higher-level products. The Notebooks will exist both as an online system and as a set of distributable Digital Video Discs or other appropriate media. The Notebooks will be made available through the Planetary Data System within six months after the end of observations for the relevant rovers.

  17. Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stack, Kathryn M.; Edwards, Christopher; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Sumner, D.; Edgar, Lauren; Fraeman, A.; Jacob, S.; LeDeit, L.; Lewis, K.W.; Rice, M.S.; Rubin, D.; Calef, F.; Edgett, K.; Williams, R.M.E.; Williford, K.H.

    2016-01-01

    This study provides the first systematic comparison of orbital facies maps with detailed ground-based geology observations from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover to examine the validity of geologic interpretations derived from orbital image data. Orbital facies maps were constructed for the Darwin, Cooperstown, and Kimberley waypoints visited by the Curiosity rover using High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) images. These maps, which represent the most detailed orbital analysis of these areas to date, were compared with rover image-based geologic maps and stratigraphic columns derived from Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). Results show that bedrock outcrops can generally be distinguished from unconsolidated surficial deposits in high-resolution orbital images and that orbital facies mapping can be used to recognize geologic contacts between well-exposed bedrock units. However, process-based interpretations derived from orbital image mapping are difficult to infer without known regional context or observable paleogeomorphic indicators, and layer-cake models of stratigraphy derived from orbital maps oversimplify depositional relationships as revealed from a rover perspective. This study also shows that fine-scale orbital image-based mapping of current and future Mars landing sites is essential for optimizing the efficiency and science return of rover surface operations.

  18. Panoramic 3d Vision on the ExoMars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Paar, G.; Griffiths, A. D.; Barnes, D. P.; Coates, A. J.; Jaumann, R.; Oberst, J.; Gao, Y.; Ellery, A.; Li, R.

    The Pasteur payload on the ESA ExoMars Rover 2011/2013 is designed to search for evidence of extant or extinct life either on or up to ˜2 m below the surface of Mars. The rover will be equipped by a panoramic imaging system to be developed by a UK, German, Austrian, Swiss, Italian and French team for visual characterization of the rover's surroundings and (in conjunction with an infrared imaging spectrometer) remote detection of potential sample sites. The Panoramic Camera system consists of a wide angle multispectral stereo pair with 65° field-of-view (WAC; 1.1 mrad/pixel) and a high resolution monoscopic camera (HRC; current design having 59.7 µrad/pixel with 3.5° field-of-view) . Its scientific goals and operational requirements can be summarized as follows: • Determination of objects to be investigated in situ by other instruments for operations planning • Backup and Support for the rover visual navigation system (path planning, determination of subsequent rover positions and orientation/tilt within the 3d environment), and localization of the landing site (by stellar navigation or by combination of orbiter and ground panoramic images) • Geological characterization (using narrow band geology filters) and cartography of the local environments (local Digital Terrain Model or DTM). • Study of atmospheric properties and variable phenomena near the Martian surface (e.g. aerosol opacity, water vapour column density, clouds, dust devils, meteors, surface frosts,) 1 • Geodetic studies (observations of Sun, bright stars, Phobos/Deimos). The performance of 3d data processing is a key element of mission planning and scientific data analysis. The 3d Vision Team within the Panoramic Camera development Consortium reports on the current status of development, consisting of the following items: • Hardware Layout & Engineering: The geometric setup of the system (location on the mast & viewing angles, mutual mounting between WAC and HRC) needs to be optimized w

  19. Simulations of the magnetic properties experiment on Mars Exploration Rovers

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gunnlaugsson, H. P.; Worm, E. S.; Bertelsen, P.; Goetz, W.; Kinch, K.; Madsen, M. B.; Merrison, J. P.; Nornberg, P.

    2005-01-01

    We present some of the main findings from simulation studies of the Magnetic Properties Experiment on the Mars Exploration Rovers. The results suggest that the dust has formed via mechanical breakdown of surface rocks through the geological history of the planet, and that liquid water need not have played any significant role in the dust formation processes.

  20. Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars: A Mast-Mounted Instrument for the Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Korablev, Oleg I.; Dobrolensky, Yurii; Evdokimova, Nadezhda; Fedorova, Anna A.; Kuzmin, Ruslan O.; Mantsevich, Sergei N.; Cloutis, Edward A.; Carter, John; Poulet, Francois; Flahaut, Jessica; Griffiths, Andrew; Gunn, Matthew; Schmitz, Nicole; Martín-Torres, Javier; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Rodionov, Daniil S.; Vago, Jorge L.; Stepanov, Alexander V.; Titov, Andrei Yu.; Vyazovetsky, Nikita A.; Trokhimovskiy, Alexander Yu.; Sapgir, Alexander G.; Kalinnikov, Yurii K.; Ivanov, Yurii S.; Shapkin, Alexei A.; Ivanov, Andrei Yu.

    2017-07-01

    ISEM (Infrared Spectrometer for ExoMars) is a pencil-beam infrared spectrometer that will measure reflected solar radiation in the near infrared range for context assessment of the surface mineralogy in the vicinity of the ExoMars rover. The instrument will be accommodated on the mast of the rover and will be operated together with the panoramic camera (PanCam), high-resolution camera (HRC). ISEM will study the mineralogical and petrographic composition of the martian surface in the vicinity of the rover, and in combination with the other remote sensing instruments, it will aid in the selection of potential targets for close-up investigations and drilling sites. Of particular scientific interest are water-bearing minerals, such as phyllosilicates, sulfates, carbonates, and minerals indicative of astrobiological potential, such as borates, nitrates, and ammonium-bearing minerals. The instrument has an ˜1° field of view and covers the spectral range between 1.15 and 3.30 μm with a spectral resolution varying from 3.3 nm at 1.15 μm to 28 nm at 3.30 μm. The ISEM optical head is mounted on the mast, and its electronics box is located inside the rover's body. The spectrometer uses an acousto-optic tunable filter and a Peltier-cooled InAs detector. The mass of ISEM is 1.74 kg, including the electronics and harness. The science objectives of the experiment, the instrument design, and operational scenarios are described.

  1. Hydrogeology of Basins on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arvidson, Raymond E.

    2001-01-01

    This document summarizes the work accomplished under NASA Grant NAG5-3870. Emphasis was put on the development of the FIDO rover, a prototype for the twin-Mers which will be operating on the surface of Mars in 2004, specifically the primary work was the analysis of FIDO field trials. The grantees also analyzed VIKING Lander 1 XRFS and Pathfinder APXS data. Results show that the Viking site chemistry is consistent with an andesite, and the Pathfinder site is consistent with a basaltic andesite. The grantees also worked to demonstrate the capability to simulate annealing methods to apply to the inversion of remote sensing data. They performed an initial analyses of Sojourner engineering telemetry and imaging data. They performed initial analyses of Viking Lander Stereo Images, and of Hematite deposits in Terra Meridiani. They also acquired and analyzed the New Goldstone radar data.

  2. An Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer for Mars-96 and Mars Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rieder, R.; Wanke, H.; Economou, T.

    1996-09-01

    Mars Pathfinder and the Russian Mars-96 will carry an Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) for the determination of the chemical composition of Martian rocks and soil. The instrument will measure the concentration of all major and many minor elements, including C,N and O, at levels above typically 1%. The method employed consist of bombarding a sample of 50 mm diameter with alpha particles from a radioactive source (50 mCi of Cm-244) and measuring: (i) backscattered alpha particles (alpha mode) (ii) protons from (a,p) reactions with some light elements (proton mode) (iii) characteristic X-rays emitted from the sample (X-ray mode). The APXS has a long standing space heritage, going back to Surveyor V,VI and VII (1967/68) and the Soviet Phobos (1988) missions. The present design is the result of an endeavour to reduce mass and power consumption to 600g/ 300mW. It consist of a sensor head containing the alpha sources, a telescope of a silicon detectors for the detection of the alpha particles and protons and a separate X-ray detector with its preamplifier, and an electronics box (80x70x60 mm) containing a microcontroller based multichannel spectrometer. The paper will describe the APXS flight hardware and present results obtained with the flight instrument that will show the instrument capabili- ties and the expected results to be obtained during surface operations on Mars.

  3. Mars Rover Model Celebration: Developing Inquiry Based Lesson Plans to Teach Planetary Science In Elementary And Middle School

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Slagle, E.; Nieser, K.; Carlson, C.; Kapral, A.; Dominey, W.; Ramsey, J.; Konstantinidis, I.; James, J.; Sweaney, S.; Mendez, R.

    2012-12-01

    The recent NASA Mars Rover missions capture the imagination of children, as NASA missions have done for decades. The University of Houston is in the process of developing a prototype of a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model rover. The existing prototype program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration. It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students will design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. The model will be a mock-up, constructed at a minimal cost from art supplies. The students will build the models as part of a project on Mars. The students will be given design criteria for a rover and will do basic research on Mars that will determine the objectives and features of their rover. This project may be used either informally as an after school club or youth group activity or formally as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system astronomy or robotics, or as a multi-disciplinary unit for a gifted and talented program. The project's unique strength lies in engaging students in the process of spacecraft design and interesting them in aerospace engineering careers. The project is aimed at elementary and secondary education. Not only will these students learn about scientific fields relevant to the mission (space science, physics, geology, robotics, and more), they will gain an appreciation for how this knowledge is used to tackle complex problems. The low cost of the event makes it an ideal enrichment vehicle for low income schools. It provides activities that provide professional development to educators, curricular support resources using NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) content, and provides family opportunities for involvement in K-12 student learning. This paper will describe the development of a detailed set of new 5E lesson plans to

  4. Reflectance conversion methods for the VIS/NIR imaging spectrometer aboard the Chang'E-3 lunar rover: based on ground validation experiment data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu Bin; Liu Jian-Zhong; Zhang Guang-Liang; Zou Yong-Liao; Ling Zong-Cheng; Zhang Jiang; He Zhi-Ping; Yang Ben-Yong

    2013-01-01

    The second phase of the Chang'E Program (also named Chang'E-3) has the goal to land and perform in-situ detection on the lunar surface. A VIS/NIR imaging spectrometer (VNIS) will be carried on the Chang'E-3 lunar rover to detect the distribution of lunar minerals and resources. VNIS is the first mission in history to perform in-situ spectral measurement on the surface of the Moon, the reflectance data of which are fundamental for interpretation of lunar composition, whose quality would greatly affect the accuracy of lunar element and mineral determination. Until now, in-situ detection by imaging spectrometers was only performed by rovers on Mars. We firstly review reflectance conversion methods for rovers on Mars (Viking landers, Pathfinder and Mars Exploration rovers, etc). Secondly, we discuss whether these conversion methods used on Mars can be applied to lunar in-situ detection. We also applied data from a laboratory bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) using simulated lunar soil to test the availability of this method. Finally, we modify reflectance conversion methods used on Mars by considering differences between environments on the Moon and Mars and apply the methods to experimental data obtained from the ground validation of VNIS. These results were obtained by comparing reflectance data from the VNIS measured in the laboratory with those from a standard spectrometer obtained at the same time and under the same observing conditions. The shape and amplitude of the spectrum fits well, and the spectral uncertainty parameters for most samples are within 8%, except for the ilmenite sample which has a low albedo. In conclusion, our reflectance conversion method is suitable for lunar in-situ detection.

  5. Brake Failure from Residual Magnetism in the Mars Exploration Rover Lander Petal Actuator

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jandura, Louise

    2004-01-01

    In January 2004, two Mars Exploration Rover spacecraft arrived at Mars. Each safely delivered an identical rover to the Martian surface in a tetrahedral lander encased in airbags. Upon landing, the airbags deflated and three Lander Petal Actuators opened the three deployable Lander side petals enabling the rover to exit the Lander. Approximately nine weeks prior to the scheduled launch of the first spacecraft, one of these mission-critical Lander Petal Actuators exhibited a brake stuck-open failure during its final flight stow at Kennedy Space Center. Residual magnetism was the definitive conclusion from the failure investigation. Although residual magnetism was recognized as an issue in the design, the lack of an appropriately specified lower bound on brake drop-out voltage inhibited the discovery of this problem earlier in the program. In addition, the brakes had more unit-to-unit variation in drop-out voltage than expected, likely due to a larger than expected variation in the magnetic properties of the 15-5 PH stainless steel brake plates. Failure analysis and subsequent rework of two other Lander Petal Actuators with marginal brakes was completed in three weeks, causing no impact to the launch date.

  6. A Wind Tunnel Study on the Mars Pathfinder (MPF) Lander Descent Pressure Sensor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soriano, J. Francisco; Coquilla, Rachael V.; Wilson, Gregory R.; Seiff, Alvin; Rivell, Tomas

    2001-01-01

    The primary focus of this study was to determine the accuracy of the Mars Pathfinder lander local pressure readings in accordance with the actual ambient atmospheric pressures of Mars during parachute descent. In order to obtain good measurements, the plane of the lander pressure sensor opening should ideally be situated so that it is parallel to the freestream. However, due to two unfavorable conditions, the sensor was positioned in locations where correction factors are required. One of these disadvantages is due to the fact that the parachute attachment point rotated the lander's center of gravity forcing the location of the pressure sensor opening to be off tangent to the freestream. The second and most troublesome factor was that the lander descends with slight oscillations that could vary the amplitude of the sensor readings. In order to accurately map the correction factors required at each sensor position, an experiment simulating the lander descent was conducted in the Martian Surface Wind Tunnel at NASA Ames Research Center. Using a 115 scale model at Earth ambient pressures, the test settings provided the necessary Reynolds number conditions in which the actual lander was possibly subjected to during the descent. In the analysis and results of this experiment, the readings from the lander sensor were converted to the form of pressure coefficients. With a contour map of pressure coefficients at each lander oscillatory position, this report will provide a guideline to determine the correction factors required for the Mars Pathfinder lander descent pressure sensor readings.

  7. Experimental and numerical study of the mars pathfinder vehicle; Etude experimentale et numerique sur le mars pathfinder

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Bur, R.; Benay, R.; Chanetz, B.; Galli, A.; Pot, T. [Office National d' Etudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales (ONERA), Dept. Fundamental and Experimental Aerodynamics, 92 - Chatillon (France); Hollis, B.; Moss, J. [Aerothermodynamics Branch, NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, Virginia (United States)

    2002-07-01

    An experimental and numerical study on the Mars Pathfinder aero-shell vehicle has been carried out in the framework of an agreement between ONERA and NASA. The experimental work was performed in the ONERA R5Ch hypersonic wind tunnel. Flow-field visualizations and heat-flux measurements along the model have been obtained. Numerical simulations have been performed at ONERA with the RANS solver NASCA and at NASA with a DSMC code. The flow-field structure is correctly reproduced by both computations. The location of the bow shock is well predicted, as well as the expansion waves emanating from the end of the fore-body cone. Both computations also predict the same extension of the separation bubble in the base flow region of the model. Measured and calculated heat-flux distributions along the model have been compared. Both computations give similar results, excepted on the prediction of the heat-flux level on the after-body cone. But computations over-predict the measured heat-flux values on the fore-body and the sting of the model: the value of the stagnation point is overestimated of 28% and the averaged sting level of 35%. (authors)

  8. Mars Rover Sample Return aerocapture configuration design and packaging constraints

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lawson, Shelby J.

    1989-01-01

    This paper discusses the aerodynamics requirements, volume and mass constraints that lead to a biconic aeroshell vehicle design that protects the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission elements from launch to Mars landing. The aerodynamic requirements for Mars aerocapture and entry and packaging constraints for the MRSR elements result in a symmetric biconic aeroshell that develops a L/D of 1.0 at 27.0 deg angle of attack. A significant problem in the study is obtaining a cg that provides adequate aerodynamic stability and performance within the mission imposed constraints. Packaging methods that relieve the cg problems include forward placement of aeroshell propellant tanks and incorporating aeroshell structure as lander structure. The MRSR missions developed during the pre-phase A study are discussed with dimensional and mass data included. Further study is needed for some missions to minimize MRSR element volume so that launch mass constraints can be met.

  9. Mars Rover Model Celebration: Using Planetary Exploration To Enrich STEM Teaching In Elementary And Middle School

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Ramsey, J.; Dominey, W.; Kapral, A.; Carlson, C.; Konstantinidis, I.; James, J.; Sweaney, S.; Mendez, R.

    2011-12-01

    The present aerospace engineering and science workforce is ageing. It is not clear that the US education system will produce enough qualified replacements to meet the need in the near future. Unfortunately, by the time many students get to high school, it is often too late to get them pointed toward an engineering or science career. Since some college programs require 6 units of high school mathematics for admission, students need to begin consciously preparing for a science or engineering curriculum as early as 6th or 7th grade. The challenge for educators is to convince elementary school students that science and engineering are both exciting, relevant and accessible career paths. The recent NASA Mars Rover missions capture the imagination of children, as NASA missions have done for decades. The University of Houston is in the process of developing a prototype of a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model rover. The existing prototype program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration. It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students will design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. The model will be a mock-up, constructed at a minimal cost from art supplies. The students will build the models as part of a project on Mars. The students will be given design criteria for a rover and will do basic research on Mars that will determine the objectives and features of their rover. This project may be used either informally as an after school club or youth group activity or formally as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system astronomy or robotics, or as a multi-disciplinary unit for a gifted and talented program. The program culminates in a capstone event held at the University of Houston (or other central location in the other communities that will be involved

  10. Data Management for Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Snyder, Joseph F.; Smyth, David E.

    2004-01-01

    Data Management for the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) project is a comprehensive system addressing the needs of development, test, and operations phases of the mission. During development of flight software, including the science software, the data management system can be simulated using any POSIX file system. During testing, the on-board file system can be bit compared with files on the ground to verify proper behavior and end-to-end data flows. During mission operations, end-to-end accountability of data products is supported, from science observation concept to data products within the permanent ground repository. Automated and human-in-the-loop ground tools allow decisions regarding retransmitting, re-prioritizing, and deleting data products to be made using higher level information than is available to a protocol-stack approach such as the CCSDS File Delivery Protocol (CFDP).

  11. Mineralogical Results from the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David Frederick.

    2017-01-01

    NASA's CheMin instrument, the first X-ray Diffractometer flown in space, has been operating on Mars for nearly five years. CheMin was first to establish the quantitative mineralogy of the Mars global soil (1). The instrument was next used to determine the mineralogy of a 3.7 billion year old lacustrine mudstone, a result that, together with findings from other instruments on the MSL Curiosity rover, documented the first habitable environment found on another planet (2). The mineralogy of this mudstone from an ancient playa lake was also used to derive the maximum concentration of CO2 in the early Mars atmosphere, a surprisingly low value that calls into question the current theory that CO2 greenhouse warming was responsible for the warm and wet environment of early Mars. CheMin later identified the mineral tridymite, indicative of silica-rich volcanism, in mudstones of the Murray formation on Mt. Sharp. This discovery challenges the paradigm of Mars as a basaltic planet and ushers in a new chapter of comparative terrestrial planetology (3). CheMin is now being used to systematically sample the sedimentary layers that comprise the lower strata of Mt. Sharp, a 5,000 meter sequence of sedimentary rock laid down in what was once a crater lake, characterizing isochemical sediments that through their changing mineralogy, document the oxidation and drying out of the Mars in early Hesperian time.

  12. The Mars 2020 Rover Mission: EISD Participation in Mission Science and Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fries, M.; Bhartia, R.; Beegle, L.; Burton, A. S.; Ross, A.

    2014-01-01

    The Mars 2020 Rover mission will search for potential biosignatures on the martian surface, use new techniques to search for and identify tracelevel organics, and prepare a cache of samples for potential return to Earth. Identifying trace organic compounds is an important tenet of searching for potential biosignatures. Previous landed missions have experienced difficulty identifying unambiguously martian, unaltered organic compounds, possibly because any organic species have been destroyed on heating in the presence of martian perchlorates and/or other oxidants. The SHERLOC instrument on Mars 2020 will use ultraviolet (UV) fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy to identify trace organic compounds without heating the samples.

  13. Ground Contact Model for Mars Science Laboratory Mission Simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raiszadeh, Behzad; Way, David

    2012-01-01

    The Program to Optimize Simulated Trajectories II (POST 2) has been successful in simulating the flight of launch vehicles and entry bodies on earth and other planets. POST 2 has been the primary simulation tool for the Entry Descent, and Landing (EDL) phase of numerous Mars lander missions such as Mars Pathfinder in 1997, the twin Mars Exploration Rovers (MER-A and MER-B) in 2004, Mars Phoenix lander in 2007, and it is now the main trajectory simulation tool for Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) in 2012. In all previous missions, the POST 2 simulation ended before ground impact, and a tool other than POST 2 simulated landing dynamics. It would be ideal for one tool to simulate the entire EDL sequence, thus avoiding errors that could be introduced by handing off position, velocity, or other fight parameters from one simulation to the other. The desire to have one continuous end-to-end simulation was the motivation for developing the ground interaction model in POST 2. Rover landing, including the detection of the postlanding state, is a very critical part of the MSL mission, as the EDL landing sequence continues for a few seconds after landing. The method explained in this paper illustrates how a simple ground force interaction model has been added to POST 2, which allows simulation of the entire EDL from atmospheric entry through touchdown.

  14. High spectral resolution image of Barnacle Bill

    Science.gov (United States)

    1997-01-01

    The rover Sojourner's first target for measurement by the Alpha-Proton-Xray Spectrometer (APXS) was the rock named Barnacle Bill, located close to the ramp down which the rover made its egress from the lander. The full spectral capability of the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP), consisting of 13 wavelength filters, was used to characterize the rock's surface. The measured area is relatively dark, and is shown in blue. Nearby on the rock surface, soil material is trapped in pits (shown in red).Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) was developed by the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory under contract to JPL. Peter Smith is the Principal Investigator. JPL is an operating division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  15. Mars Exploration Rovers Landing Dispersion Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knocke, Philip C.; Wawrzyniak, Geoffrey G.; Kennedy, Brian M.; Desai, Prasun N.; Parker, TImothy J.; Golombek, Matthew P.; Duxbury, Thomas C.; Kass, David M.

    2004-01-01

    Landing dispersion estimates for the Mars Exploration Rover missions were key elements in the site targeting process and in the evaluation of landing risk. This paper addresses the process and results of the landing dispersion analyses performed for both Spirit and Opportunity. The several contributors to landing dispersions (navigation and atmospheric uncertainties, spacecraft modeling, winds, and margins) are discussed, as are the analysis tools used. JPL's MarsLS program, a MATLAB-based landing dispersion visualization and statistical analysis tool, was used to calculate the probability of landing within hazardous areas. By convolving this with the probability of landing within flight system limits (in-spec landing) for each hazard area, a single overall measure of landing risk was calculated for each landing ellipse. In-spec probability contours were also generated, allowing a more synoptic view of site risks, illustrating the sensitivity to changes in landing location, and quantifying the possible consequences of anomalies such as incomplete maneuvers. Data and products required to support these analyses are described, including the landing footprints calculated by NASA Langley's POST program and JPL's AEPL program, cartographically registered base maps and hazard maps, and flight system estimates of in-spec landing probabilities for each hazard terrain type. Various factors encountered during operations, including evolving navigation estimates and changing atmospheric models, are discussed and final landing points are compared with approach estimates.

  16. Photometric Observations of Soils and Rocks at the Mars Exploration Rover Landing Sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, J. R.; Arvidson, R. A.; Bell, J. F., III; Farrand, W.; Guinness, E.; Johnson, M.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Lemmon, M.; Morris, R. V.; Seelos, F., IV

    2005-01-01

    The Panoramic Cameras (Pancam) on the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Exploration Rovers have acquired multispectral reflectance observations of rocks and soils at different incidence, emission, and phase angles that will be used for photometric modeling of surface materials. Phase angle coverage at both sites extends from approx. 0 deg. to approx. 155 deg.

  17. Exomars 2018 Rover Pasteur Payload

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debus, Andre; Bacher, M.; Ball, A.; Barcos, O.; Bethge, B.; Gaubert, F.; Haldemann, A.; Lindner, R.; Pacros, A.; Trautner, R.; Vag, J.

    ars programme is a joint ESA-NASA program having exobiology as one of the key science objectives. It is divided into 2 missions: the first mission is ESA-led with an ESA orbiter and an ESA Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) demonstrator, launched in 2016 by NASA, and the second mission is NASA-led, launched in 2018 by NASA carrying an ESA rover and a NASA rover both deployed by a single NASA EDL system. For ESA, the ExoMars programme will demonstrate key flight and in situ enabling technologies in support of the European ambitions for future exploration missions, as outlined in the Aurora Declaration. While the ExoMars 2016 mission will accomplish a technological objective (Entry, Descent and Landing of a payload on the surface) and a Scientific objective (investigation of Martian atmospheric trace gases and their sources, focussing particularly on methane), the ExoMars 2018 ESA Rover will carry a comprehensive and coherent suite of analytical instruments dedicated to exobiology and geology research: the Pasteur Payload (PPL). This payload includes a selection of complementary instruments, having the following goals: to search for signs of past and present life on Mars and to investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface. The ExoMars Rover includes a drill for accessing underground materials, and a Sample Preparation and Distribution System. The Rover will travel several kilometres looking for sites warranting further investigation, where it will collect and analyse samples from within outcrops and from the subsurface for traces of complex organic molecules. In addition to further details on this Exomars 2018 rover mission, this presentation will focus on the scientific objectives and the instruments needed to achieve them, including details of how the Pasteur Payload as a whole addresses Mars research objectives.

  18. Development of the science instrument CLUPI: the close-up imager on board the ExoMars rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Josset, J.-L.; Beauvivre, S.; Cessa, V.; Martin, P.

    2017-11-01

    First mission of the Aurora Exploration Programme of ESA, ExoMars will demonstrate key flight and in situ enabling technologies, and will pursue fundamental scientific investigations. Planned for launch in 2013, ExoMars will send a robotic rover to the surface of Mars. The Close-UP Imager (CLUPI) instrument is part of the Pasteur Payload of the rover fixed on the robotic arm. It is a robotic replacement of one of the most useful instruments of the field geologist: the hand lens. Imaging of surfaces of rocks, soils and wind drift deposits at high resolution is crucial for the understanding of the geological context of any site where the Pasteur rover may be active on Mars. At the resolution provided by CLUPI (approx. 15 micrometer/pixel), rocks show a plethora of surface and internal structures, to name just a few: crystals in igneous rocks, sedimentary structures such as bedding, fracture mineralization, secondary minerals, details of the surface morphology, sedimentary bedding, sediment components, surface marks in sediments, soil particles. It is conceivable that even textures resulting from ancient biological activity can be visualized, such as fine lamination due to microbial mats (stromatolites) and textures resulting from colonies of filamentous microbes, potentially present in sediments and in palaeocavitites in any rock type. CLUPI is a complete imaging system, consisting of an APS (Active Pixel Sensor) camera with 27° FOV optics. The sensor is sensitive to light between 400 and 900 nm with 12 bits digitization. The fixed focus optics provides well focused images of 4 cm x 2.4 cm rock area at a distance of about 10 cm. This challenging camera system, less than 200g, is an independent scientific instrument linked to the rover on board computer via a SpaceWire interface. After the science goals and specifications presentation, the development of this complex high performance miniaturized imaging system will be described.

  19. Real‐Time Measurement of Wheel Performance on a Rover

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Wind-blown sand on Mars produces a high risk of entrapment for Mars rovers. This was evident when the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit was immobilized in a wind blown...

  20. A Mars orbiter/rover/penetrator mission for the 1984 opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hastrup, R.; Driver, J.; Nagorski, R.

    1977-01-01

    A point design mission is described that utilizes the 1984 opportunity to extend the exploration of Mars after the successful Viking operations and provide the additional scientific information needed before conducting a sample return mission. Two identical multi-element spacecraft are employed, each consisting of (1) an orbiter, (2) a Viking-derived landing system that delivers a heavily instrumented, semi-autonomous rover, and (3) three penetrators deployed from the approach trajectory. Selection of the orbit profiles requires consideration of several important factors in order to satisfy all of the mission goals.

  1. AIAA Educator Academy - Mars Rover Curriculum: A 6 week multidisciplinary space science based curriculum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henriquez, E.; Bering, E. A.; Slagle, E.; Nieser, K.; Carlson, C.; Kapral, A.

    2013-12-01

    The Curiosity mission has captured the imagination of children, as NASA missions have done for decades. The AIAA and the University of Houston have developed a flexible curriculum program that offers children in-depth science and language arts learning culminating in the design and construction of their own model rover. The program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration. It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students learn to research Mars in order to pick a science question about Mars that is of interest to them. They learn principles of spacecraft design in order to build a model of a Mars rover to carry out their mission on the surface of Mars. The model is a mock-up, constructed at a minimal cost from art supplies. This project may be used either informally as an after school club or youth group activity or formally as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system astronomy or robotics, or as a multi-disciplinary unit for a gifted and talented program. The project's unique strength lies in engaging students in the process of spacecraft design and interesting them in aerospace engineering careers. The project is aimed at elementary and secondary education. Not only will these students learn about scientific fields relevant to the mission (space science, physics, geology, robotics, and more), they will gain an appreciation for how this knowledge is used to tackle complex problems. The low cost of the event makes it an ideal enrichment vehicle for low income schools. It provides activities that provide professional development to educators, curricular support resources using NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) content, and provides family opportunities for involvement in K-12 student learning. This paper will describe the structure and organization of the 6 week curriculum. A set of 30 new 5E lesson plans have been written to support this project as a classroom activity. The challenge of developing interactive

  2. Exploration of Mars with the ChemCam LIBS Instrument and the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Newsom, Horton E.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover landed on Mars in August 2012, and has been exploring the planet ever since. Dr. Horton E. Newsom will discuss the MSL's design and main goal, which is to characterize past environments that may have been conducive to the evolution and sustainability of life. He will also discuss Curiosity's science payload, and remote sensing, analytical capabilities, and direct discoveries of the Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) instrument, which is the first Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) to operate on another planetary surface and determine the chemistry of the rocks and soils.

  3. Bringing Terramechanics to bear on Planetary Rover Design

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richter, L.

    2007-08-01

    Thus far, planetary rovers have been successfully operated on the Earth's moon and on Mars. In particular, the two NASA Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) ,Spirit' and ,Opportunity' are still in sustained daily operations at two sites on Mars more than 3 years after landing there. Currently, several new planetary rover missions are in development targeting Mars (the US Mars Science Lab vehicle for launch in 2009 and ESA's ExoMars rover for launch in 2013), with lunar rover missions under study by China and Japan for launches around 2012. Moreover, the US Constellation program is preparing pre-development of lunar rovers for initially unmanned and, subsequently, human missions to the Moon with a corresponding team dedicated to mobility system development having been set up at the NASA Glenn Research Center. Given this dynamic environment, it was found timely to establish an expert group on off-the-road mobility as relevant for robotic vehicles that would involve individuals representing the various on-going efforts on the different continents. This was realized through the International Society of Terrain-Vehicle Systems (ISTVS), a research organisation devoted to terramechanics and to the ,science' of off-the-road vehicle development which as a result is just now establishing a Technical Group on Terrestrial and Planetary Rovers. Members represent space-related as well as military research institutes and universities from the US, Germany, Italy, and Japan. The group's charter for 2007 is to define its objectives, functions, organizational structure and recommended research objectives to support planetary rover design and development. Expected areas of activity of the ISTVS-sponsored group include: the problem of terrain specification for planetary rovers; identification of limitations in modelling of rover mobility; a survey of existing rover mobility testbeds; the consolidation of mobility predictive models and their state of validation; sensing and real

  4. Prediction and Validation of Mars Pathfinder Hypersonic Aerodynamic Data Base

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gnoffo, Peter A.; Braun, Robert D.; Weilmuenster, K. James; Mitcheltree, Robert A.; Engelund, Walter C.; Powell, Richard W.

    1998-01-01

    Postflight analysis of the Mars Pathfinder hypersonic, continuum aerodynamic data base is presented. Measured data include accelerations along the body axis and axis normal directions. Comparisons of preflight simulation and measurements show good agreement. The prediction of two static instabilities associated with movement of the sonic line from the shoulder to the nose and back was confirmed by measured normal accelerations. Reconstruction of atmospheric density during entry has an uncertainty directly proportional to the uncertainty in the predicted axial coefficient. The sensitivity of the moment coefficient to freestream density, kinetic models and center-of-gravity location are examined to provide additional consistency checks of the simulation with flight data. The atmospheric density as derived from axial coefficient and measured axial accelerations falls within the range required for sonic line shift and static stability transition as independently determined from normal accelerations.

  5. Mobile Robot Localization by Remote Viewing of a Colored Cylinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Volpe, R.; Litwin, T.; Matthies, L.

    1995-01-01

    A system was developed for the Mars Pathfinder rover in which the rover checks its position by viewing the angle back to a colored cylinder with different colors for different angles. The rover determines distance by the apparent size of the cylinder.

  6. Processing of Mars Exploration Rover Imagery for Science and Operations Planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alexander, Douglass A.; Deen, Robert G.; Andres, Paul M.; Zamani, Payam; Mortensen, Helen B.; Chen, Amy C.; Cayanan, Michael K.; Hall, Jeffrey R.; Klochko, Vadim S.; Pariser, Oleg; hide

    2006-01-01

    The twin Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) delivered an unprecedented array of image sensors to the Mars surface. These cameras were essential for operations, science, and public engagement. The Multimission Image Processing Laboratory (MIPL) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was responsible for the first-order processing of all of the images returned by these cameras. This processing included reconstruction of the original images, systematic and ad hoc generation of a wide variety of products derived from those images, and delivery of the data to a variety of customers, within tight time constraints. A combination of automated and manual processes was developed to meet these requirements, with significant inheritance from prior missions. This paper describes the image products generated by MIPL for MER and the processes used to produce and deliver them.

  7. Assessment of Mars Exploration Rover Landing Site Predictions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Golombek, M. P.

    2005-05-01

    Comprehensive analyses of remote sensing data during the 3-year effort to select the Mars Exploration Rover landing sites at Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum correctly predicted the safe and trafficable surfaces explored by the two rovers. Gusev crater was predicted to be a relatively low relief surface that was comparably dusty, but less rocky than the Viking landing sites. Available data for Meridiani Planum indicated a very flat plain composed of basaltic sand to granules and hematite that would look completely unlike any of the existing landing sites with a dark, low albedo surface, little dust and very few rocks. Orbital thermal inertia measurements of 315 J m-2 s-0.5 K-1 at Gusev suggested surfaces dominated by duricrust to cemented soil-like materials or cohesionless sand or granules, which is consistent with observed soil characteristics and measured thermal inertias from the surface. THEMIS thermal inertias along the traverse at Gusev vary from 285 at the landing site to 330 around Bonneville rim and show systematic variations that can be related to the observed increase in rock abundance (5-30%). Meridiani has an orbital bulk inertia of ~200, similar to measured surface inertias that correspond to observed surfaces dominated by 0.2 mm sand size particles. Rock abundance derived from orbital thermal differencing techniques suggested that Meridiani Planum would have very low rock abundance, consistent with the rock free plain traversed by Opportunity. Spirit landed in an 8% orbital rock abundance pixel, consistent with the measured 7% of the surface covered by rocks >0.04 m diameter at the landing site, which is representative of the plains away from craters. The orbital albedo of the Spirit traverse varies from 0.19 to 0.30, consistent with surface measurements in and out of dust devil tracks. Opportunity is the first landing in a low albedo portion of Mars as seen from orbit, which is consistent with the dark, dust-free surface and measured albedos. The

  8. Learning from the Mars Rover Mission: Scientific Discovery, Learning and Memory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linde, Charlotte

    2005-01-01

    Purpose: Knowledge management for space exploration is part of a multi-generational effort. Each mission builds on knowledge from prior missions, and learning is the first step in knowledge production. This paper uses the Mars Exploration Rover mission as a site to explore this process. Approach: Observational study and analysis of the work of the MER science and engineering team during rover operations, to investigate how learning occurs, how it is recorded, and how these representations might be made available for subsequent missions. Findings: Learning occurred in many areas: planning science strategy, using instrumen?s within the constraints of the martian environment, the Deep Space Network, and the mission requirements; using software tools effectively; and running two teams on Mars time for three months. This learning is preserved in many ways. Primarily it resides in individual s memories. It is also encoded in stories, procedures, programming sequences, published reports, and lessons learned databases. Research implications: Shows the earliest stages of knowledge creation in a scientific mission, and demonstrates that knowledge management must begin with an understanding of knowledge creation. Practical implications: Shows that studying learning and knowledge creation suggests proactive ways to capture and use knowledge across multiple missions and generations. Value: This paper provides a unique analysis of the learning process of a scientific space mission, relevant for knowledge management researchers and designers, as well as demonstrating in detail how new learning occurs in a learning organization.

  9. A compact led lidar system fitted for a mars rover - design and ground experiment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ong, Prane Mariel B.; Shiina, Tatsuo; Manago, Naohiro; Kuze, Hiroaki; Senshu, Hiroki; Otobe, Naohito; Hashimoto, George; Kawabata, Yasuhiro

    2018-04-01

    A compact LED lidar was constructed and fieldtested with the aim to observe the Mars' dust devils. To be able to fit it on the Mars rover, a specialized Cassegrain telescope was designed to be within a 10 cm-cube, with a field of view of 3mrad. The transmitter has 385 nm LED light source with 3 cmϕ opening, 70mrad divergence, 0.75W (7.5nJ/10ns) pulse power, and 500 kHz repetition frequency. The configuration of the optical system is biaxial to easily configure the overlap between their optical axes.

  10. What Can the Curiosity Rover Tell Us About the Climate of Mars?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haberle, Robert M.

    2013-01-01

    What Can the Curiosity Rover Tell Us About the Climate of Mars? Assessing the habitability of Gale Crater is the goal of the Curiosity Rover, which has been gathering data since landing on the Red Planet last August. To meet that goal, Curiosity brought with it a suite of instruments to measure the biological potential of the landing site, the geology and chemistry of its surface, and local environmental conditions. Some of these instruments illuminate the nature of the planet fs atmosphere and climate system, both for present day conditions as well as for conditions that existed billions of years ago. For present day conditions, Curiosity has a standard meteorology package that measures pressure, temperature, winds and humidity, plus a sensor the measures the UV flux. These data confirm what we learned from previous missions namely that today Mars is a cold, dry, and barren desert-like planet. For past conditions, however, wetter and probably warmer conditions are indicated. Curiosities cameras reveal gravel beds that must have formed by flowing rivers, and sedimentary deposits of layered sand and mudstones possibly associated with lakes. An ancient aqueous environment is further supported by the presence of sulfate veins coursing through some of the rocks in Yellowknife Bay where Curiosity is planning its first drilling activity. I will discuss these results and their implications in this lecture.

  11. xLuna - D emonstrator on ESA Mars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Braga, P.; Henriques, L.; Carvalho, B.; Chevalley, P.; Zulianello, M.

    2008-08-01

    There is a significant gap between the services offered by existing space qualified Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS) and those required by the most demanding future space applications. New requirements for autonomy, terrain mapping and navigation, Simultaneous Location and Mapping (SLAM), improvement of the throughput of science tasks, all demand high level services such as file systems or POSIX compliant interfaces. xLuna is an operating system that aims fulfilling these new requirements. Besides providing the typical services that of an RTOS (tasks and interrupts management, timers, message queues, etc), it also includes most of the features available in modern general-purpose operating systems, such as Linux. This paper describes a case study that proposes to demonstrate the usage of xLuna on board a rover currently in use for the development of algorithms in preparation of a mission to Mars.

  12. Wind-Driven Erosion and Exposure Potential at Mars 2020 Rover Candidate-Landing Sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chojnacki, Matthew; Banks, Maria; Urso, Anna

    2018-02-01

    Aeolian processes have likely been the predominant geomorphic agent for most of Mars' history and have the potential to produce relatively young exposure ages for geologic units. Thus, identifying local evidence for aeolian erosion is highly relevant to the selection of landing sites for future missions, such as the Mars 2020 Rover mission that aims to explore astrobiologically relevant ancient environments. Here we investigate wind-driven activity at eight Mars 2020 candidate-landing sites to constrain erosion potential at these locations. To demonstrate our methods, we found that contemporary dune-derived abrasion rates were in agreement with rover-derived exhumation rates at Gale crater and could be employed elsewhere. The Holden crater candidate site was interpreted to have low contemporary erosion rates, based on the presence of a thick sand coverage of static ripples. Active ripples at the Eberswalde and southwest Melas sites may account for local erosion and the dearth of small craters. Moderate-flux regional dunes near Mawrth Vallis were deemed unrepresentative of the candidate site, which is interpreted to currently be experiencing low levels of erosion. The Nili Fossae site displayed the most unambiguous evidence for local sand transport and erosion, likely yielding relatively young exposure ages. The downselected Jezero crater and northeast Syrtis sites had high-flux neighboring dunes and exhibited substantial evidence for sediment pathways across their ellipses. Both sites had relatively high estimated abrasion rates, which would yield young exposure ages. The downselected Columbia Hills site lacked evidence for sand movement, and contemporary local erosion rates are estimated to be relatively low.

  13. CFD Analysis for Assessing the Effect of Wind on the Thermal Control of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhandari, Pradeep; Anderson, Kevin

    2013-01-01

    The challenging range of landing sites for which the Mars Science Laboratory Rover was designed, requires a rover thermal management system that is capable of keeping temperatures controlled across a wide variety of environmental conditions. On the Martian surface where temperatures can be as cold as -123 C and as warm as 38 C, the rover relies upon a Mechanically Pumped Fluid Loop (MPFL) Rover Heat Rejection System (RHRS) and external radiators to maintain the temperature of sensitive electronics and science instruments within a -40 C to 50 C range. The RHRS harnesses some of the waste heat generated from the rover power source, known as the Multi Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), for use as survival heat for the rover during cold conditions. The MMRTG produces 110 W of electrical power while generating waste heat equivalent to approximately 2000 W. Heat exchanger plates (hot plates) positioned close to the MMRTG pick up this survival heat from it by radiative heat transfer. Winds on Mars can be as fast as 15 m/s for extended periods. They can lead to significant heat loss from the MMRTG and the hot plates due to convective heat pick up from these surfaces. Estimation of this convective heat loss cannot be accurately and adequately achieved by simple textbook based calculations because of the very complicated flow fields around these surfaces, which are a function of wind direction and speed. Accurate calculations necessitated the employment of sophisticated Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) computer codes. This paper describes the methodology and results of these CFD calculations. Additionally, these results are compared to simple textbook based calculations that served as benchmarks and sanity checks for them. And finally, the overall RHRS system performance predictions will be shared to show how these results affected the overall rover thermal performance.

  14. Preparing to Test Rover Mobility

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    Rover engineers prepare a mixture of sandy and powdery materials to simulate some difficult Mars driving conditions inside a facility at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. The tests in early May 2005 were designed to help plan the best way for the rover Opportunity to drive off of a soft-sand dune that the rover dug itself into the previous week.

  15. Exomars 2018 Rover Pasteur Payload Sample Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Debus, Andre; Bacher, M.; Ball, A.; Barcos, O.; Bethge, B.; Gaubert, F.; Haldemann, A.; Kminek, G.; Lindner, R.; Pacros, A.; Rohr, T.; Trautner, R.; Vago, J.

    The ExoMars programme is a joint ESA-NASA program having exobiology as one of the key science objectives. It is divided into 2 missions: the first mission is ESA-led with an ESA orbiter and an ESA Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) demonstrator, launched in 2016 by NASA, and the second mission is NASA-led, launched in 2018 by NASA including an ESA rover and a NASA rover both deployed by a single NASA EDL system. For ESA, the ExoMars programme will demonstrate key flight and in situ enabling technologies in support of the European ambitions for future exploration missions, as outlined in the Aurora Declaration. The ExoMars 2018 ESA Rover will carry a comprehensive and coherent suite of analytical instruments dedicated to exobiology and geology research: the Pasteur Payload (PPL). This payload includes a selection of complementary instruments, having the following goals: to search for signs of past and present life on Mars and to investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface. The ExoMars Rover will travel several kilometres searching for sites warranting further investigation. The Rover includes a drill and a Sample Preparation and Distribution System which will be used to collect and analyse samples from within outcrops and from the subsurface. The Rover systems and instruments, in particular those located inside the Analytical Laboratory Drawer must meet many stringent requirements to be compatible with exobiologic investigations: the samples must be maintained in a cold and uncontaminated environment, requiring sterile and ultraclean preparation of the instruments, to preserve volatile materials and to avoid false positive results. The value of the coordinated observations suggests that a significant return on investment is to be expected from this complex development. We will present the challenges facing the ExoMars PPL, and the plans for sending a robust exobiology laboratory to Mars in 2018.

  16. Mesoscale modeling of the water vapor cycle at Mawrth Vallis: a Mars2020 and ExoMars exploration rovers high-priority landing site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pla-García, Jorge

    2017-04-01

    Introduction: The Mars Regional Atmospheric Modeling System (MRAMS) was used to predict meteorological conditions that are likely to be encountered by the Mars 2020 (NASA) Rover at several of their respective proposed landing sites during entry, descent, and landing at Ls5 [1] and by the ExoMars (ESA) Rover at one of the final landing sites. MRAMS is ideally suited for this type of investigation; the model is explicitly designed to simu-late Mars' atmospheric circulations at the mesoscale and smaller with realistic, high-resolution surface proper-ties [2, 3]. One of the sights studied for both rovers was Mawrth Vallis (MV), an ancient water outflow channel with light colored clay-rich rocks in the mid-latitude north hemisphere (Oxia Palus quadrangle). MV is the northernmost of the Mars2020 and ExoMars landing sites and the closest to the northern polar cap water source. The primary source of water vapor to the atmosphere is the northern polar cap during the northern summer. In order to highlight MV habitability implications, additional numerical experiments at Ls90, 140 and 180, highest column abundance of water vapor is found over MV [4], were performed to study how the atmospheric circulation connects MV with the polar water source. Once the winter CO2 retreats, the underlying polar water ice is exposed and begins to sublimate. The water is transported equatorward where it is manifested in the tropical aphelion cloud belt. If transport is assumed to be the result of the summer Hadley Cell, then the polar water is carried aloft in the northern high latitude rising branch before moving equatorward and eventually toward the southern high latitudes. Thus, the mean meridional summer circulation precludes a direct water vapor connection between MV and the polar source. Around the equinoxes (Ls0 and Ls180), there is a brief transition period where the rising branch quickly crosses from one hemisphere into the other as it migrates to its more typical solstitial location

  17. Microscope on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    This image taken at Meridiani Planum, Mars by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows the rover's microscopic imager (circular device in center), located on its instrument deployment device, or 'arm.' The image was acquired on the ninth martian day or sol of the rover's mission.

  18. Mars Rover Curriculum: Teacher Self Reporting of Increased Frequency and Confidence in their Science and Language Arts Instruction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Carlson, C.; Nieser, K.; Slagle, E.

    2013-12-01

    The University of Houston is in the process of developing a flexible program that offers children an in-depth educational experience culminating in the design and construction of their own model Mars rover. The program is called the Mars Rover Model Celebration (MRC). It focuses on students, teachers and parents in grades 3-8. Students design and build a model of a Mars rover to carry out a student selected science mission on the surface of Mars. A total of 65 Mars Rover teachers from the 2012-2013 cohort were invited to complete the Mars Rover Teacher Evaluation Survey. The survey was administered online and could be taken at the convenience of the participant. In total, 29 teachers participated in the survey. Teachers were asked to rate their current level of confidence in their ability to teach specific topics within the Earth and Life Science realms, as well as their confidence in their ability to implement teaching strategies with their students. In addition, they were asked to rate the degree to which they felt their confidence increased in the past year as a result of their participation in the MRC program. The majority of teachers (81-90%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively teach concepts related to earth and life sciences to their students. In addition, many of the teachers felt that their confidence in teaching these concepts increased somewhat to quite a bit as a result of their participation in the MRC program (54-88%). The most striking increase in this area was the reported 48% of teachers who felt their confidence in teaching 'Earth and the solar system and universe' increased 'Quite a bit' as a result of their participation in the MRC program. The vast majority of teachers (86-100%) felt somewhat to very confident in their ability to effectively implement all of the listed teaching strategies. In addition, the vast majority reported believing that their confidence increased somewhat to quite a bit as a result of their

  19. Integrating the Teaching of Space Science, Planetary Exploration And Robotics In Elementary And Middle School with Mars Rover Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bering, E. A.; Ramsey, J.; Smith, H.; Boyko, B. S.; Peck, S.; Arcenaux, W. H.

    2005-05-01

    The present aerospace engineering and science workforce is ageing. It is not clear that the US education system will produce enough qualified replacements to meet the need in the near future. Unfortunately, by the time many students get to high school, it is often too late to get them pointed toward an engineering or science career. Since some college programs require 6 units of high school mathematics for admission, students need to begin consciously preparing for a science or engineering curriculum as early as 6th or 7th grade. The challenge for educators is to convince elementary school students that science and engineering are both exciting, relevant and accessible career paths. This paper describes a program designed to help provide some excitement and relevance. It is based on the task of developing a mobile robot or "Rover" to explore the surface of Mars. There are two components to the program, a curriculum unit and a contest. The curriculum unit is structured as a 6-week planetary science unit for elementary school (grades 3-5). It can also be used as a curriculum unit, enrichment program or extracurricular activity in grades 6-8 by increasing the expected level of scientific sophistication in the mission design. The second component is a citywide competition to select the most outstanding models that is held annually at a local college or University. Primary (Grades 3-5) and middle school (Grades 6-8) students interested in science and engineering will design and build of a model of a Mars Rover to carry out a specific science mission on the surface of Mars. The students will build the models as part of a 6-week Fall semester classroom-learning or homework project on Mars. The students will be given design criteria for a rover, and be required to do basic research on Mars that will determine the operational objectives and structural features of their rover. This module may be used as part of a class studying general science, earth science, solar system

  20. A comparison of energy conversion systems for meeting the power requirements of manned rover for Mars missions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    El-Genk, M.S.; Morley, N.; Cataldo, R.; Bloomfield, H.

    1990-01-01

    Minimizing system mass for interplanetary missions is of utmost importance in order to keep launch cost within reasonable bounds. For a manned Mars rover, powered by a nuclear reactor power system, the choice of the energy conversion system can play a significant role in lowering the overall system mass. Not only is the mass of the conversion unit affected by the choice, but also the masses of the reactor core, waste heat rejection system, and the radiation shield which are strongly influenced by the system conversion efficiency and operating condition. Several types of conversion systems are of interest for a nuclear reactor Mars manned application. These conversion systems include: free piston Stirling engines, He/XE closed Brayton cycle (CBC), CO 2 open Brayton, and SiGe/GaP thermoelectric. Optimization studies are conducted to determine the impact of the conversion system on the overall mass of the nuclear power system as well as the mobility power requirement of the Rover vehicle

  1. Analysis of entry accelerometer data: A case study of Mars Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Withers, Paul; Towner, M. C.; Hathi, B.; Zarnecki, J. C.

    2003-08-01

    Accelerometers are regularly flown on atmosphere-entering spacecraft. Using their measurements, the spacecraft trajectory and the vertical structure of density, pressure, and temperature in the atmosphere through which it descends can be calculated. We review the general procedures for trajectory and atmospheric structure reconstruction and outline them here in detail. We discuss which physical properties are important in atmospheric entry, instead of working exclusively with the dimensionless numbers of fluid dynamics. Integration of the equations of motion governing the spacecraft trajectory is carried out in a novel and general formulation. This does not require an axisymmetric gravitational field or many of the other assumptions that are present in the literature. We discuss four techniques - head-on, drag-only, acceleration ratios, and gyroscopes - for constraining spacecraft attitude, which is the critical issue in the trajectory reconstruction. The head-on technique uses an approximate magnitude and direction for the aerodynamic acceleration, whereas the drag-only technique uses the correct magnitude and an approximate direction. The acceleration ratios technique uses the correct magnitude and an indirect way of finding the correct direction and the gyroscopes technique uses the correct magnitude and a direct way of finding the correct direction. The head-on and drag-only techniques are easy to implement and require little additional information. The acceleration ratios technique requires extensive and expensive aerodynamic modelling. The gyroscopes technique requires additional onboard instrumentation. The effects of errors are briefly addressed. Our implementations of these trajectory reconstruction procedures have been verified on the Mars Pathfinder dataset. We find inconsistencies within the published work of the Pathfinder science team, and in the PDS archive itself, relating to the entry state of the spacecraft. Our atmospheric structure

  2. Microbial Ecology of a Crewed Rover Traverse in the Arctic: Low Microbial Dispersal and Implications for Planetary Protection on Human Mars Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuerger, Andrew C.; Lee, Pascal

    2015-01-01

    Between April 2009 and July 2011, the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition (NWPDX), a multi-staged long-distance crewed rover traverse along the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. In April 2009, the HMP Okarian rover was driven 496 km over sea ice along the Northwest Passage, from Kugluktuk to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. During the traverse, crew members collected samples from within the rover and from undisturbed snow-covered surfaces around the rover at three locations. The rover samples and snow samples were stored at subzero conditions (-20C to -1C) until processed for microbial diversity in labs at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The objective was to determine the extent of microbial dispersal away from the rover and onto undisturbed snow. Interior surfaces of the rover were found to be associated with a wide range of bacteria (69 unique taxa) and fungi (16 unique taxa). In contrast, snow samples from the upwind, downwind, uptrack, and downtrack sample sites exterior to the rover were negative for both bacteria and fungi except for two colony-forming units (cfus) recovered from one downwind (1 cfu; site A4) and one uptrack (1 cfu; site B6) sample location. The fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus (GenBank JX517279), and closely related bacteria in the genus Brevibacillus were recovered from both snow (B. agri, GenBank JX517278) and interior rover surfaces. However, it is unknown whether the microorganisms were deposited onto snow surfaces at the time of sample collection (i.e., from the clothing or skin of the human operator) or via airborne dispersal from the rover during the 12-18 h layovers at the sites prior to collection. Results support the conclusion that a crewed rover traveling over previously undisturbed terrain may not significantly contaminate the local terrain via airborne dispersal of propagules from the vehicle. Key Words: Planetary protection-Contamination-Habitability-Haughton Crater-Mars. Astrobiology

  3. Ground Truthing Orbital Clay Mineral Observations with the APXS Onboard Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schroeder, C.; Gellert, R.; VanBommel, S.; Clark, B. C.; Ming, D. W.; Mittlefehldt, D. S.; Yen, A. S.

    2016-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring approximately 22 km diameter Endeavour crater since 2011. Its rim segments predate the Hesperian-age Burns formation and expose Noachian-age material, which is associated with orbital Fe3+-Mg-rich clay mineral observations [1,2]. Moving to an orders of magnitude smaller instrumental field of view on the ground, the clay minerals were challenging to pinpoint on the basis of geochemical data because they appear to be the result of near-isochemical weathering of the local bedrock [3,4]. However, the APXS revealed a more complex mineral story as fracture fills and so-called red zones appear to contain more Al-rich clay minerals [5,6], which had not been observed from orbit. These observations are important to constrain clay mineral formation processes. More detail will be added as Opportunity is heading into her 10th extended mission, during which she will investigate Noachian bedrock that predates Endeavour crater, study sedimentary rocks inside Endeavour crater, and explore a fluid-carved gully. ESA's ExoMars rover will land on Noachian-age Oxia Planum where abundant Fe3+-Mg-rich clay minerals have been observed from orbit, but the story will undoubtedly become more complex once seen from the ground.

  4. Planetary Protection Issues in the Human Exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Criswell, Marvin E.; Race, M. S.; Rummel, J. D.; Baker, A.

    2005-01-01

    This workshop report, long delayed, is the first 21st century contribution to what will likely be a series of reports examining the effects of human exploration on the overall scientific study of Mars. The considerations of human-associated microbial contamination were last studied in a 1990 workshop ("Planetary Protection Issues and Future Mars Missions," NASA CP-10086, 1991), but the timing of that workshop allowed neither a careful examination of the full range of issues, nor an appreciation for the Mars that has been revealed by the Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder missions. Future workshops will also have the advantage of Mars Odyssey, the Mars Exploration Rover missions, and ESA's Mars Express, but the Pingree Park workshop reported here had both the NCR's (1992) concern that "Missions carrying humans to Mars will contaminate the planet" and over a decade of careful study of human exploration objectives to guide them and to reconcile. A daunting challenge, and one that is not going to be simple (as the working title of this meeting, "When Ecologies Collide?" might suggest), it is clear that the planetary protection issues will have to be addressed to enable human explorers to safely and competently extend out knowledge about Mars, and its potential as a home for life whether martian or human.

  5. Evolved Gas Analyses of the Murray Formation in Gale Crater, Mars: Results of the Curiosity Rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; McAdam, A. C.; Rampe, E. B.; Thompson, L. M.; Ming, D. W.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Stern, J. C.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Archer, P. D.

    2017-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover has analyzed 13 samples from Gale Crater. All SAM-evolved gas analyses have yielded a multitude of volatiles (e.g., H2O, SO2, H2S, CO2, CO, NO, O2, HCl) [1- 6]. The objectives of this work are to 1) Characterize recent evolved SO2, CO2, O2, and NO gas traces of the Murray formation mudstone, 2) Constrain sediment mineralogy/composition based on SAM evolved gas analysis (SAM-EGA), and 3) Discuss the implications of these results relative to understanding the geological history of Gale Crater.

  6. In-Situ Mosaic Production at JPL/MIPL

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deen, Bob

    2012-01-01

    Multimission Image Processing Lab (MIPL) at JPL is responsible for (among other things) the ground-based operational image processing of all the recent in-situ Mars missions: (1) Mars Pathfinder (2) Mars Polar Lander (3) Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) (4) Phoenix (5) Mars Science Lab (MSL) Mosaics are probably the most visible products from MIPL (1) Generated for virtually every rover position at which a panorama is taken (2) Provide better environmental context than single images (3) Valuable to operations and science personnel (4) Arguably the signature products for public engagement

  7. Observations at the Mars Pathfinder site: Do they provide "unequivocal" evidence of catastrophic flooding?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, M.G.; Kargel, J.S.

    1999-01-01

    After Mars Pathfinder landed at the mouth of Ares Vallis, a large channel that drains into the Chryse Planitia basin, the mission reports unanimously supported the interpretation that the lander site is the locus of catastrophic flooding by noting that all aspects of the scene are consistent with this interpretation. However, alternatives cannot be ruled out by any site observations, as all aspects of the scene are equally consistent with other interpretations of origin, namely, ice and mass-flow processes subsequently modified by wind erosion. The authors discuss alternative explanations for the geologic history of the channel based on a regional view of the circum-Chryse channels from Viking images (our best broad-scale information to date) and the local view from the recent Pathfinder landing site. Mega-indicators of channel origin, the regional geomorphology, geology, and planetary climatic conditions, taken together suggest some combination of flood, mass flow, glacial, and eolian processes. The macro-indicators of channel origin (sedimentologic) are also not indicative of one process of emplacement, either as single criteria or taken cumulatively. Finally, the micro-indicators of channel origin (geochemical and mineralogic composition) do not provide very tight constraints on the deposits' possible origins other than that water was in some way involved.

  8. The Antarctic permafrost as a testbed for REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station-Mars Science Laboratory)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Esteban, B.; Ramos, M.; Sebastián, E.; Armiens, C.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Cabos, W.; de Pablo, M. A.

    2009-04-01

    The present climatic characteristics of Mars favor the presence of extense permafrost areas in this lonely planet. Therefore environmental parameters that are included in Martian Rover missions are also used for monitoring thermal soil surface evolution in order to study the permafrost active layer thickness and the energy balance in the soil-atmosphere boundary limit layer. The REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) is an environmental station designed by the Centro de Astrobiología (CAB- Spain) with the collaboration of national and international partners (CRISA/EADS, UPC and FMI), which is part of the payload of the MSL (Mars Science Laboratory) NASA mission to Mars (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/overview/). This mission is expected to be launched in the final months of 2009, and mainly consists of a Rover, with a complete set of scientific instruments; the Rover will carry the biggest, most advanced suite of instruments for scientific studies ever sent to the Martian surface. Five sensors compose the REMS instrument: ground (GT-REMS) and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, pressure, humidity and ultraviolet radiation (UV-REMS). A simplified setup of the REMS was deployed on Antarctica in the surroundings of the Spanish Antarctic Stations on Livingston and Deception Islands (Maritime Antarctica), where the permafrost distribution is well-known. The aim of the experiment was to check REMS's sensors response against hard environmental conditions and calibrates their measures with standard Antarctic devices. The experimental apparatuses included some standard meteorological and thermopiles sensors corresponding to the REMS. All the sensors are mounted in a 1.8 m mast and include a Pt100 air temperature sensor with shield solar protection on the mast top, a Kipp and Zonnen CNR1 net radiometer for measuring infrared (5-50 μm) and short wave solar (305-2800 nm) radiation at 1.5 m high, GT-REMS sensor and its amplification box at 0.7 m high and finally

  9. The design and engineering of curiosity how the Mars Rover performs its job

    CERN Document Server

    Lakdawalla, Emily

    2018-01-01

    This book describes the most complex machine ever sent to another planet: Curiosity. It is a one-ton robot with two brains, seventeen cameras, six wheels, nuclear power, and a laser beam on its head. No one human understands how all of its systems and instruments work. This essential reference to the Curiosity mission explains the engineering behind every system on the rover, from its rocket-powered jetpack to its radioisotope thermoelectric generator to its fiendishly complex sample handling system. Its lavishly illustrated text explains how all the instruments work -- its cameras, spectrometers, sample-cooking oven, and weather station -- and describes the instruments' abilities and limitations. It tells you how the systems have functioned on Mars, and how scientists and engineers have worked around problems developed on a faraway planet: holey wheels and broken focus lasers. And it explains the grueling mission operations schedule that keeps the rover working day in and day out.   .

  10. Field trial of a dual-wavelength fluorescent emission (L.I.F.E.) instrument and the Magma White rover during the MARS2013 Mars analog mission.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Groemer, Gernot; Sattler, Birgit; Weisleitner, Klemens; Hunger, Lars; Kohstall, Christoph; Frisch, Albert; Józefowicz, Mateusz; Meszyński, Sebastian; Storrie-Lombardi, Michael; Bothe, Claudia; Boyd, Andrea; Dinkelaker, Aline; Dissertori, Markus; Fasching, David; Fischer, Monika; Föger, Daniel; Foresta, Luca; Frischauf, Norbert; Fritsch, Lukas; Fuchs, Harald; Gautsch, Christoph; Gerard, Stephan; Goetzloff, Linda; Gołebiowska, Izabella; Gorur, Paavan; Groemer, Gerhard; Groll, Petra; Haider, Christian; Haider, Olivia; Hauth, Eva; Hauth, Stefan; Hettrich, Sebastian; Jais, Wolfgang; Jones, Natalie; Taj-Eddine, Kamal; Karl, Alexander; Kauerhoff, Tilo; Khan, Muhammad Shadab; Kjeldsen, Andreas; Klauck, Jan; Losiak, Anna; Luger, Markus; Luger, Thomas; Luger, Ulrich; McArthur, Jane; Moser, Linda; Neuner, Julia; Orgel, Csilla; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Paternesi, Roberta; Peschier, Jarno; Pfeil, Isabella; Prock, Silvia; Radinger, Josef; Ragonig, Christoph; Ramirez, Barbara; Ramo, Wissam; Rampey, Mike; Sams, Arnold; Sams, Elisabeth; Sams, Sebastian; Sandu, Oana; Sans, Alejandra; Sansone, Petra; Scheer, Daniela; Schildhammer, Daniel; Scornet, Quentin; Sejkora, Nina; Soucek, Alexander; Stadler, Andrea; Stummer, Florian; Stumptner, Willibald; Taraba, Michael; Tlustos, Reinhard; Toferer, Ernst; Turetschek, Thomas; Winter, Egon; Zanella-Kux, Katja

    2014-05-01

    Abstract We have developed a portable dual-wavelength laser fluorescence spectrometer as part of a multi-instrument optical probe to characterize mineral, organic, and microbial species in extreme environments. Operating at 405 and 532 nm, the instrument was originally designed for use by human explorers to produce a laser-induced fluorescence emission (L.I.F.E.) spectral database of the mineral and organic molecules found in the microbial communities of Earth's cryosphere. Recently, our team had the opportunity to explore the strengths and limitations of the instrument when it was deployed on a remote-controlled Mars analog rover. In February 2013, the instrument was deployed on board the Magma White rover platform during the MARS2013 Mars analog field mission in the Kess Kess formation near Erfoud, Morocco. During these tests, we followed tele-science work flows pertinent to Mars surface missions in a simulated spaceflight environment. We report on the L.I.F.E. instrument setup, data processing, and performance during field trials. A pilot postmission laboratory analysis determined that rock samples acquired during the field mission exhibited a fluorescence signal from the Sun-exposed side characteristic of chlorophyll a following excitation at 405 nm. A weak fluorescence response to excitation at 532 nm may have originated from another microbial photosynthetic pigment, phycoerythrin, but final assignment awaits development of a comprehensive database of mineral and organic fluorescence spectra. No chlorophyll fluorescence signal was detected from the shaded underside of the samples.

  11. Measurement of Mars Analog Soil Dielectric Properties for Mars 2020 Radar Science Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Decrossas, E.; Bell, D. J.; Jin, C.; Steinfeld, D.; Batres, J.

    2017-12-01

    On multiple solar system missions, radar instruments have been used to probe subsurface geomorphology and to infer chemical composition based on the dielectric signature derived from the reflected signal. One important planetary application is the identification of subsurface water ice at Mars. Low frequency, 15 MHz to 25 MHz, instruments like SHARAD have been used from Mars orbit to investigate subsurface features from 10's to 1000's of meters below the surface of Mars with a vertical resolution of 15m and a horizontal resolution of 300 to 3000 meters. SHARAD has been able to identify vast layers of CO2 and water ice. The ground-penetrating RIMFAX instrument that will ride on the back of the Mars 2020 rover will operate over the 150 MHz to 1200 MHz band and penetrate to a depth of 10 meters with a vertical resolution of 15 to 30 cm. RIMFAX will be able to identify near surface water ice if it exists below the travel path of the Mars 2020 rover. Identification of near surface water ice has science application to current and past Mars hydrologic processes and to the potential for finding remnants of past Mars biologic activity. Identification of near surface water ice also has application to future human missions that would benefit from access to a Mars local water source. Recently, JPL investigators have been pursuing a secondary use of telecom signals to capture bistatic radar signatures from subsurface areas surrounding the rover but away from its travel path. A particularly promising potential source would be the telecom signal from a proposed Mars Helicopter back to the Mars 2020 rover. The Mars 2020 rover will be equipped with up to three telecom subsystems. The Rover Relay telecom subsystem operates at UHF receiving at 435 MHz frequency. Anticipating opportunistic collection of near-surface bistatic radar signatures from telecom signals received at the rover, it is valuable to understand the dielectric properties of the Martian soil in each of these three

  12. Paleo-environmental Setting of the Murray Formation of Aeolis Mons, Gale Crater, Mars, as Explored by the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lewis, K. W.; Fedo, C.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Stein, N.; Rivera-Hernandez, F.; Watkins, J. A.; Banham, S.; Edgett, K. S.; Minitti, M. E.; Schieber, J.; Edgar, L. A.; Siebach, K. L.; Stack, K.; Newsom, H. E.; House, C. H.; Sumner, D. Y.; Vasavada, A. R.

    2017-12-01

    Since landing, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover climbed 300 meters in elevation from the floor of north Gale crater up the lower northwest flank of Aeolis Mons ("Mount Sharp"). Nearly 200 meters of this ascent was accomplished in the 1.5 years alone, as the rover was driven up-section through the sedimentary rocks of the informally designated "Murray" formation. This unit comprises a large fraction of the lower strata of Mt. Sharp along the rover traverse. Our exploration of the Murray formation reveals a diverse suite of fine-grained facies. Grain sizes range from finer grains than can be resolved by the MAHLI imager (particles bearing Vera Rubin Ridge, continues to reveal the complex and long-lived depositional history of the Gale crater basin.

  13. Low Cost Mars Surface Exploration: The Mars Tumbleweed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Calhoun, Philip; Flick, John; Hajos, Gregory; Kolacinski, Richard; Minton, David; Owens, Rachel; Parker, Jennifer

    2003-01-01

    The "Mars Tumbleweed," a rover concept that would utilize surface winds for mobility, is being examined as a low cost complement to the current Mars exploration efforts. Tumbleweeds carrying microinstruments would be driven across the Martian landscape by wind, searching for areas of scientific interest. These rovers, relatively simple, inexpensive, and deployed in large numbers to maximize coverage of the Martian surface, would provide a broad scouting capability to identify specific sites for exploration by more complex rover and lander missions.

  14. Conceptual studies on the integration of a nuclear reactor system to a manned rover for Mars missions. Final Report, Feb. 1989 - Nov. 1990

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    El-genk, M.S.; Morley, N.J.

    1991-07-01

    Multiyear civilian manned missions to explore the surface of Mars are thought by NASA to be possible early in the next century. Expeditions to Mars, as well as permanent bases, are envisioned to require enhanced piloted vehicles to conduct science and exploration activities. Piloted rovers, with 30 kWe user net power (for drilling, sampling and sample analysis, onboard computer and computer instrumentation, vehicle thermal management, and astronaut life support systems) in addition to mobility are being considered. The rover design, for this study, included a four car train type vehicle complete with a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell auxiliary power system (APS). This system was designed to power the primary control vehicle. The APS supplies life support power for four astronauts and a limited degree of mobility allowing the primary control vehicle to limp back to either a permanent base or an accent vehicle. The results showed that the APS described above, with a mass of 667 kg, was sufficient to provide live support power and a top speed of five km/h for 6 hours per day. It was also seen that the factors that had the largest effect on the APS mass were the life support power, the number of astronauts, and the PV cell efficiency. The topics covered include: (1) power system options; (2) rover layout and design; (3) parametric analysis of total mass and power requirements for a manned Mars rover; (4) radiation shield design; and (5) energy conversion systems

  15. Estimates of power requirements for a Manned Mars Rover powered by a nuclear reactor

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morley, Nicholas J.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.; Cataldo, Robert; Bloomfield, Harvey

    1991-01-01

    This paper assesses the power requirement for a Manned Mars Rover vehicle. Auxiliary power needs are fulfilled using a hybrid solar photovoltaic/regenerative fuel cell system, while the primary power needs are meet using an SP-100 type reactor. The primary electric power needs, which include 30-kW(e) net user power, depend on the reactor thermal power and the efficiency of the power conversion system. Results show that an SP-100 type reactor coupled to a Free Piston Stirling Engine yields the lowest total vehicle mass and lowest specific mass for the power system. The second lowest mass was for a SP-100 reactor coupled to a Closed Brayton Cycle using He/Xe as the working fluid. The specific mass of the nuclear reactor power system, including a man-rated radiation shield, ranged from 150-kg/kW(e) to 190-kg/KW(e) and the total mass of the Rover vehicle varied depend upon the cruising speed.

  16. Wind-Driven Erosion and Exposure Potential at Mars 2020 Rover Candidate-Landing Sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chojnacki, Matthew; Banks, Maria; Urso, Anna

    2018-01-01

    Aeolian processes have likely been the predominant geomorphic agent for most of Mars’ history and have the potential to produce relatively young exposure ages for geologic units. Thus, identifying local evidence for aeolian erosion is highly relevant to the selection of landing sites for future missions, such as the Mars 2020 Rover mission that aims to explore astrobiologically relevant ancient environments. Here we investigate wind-driven activity at eight Mars 2020 candidate-landing sites to constrain erosion potential at these locations. To demonstrate our methods, we found that contemporary dune-derived abrasion rates were in agreement with rover-derived exhumation rates at Gale crater and could be employed elsewhere. The Holden crater candidate site was interpreted to have low contemporary erosion rates, based on the presence of a thick sand coverage of static ripples. Active ripples at the Eberswalde and southwest Melas sites may account for local erosion and the dearth of small craters. Moderate-flux regional dunes near Mawrth Vallis were deemed unrepresentative of the candidate site, which is interpreted to currently be experiencing low levels of erosion. The Nili Fossae site displayed the most unambiguous evidence for local sand transport and erosion, likely yielding relatively young exposure ages. The downselected Jezero crater and northeast Syrtis sites had high-flux neighboring dunes and exhibited substantial evidence for sediment pathways across their ellipses. Both sites had relatively high estimated abrasion rates, which would yield young exposure ages. The downselected Columbia Hills site lacked evidence for sand movement, and contemporary local erosion rates are estimated to be relatively low. PMID:29568719

  17. Middleware and Web Services for the Collaborative Information Portal of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sinderson, Elias; Magapu, Vish; Mak, Ronald

    2004-01-01

    We describe the design and deployment of the middleware for the Collaborative Information Portal (CIP), a mission critical J2EE application developed for NASA's 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission. CIP enabled mission personnel to access data and images sent back from Mars, staff and event schedules, broadcast messages and clocks displaying various Earth and Mars time zones. We developed the CIP middleware in less than two years time usins cutting-edge technologies, including EJBs, servlets, JDBC, JNDI and JMS. The middleware was designed as a collection of independent, hot-deployable web services, providing secure access to back end file systems and databases. Throughout the middleware we enabled crosscutting capabilities such as runtime service configuration, security, logging and remote monitoring. This paper presents our approach to mitigating the challenges we faced, concluding with a review of the lessons we learned from this project and noting what we'd do differently and why.

  18. Quantitative analysis of digital outcrop data obtained from stereo-imagery using an emulator for the PanCam camera system for the ExoMars 2020 rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barnes, Robert; Gupta, Sanjeev; Gunn, Matt; Paar, Gerhard; Balme, Matt; Huber, Ben; Bauer, Arnold; Furya, Komyo; Caballo-Perucha, Maria del Pilar; Traxler, Chris; Hesina, Gerd; Ortner, Thomas; Banham, Steven; Harris, Jennifer; Muller, Jan-Peter; Tao, Yu

    2017-04-01

    A key focus of planetary rover missions is to use panoramic camera systems to image outcrops along rover traverses, in order to characterise their geology in search of ancient life. This data can be processed to create 3D point clouds of rock outcrops to be quantitatively analysed. The Mars Utah Rover Field Investigation (MURFI 2016) is a Mars Rover field analogue mission run by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It took place between 22nd October and 13th November 2016 and consisted of a science team based in Harwell, UK, and a field team including an instrumented Rover platform at the field site near Hanksville (Utah, USA). The Aberystwyth University PanCam Emulator 3 (AUPE3) camera system was used to collect stereo panoramas of the terrain the rover encountered during the field trials. Stereo-imagery processed in PRoViP is rendered as Ordered Point Clouds (OPCs) in PRo3D, enabling the user to zoom, rotate and translate the 3D outcrop model. Interpretations can be digitised directly onto the 3D surface, and simple measurements can be taken of the dimensions of the outcrop and sedimentary features, including grain size. Dip and strike of bedding planes, stratigraphic and sedimentological boundaries and fractures is calculated within PRo3D from mapped bedding contacts and fracture traces. Merging of rover-derived imagery with UAV and orbital datasets, to build semi-regional multi-resolution 3D models of the area of operations for immersive analysis and contextual understanding. In-simulation, AUPE3 was mounted onto the rover mast, collecting 16 stereo panoramas over 9 'sols'. 5 out-of-simulation datasets were collected in the Hanksville-Burpee Quarry. Stereo panoramas were processed using an automated pipeline and data transfer through an ftp server. PRo3D has been used for visualisation and analysis of this stereo data. Features of interest in the area could be annotated, and their distances between to the rover

  19. Mars Navigator: An Interactive Multimedia Program about Mars, Aerospace Engineering, Astronomy, and the JPL Mars Missions. [CD-ROM

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gramoll, Kurt

    This CD-ROM introduces basic astronomy and aerospace engineering by examining the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's (JPL) Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor missions to Mars. It contains numerous animations and narrations in addition to detailed graphics and text. Six interactive laboratories are included to help understand topics such as the…

  20. Design of a nuclear-powered rover for lunar or Martian exploration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Trellue, H.R.; Trautner, R.; Houts, M.G.; Poston, D.I.; Giovig, K.; Baca, J.A.; Lipinski, R.J.

    1998-08-01

    To perform more advanced studies on the surface of the moon or Mars, a rover must provide long-term power (≥10 kW e ). However, a majority of rovers in the past have been designed for much lower power levels (i.e., on the order of watts) or for shorter operating periods using stored power. Thus, more advanced systems are required to generate additional power. One possible design for a more highly powered rover involves using a nuclear reactor to supply energy to the rover and material from the surface of the moon or Mars to shield the electronics from high neutron fluxes and gamma doses. Typically, one of the main disadvantages of using a nuclear-powered rover is that the required shielding would be heavy and expensive to include as part of the payload on a mission. Obtaining most of the required shielding material from the surface of the moon or Mars would reduce the cost of the mission and still provide the necessary power. This paper describes the basic design of a rover that uses the Heatpipe Power System (HPS) as an energy source, including the shielding and reactor control issues associated with the design. It also discusses briefly the amount of power that can be produced by other power methods (solar/photovoltaic cells, radioisotope power supplies, dynamic radioisotope power systems, and the production of methane or acetylene fuel from the surface of Mars) as a comparison to the HPS

  1. Planetary rovers robotic exploration of the solar system

    CERN Document Server

    Ellery, Alex

    2016-01-01

    The increasing adoption of terrain mobility – planetary rovers – for the investigation of planetary surfaces emphasises their central importance in space exploration. This imposes a completely new set of technologies and methodologies to the design of such spacecraft – and planetary rovers are indeed, first and foremost, spacecraft. This introduces vehicle engineering, mechatronics, robotics, artificial intelligence and associated technologies to the spacecraft engineer’s repertoire of skills. Planetary Rovers is the only book that comprehensively covers these aspects of planetary rover engineering and more. The book: • discusses relevant planetary environments to rover missions, stressing the Moon and Mars; • includes a brief survey of previous rover missions; • covers rover mobility, traction and control systems; • stresses the importance of robotic vision in rovers for both navigation and science; • comprehensively covers autonomous navigation, path planning and multi-rover formations on ...

  2. Autonomous Rover Traverse and Precise Arm Placement on Remotely Designated Targets

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felder, Michael; Nesnas, Issa A.; Pivtoraiko, Mihail; Kelly, Alonzo; Volpe, Richard

    2011-01-01

    Exploring planetary surfaces typically involves traversing challenging and unknown terrain and acquiring in-situ measurements at designated locations using arm-mounted instruments. We present field results for a new implementation of an autonomous capability that enables a rover to traverse and precisely place an arm-mounted instrument on remote targets. Using point-and-click mouse commands, a scientist designates targets in the initial imagery acquired from the rover's mast cameras. The rover then autonomously traverse the rocky terrain for a distance of 10 - 15 m, tracks the target(s) of interest during the traverse, positions itself for approaching the target, and then precisely places an arm-mounted instrument within 2-3 cm from the originally designated target. The rover proceeds to acquire science measurements with the instrument. This work advances what has been previously developed and integrated on the Mars Exploration Rovers by using algorithms that are capable of traversing more rock-dense terrains, enabling tight thread-the-needle maneuvers. We integrated these algorithms on the newly refurbished Athena Mars research rover and fielded them in the JPL Mars Yard. We conducted 43 runs with targets at distances ranging from 5 m to 15 m and achieved a success rate of 93% for placement of the instrument within 2-3 cm.

  3. Examining Mars with SPICE

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acton, Charles H.; Bachman, Nathaniel J.; Bytof, Jeff A.; Semenov, Boris V.; Taber, William; Turner, F. Scott; Wright, Edward D.

    1999-01-01

    The International Mars Conference highlights the wealth of scientific data now and soon to be acquired from an international armada of Mars-bound robotic spacecraft. Underlying the planning and interpretation of these scientific observations around and upon Mars are ancillary data and associated software needed to deal with trajectories or locations, instrument pointing, timing and Mars cartographic models. The NASA planetary community has adopted the SPICE system of ancillary data standards and allied tools to fill the need for consistent, reliable access to these basic data and a near limitless range of derived parameters. After substantial rapid growth in its formative years, the SPICE system continues to evolve today to meet new needs and improve ease of use. Adaptations to handle landers and rovers were prototyped on the Mars pathfinder mission and will next be used on Mars '01-'05. Incorporation of new methods to readily handle non-inertial reference frames has vastly extended the capability and simplified many computations. A translation of the SPICE Toolkit software suite to the C language has just been announced. To further support cartographic calculations associated with Mars exploration the SPICE developers at JPL have recently been asked by NASA to work with cartographers to develop standards and allied software for storing and accessing control net and shape model data sets; these will be highly integrated with existing SPICE components. NASA specifically supports the widest possible utilization of SPICE capabilities throughout the international space science community. With NASA backing the Russian Space Agency and Russian Academy of Science adopted the SPICE standards for the Mars 96 mission. The SPICE ephemeris component will shortly become the international standard for agencies using the Deep Space Network. U.S. and European scientists hope that ESA will employ SPICE standards on the Mars Express mission. SPICE is an open set of standards, and

  4. Model for Volatile Incorporation into Soils and Dust on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C.; Yen, A.

    2006-12-01

    Martian soils with high content of compounds of sulfur and chlorine are ubiquitous on Mars, having been found at all five landing sites. Sulfate and chloride salts are implicated by a variety of evidence, but few conclusive specific identifications have been made. Discovery of jarosite and Mg-Ca sulfates in outcrops at Meridiani Planum (MER mission) and regional-scale beds of kieserite and gypsum (Mars Express mission) notwithstanding, the sulfates in soils are uncertain. Chlorides or other Cl-containing minerals have not been uniquely identified directly by any method. Viking and Pathfinder missions found trends in the elemental analytical data consistent with MgSO4, but Viking results are biased by duricrust samples and Pathfinder by soil contamination of rock surfaces. The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) missions have taken extensive data on soils with no confirmation of trends implicating any particular cation. In our model of martian dust and soil, the S and Cl are initially incorporated by condensation or chemisorption on grains directly from gas phase molecules in the atmosphere. It is shown by modeling that the coatings thus formed cannot quantitatively explain the apparent elemental composition of these materials, and therefore involve the migration of ions and formation of microscopic weathering rinds. Original cation inventories of unweathered particles are isochemically conserved. Exposed rock surfaces should also have micro rinds, depending upon the length of time of exposure. Martian soils may therefore have unusual chemical properties when interacting with aqueous layers or infused fluids. Potential ramifications to the quantitative accuracy of x-ray fluorescence and Moessbauer spectroscopy on unprocessed samples are also assessed.

  5. In Situ Visible to Short Wavelength Imaging Spectroscopy with the Ultra Compact Imaging Spectrometer (UCIS): Case Studies from the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blaney, D.; Mouroulis, P.; Green, R.; Rodriguez, J.; Sellar, G.; Van Gorp, B.; Wilson, D.

    2011-01-01

    In Situ imaging spectroscopy provides a way to address complex questions of geological evolution for both aqueous and igneous processes by mapping mineral composition at the spatial scale of rocks and outcrops. Examination of locations studied by the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity can provide examples of the potential utility and define the needed measurement requirements. A compact instrument is needed to be able to adequately address these science questions from a rover platform. The Ultra Compact Imaging Spectrometer (UCIS) is an instrument designed to address the science need and implementation constraints.

  6. Methods and decision making on a Mars rover for identification of fossils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eberlein, Susan; Yates, Gigi

    1989-01-01

    A system for automated fusion and interpretation of image data from multiple sensors, including multispectral data from an imaging spectrometer is being developed. Classical artificial intelligence techniques and artificial neural networks are employed to make real time decision based on current input and known scientific goals. Emphasis is placed on identifying minerals which could indicate past life activity or an environment supportive of life. Multispectral data can be used for geological analysis because different minerals have characteristic spectral reflectance in the visible and near infrared range. Classification of each spectrum into a broad class, based on overall spectral shape and locations of absorption bands is possible in real time using artificial neural networks. The goal of the system is twofold: multisensor and multispectral data must be interpreted in real time so that potentially interesting sites can be flagged and investigated in more detail while the rover is near those sites; and the sensed data must be reduced to the most compact form possible without loss of crucial information. Autonomous decision making will allow a rover to achieve maximum scientific benefit from a mission. Both a classical rule based approach and a decision neural network for making real time choices are being considered. Neural nets may work well for adaptive decision making. A neural net can be trained to work in two steps. First, the actual input state is mapped to the closest of a number of memorized states. After weighing the importance of various input parameters, the net produces an output decision based on the matched memory state. Real time, autonomous image data analysis and decision making capabilities are required for achieving maximum scientific benefit from a rover mission. The system under development will enhance the chances of identifying fossils or environments capable of supporting life on Mars

  7. Non-Detection of Methane in the Mars Atmosphere by the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, Chris R.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Flesch, Gregory J.; Farley, Kenneth A.

    2014-01-01

    By analogy with Earth, methane in the atmosphere of Mars is a potential signature of ongoing or past biological activity on the planet. During the last decade, Earth-based telescopic and Mars orbit remote sensing instruments have reported significant abundances of methane in the Martian atmosphere ranging from several to tens of parts-per-billion by volume (ppbv). Observations from Earth showed plumes of methane with variations on timescales much faster than expected and inconsistent with localized patches seen from orbit, prompting speculation of sources from sub-surface methanogen bacteria, geological water-rock reactions or infall from comets, micro-meteorites or interplanetary dust. From measurements on NASAs Curiosity Rover that landed near Gale Crater on 5th August 2012, we here report no definitive detection of methane in the near-surface Martian atmosphere. Our in situ measurements were made using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite6 that made three separate searches on Martian sols 79, 81 and 106 after landing. The measured mean value of 0.39 plus or minus 1.4 ppbv corresponds to an upper limit for methane abundance of 2.7 ppbv at the 95 confidence level. This result is in disagreement with both the remote sensing spacecraft observations taken at lower sensitivity and the telescopic observations that relied on subtraction of a very large contribution from terrestrial methane in the intervening observation path. Since the expected lifetime of methane in the Martian atmosphere is hundreds of years, our results question earlier observations and set a low upper limit on the present day abundance, reducing the probability of significant current methanogenic microbial activity on Mars.

  8. Scout Rover Applications for Forward Acquisition of Soil and Terrain Data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sonsalla, R.; Ahmed, M.; Fritsche, M.; Akpo, J.; Voegele, T.

    2014-04-01

    As opposed to the present mars exploration missions future mission concepts ask for a fast and safe traverse through vast and varied expanses of terrain. As seen during the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission the rovers suffered a lack of detailed soil and terrain information which caused Spirit to get permanently stuck in soft soil. The goal of the FASTER1 EU-FP7 project is to improve the mission safety and the effective traverse speed for planetary rover exploration by determining the traversability of the terrain and lowering the risk to enter hazardous areas. To achieve these goals, a scout rover will be used for soil and terrain sensing ahead of the main rover. This paper describes a highly mobile, and versatile micro scout rover that is used for soil and terrain sensing and is able to co-operate with a primary rover as part of the FASTER approach. The general reference mission idea and concept is addressed within this paper along with top-level requirements derived from the proposed ESA/NASA Mars Sample Return mission (MSR) [4]. Following the mission concept and requirements [3], a concept study for scout rover design and operations has been performed [5]. Based on this study the baseline for the Coyote II rover was designed and built as shown in Figure 1. Coyote II is equipped with a novel locomotion concept, providing high all terrain mobility and allowing to perform side-to-side steering maneuvers which reduce the soil disturbance as compared to common skid steering [6]. The rover serves as test platform for various scout rover application tests ranging from locomotion testing to dual rover operations. From the lessons learned from Coyote II and for an enhanced design, a second generation rover (namely Coyote III) as shown in Figure 2 is being built. This rover serves as scout rover platform for the envisaged FASTER proof of concept field trials. The rover design is based on the test results gained by the Coyote II trials. Coyote III is equipped with two

  9. Compositional Variations in Sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale Crater, Mars, from Visible-Shortwave Infrared Spectroscopy and Comparison to Ground-Truth from the Curiosity Rover

    OpenAIRE

    Lapotre, M. G. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Minson, S. E.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ayoub, F.; Fraeman, A. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Bridges, N. T.

    2017-01-01

    During its ascent up Mount Sharp, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover traversed the Bagnold Dune Field. We model sand modal mineralogy and grain size at four locations near the rover traverse, using orbital shortwave infrared single-scattering albedo spectra and a Markov chain Monte Carlo implementation of Hapke's radiative transfer theory to fully constrain uncertainties and permitted solutions. These predictions, evaluated against in situ measurements at one site from the Curiosity ...

  10. Mars Stratigraphy Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Budney, C. J.; Miller, S. L.; Cutts, J. A.

    2000-01-01

    The Mars Stratigraphy Mission lands a rover on the surface of Mars which descends down a cliff in Valles Marineris to study the stratigraphy. The rover carries a unique complement of instruments to analyze and age-date materials encountered during descent past 2 km of strata. The science objective for the Mars Stratigraphy Mission is to identify the geologic history of the layered deposits in the Valles Marineris region of Mars. This includes constraining the time interval for formation of these deposits by measuring the ages of various layers and determining the origin of the deposits (volcanic or sedimentary) by measuring their composition and imaging their morphology.

  11. Energy storage considerations for a robotic Mars surface sampler

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    O'Donnell, P.M.; Cataldo, R.L.; Gonzalez-Sanabria, O.D.

    1988-01-01

    Manned exploration of Mars is being proposed by the National Commission on Space for the next century. To accomplish this task with minimal resupply cost for extended stay times, use of Mars' resources is essential. Methods must be developed to manufacture or extract water and oxygen from elements indigenous to Mars before they send explorers to the planet. Therefore, they must send precursor surveying equipment to determine Mars' resources to a greater extent than is now known from Viking 1 and Viking 2 data. A 1992 launch is planned for the Mars Observer that will contribute greater mapping resolution and expand the scientific data base. The proposed rover will provide scientists with the necessary information about abundant resources that would guide the required technology development needed to support a manned Mars infrastructure. The actual rover operations plan for both the sample return and extended mission will have a large impact on rover capabilities and the power system supplying power for traversing and scientific instrumentation. POWER SOURCE AND CONVERSION. Several power source/conversion options for the rover have been identified. These include power generation on the lander, Entry Vehicle (EV), Mars Orbiter Vehicle (MOV) and on the rover itself. Power from the lander would require the rover to return to landing site to recharge the energy storage systems, which limits rover excursions to one-half the range of the storage capacity. For on-board rover power, a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG) has been considered with the appropriate energy storage to handle peak power demands

  12. Performance of the Linear Ion Trap Mass Spectrometer for the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) Investigation on the 2018 Exomars Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arevalo, Ricardo, Jr.; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Pinnick, Veronica T.; van Amerom, Friso H. W.; Danell, Ryan M.; Li, Xiang; Getty, Stephanie; Hovmand, Lars; Atanassova, Martina; Mahaffy, Paul R.; hide

    2014-01-01

    The 2018 ExoMars rover mission includes the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) investigation. MOMA will examine the chemical composition of samples acquired from depths of up to two meters below the martian surface, where organics may be protected from degradation derived from cosmic radiation and/or oxidative chemical reactions. When combined with the complement of instruments in the rover's Pasteur Payload, MOMA has the potential to reveal the presence of a wide range of organics preserved in a variety of mineralogical environments, and to begin to understand the structural character and potential origin of those compounds. The MOMA investigation is led by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) with the mass spectrometer subsystem provided by NASA GSFC. MOMA's linear ion trap mass spectrometer (ITMS) is designed to analyze molecular composition of: (i) gas evolved from pyrolyzed powder samples and separated in a gas chromatograph; and, (ii) ions directly desorbed from crushed solid samples at Mars ambient pressure, as enabled by a pulsed UV laser system, fast-actuating aperture valve and capillary ion inlet. Breadboard ITMS and associated electronics have been advanced to high end-to-end fidelity in preparation for flight hardware delivery to Germany in 2015.

  13. Overview of the magnetic properties experiments on the Mars Exploration Rovers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Madsen, M. B.; Goetz, W.; Bertelsen, P.

    2009-01-01

    , while the weakly magnetic one is bright red. Images returned by the Microscopic Imager reveal the formation of magnetic chains diagnostic of magnetite-rich grains with substantial magnetization (>8 Am-2 kg(-1)). On the basis of Mossbauer spectra the dust contains magnetite, olivine, pyroxene......The Mars Exploration Rovers have accumulated airborne dust on different types of permanent magnets. Images of these magnets document the dynamics of dust capture and removal over time. The strongly magnetic subset of airborne dust appears dark brown to black in Panoramic Camera (Pancam) images......, and nanophase oxides in varying proportions, depending on wind regime and landing site. The dust contains a larger amount of ferric iron (Fe3+/Fe-tot similar to 0.6) than rocks in the Gusev plains (similar to 0.1-0.2) or average Gusev soil (similar to 0.3). Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer data of the dust...

  14. Abundance and Isotopic Composition of Gases in the Martian Atmosphere: First Results from the Mars Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul; Webster, Chris R.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Franz, Heather; Wong, Michael; Conrad, Pamela G.; Harpold, Dan; Jones, John J.; Leshin, Laurie, A.; Manning, Heidi; hide

    2013-01-01

    Repeated measurements of the composition of the Mars atmosphere from Curiosity Rover yield a (40)Ar/N2 ratio 1.7 times greater and the (40)Ar/(36)Ar ratio 1.6 times smaller than the Viking Lander values in 1976. The unexpected change in (40)Ar/N2 ratio probably results from different instrument characteristics although we cannot yet rule out some unknown atmospheric process. The new (40)Ar/(36)Ar ratio is more aligned with Martian meteoritic values. Besides Ar and N2 the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity Rover has measured the other principal components of the atmosphere and the isotopes. The resulting volume mixing ratios are: CO2 0.960(+/- 0.007); (40)Ar 0.0193(+/- 0.0001); N2 0.0189(+/- 0.0003); O2 1.45(+/- 0.09) x 10(exp -3); and CO 5.45(+/- 3.62) x 10(exp 4); and the isotopes (40)Ar/(36)Ar 1.9(+/- 0.3) x 10(exp 3), and delta (13)C and delta (18)O from CO2 that are both several tens of per mil more positive than the terrestrial averages. Heavy isotope enrichments support the hypothesis of large atmospheric loss. Moreover, the data are consistent with values measured in Martian meteorites, providing additional strong support for a Martian origin for these rocks.

  15. A compact led lidar system fitted for a mars rover – design and ground experiment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ong Prane Mariel B.

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available A compact LED lidar was constructed and fieldtested with the aim to observe the Mars’ dust devils. To be able to fit it on the Mars rover, a specialized Cassegrain telescope was designed to be within a 10 cm-cube, with a field of view of 3mrad. The transmitter has 385 nm LED light source with 3 cmϕ opening, 70mrad divergence, 0.75W (7.5nJ/10ns pulse power, and 500 kHz repetition frequency. The configuration of the optical system is biaxial to easily configure the overlap between their optical axes.

  16. The University Rover Challenge: A competition highlighting Human and Robotic partnerships for exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, Heather; Duncan, Andrew

    2016-07-01

    The University Rover Challenge began in 2006 with 4 American college teams competing, now in it's 10th year there are 63 teams from 12 countries registered to compete for the top rover designed to assist humans in the exploration of Mars. The Rovers compete aided by the University teams in four tasks (3 engineering and 1 science) in the Mars analog environment of the Utah Southern Desert in the United States. In this presentation we show amazing rover designs with videos demonstrating the incredible ingenuity, skill and determination of the world's most talented college students. We describe the purpose and results of each of the tasks: Astronaut Assistant, Rover Dexterity, Terrain maneuvering, and Science. We explain the evolution of the competition and common challenges faced by the robotic explorers

  17. Evidence for indigenous nitrogen in sedimentary and aeolian deposits from the Curiosity rover investigations at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, Jennifer C.; Sutter, Brad; Freissinet, Caroline; Navarro-González, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P.; Archer, P. Douglas; Buch, Arnaud; Brunner, Anna E.; Coll, Patrice; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Fairen, Alberto G.; Franz, Heather B.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Kashyap, Srishti; McAdam, Amy C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Steele, Andrew; Szopa, Cyril; Wray, James J.; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Conrad, Pamela G.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Kemppinen, Osku; Bridges, Nathan; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Minitti, Michelle; Cremers, David; Bell, James F.; Edgar, Lauren; Farmer, Jack; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; King, Penelope; Blank, Jennifer; Weigle, Gerald; Schmidt, Mariek; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Ehlmann, Bethany; Farley, Kenneth; Griffes, Jennifer; Grotzinger, John; Miller, Hayden; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Rice, Melissa; Siebach, Kirsten; Stack, Katie; Stolper, Edward; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Léveillé, Richard; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Steele, Andrew; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; - Torres, F. Javier Martín; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Squyres, Steven; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Fabre, Cécile; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Gupta, Sanjeev; Bish, David; Schieber, Juergen; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d’Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Maurice, Sylvestre; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Szopa, Cyril; Dromart, Gilles; Robert, François; Sautter, Violaine; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Mangold, Nicolas; Nachon, Marion; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Teinturier, Samuel; Cameron, James; Clegg, Sam; Cousin, Agnès; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Wiens, Roger C.; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Treiman, Allan; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Edgett, Kenneth; Fay, Donald; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; Malin, Michael; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Summons, Roger; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Dyar, M. Darby; Fassett, Caleb; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas; DesMarais, David; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William; Choi, David; Conrad, Pamela; Dworkin, Jason P.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Floyd, Melissa; Freissinet, Caroline; Garvin, James; Glavin, Daniel; Harpold, Daniel; Jones, Andrea; Mahaffy, Paul; Martin, David K.; McAdam, Amy; Pavlov, Alexander; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Stern, Jennifer; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Meyer, Michael; Posner, Arik; Voytek, Mary; Anderson, Robert C; Aubrey, Andrew; Beegle, Luther W.; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Brinza, David; Calef, Fred; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy A.; DeFlores, Lauren; Ehlmann, Bethany; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Hurowitz, Joel; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Archer, Paul Douglas; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Ming, Douglas; Morris, Richard V.; Niles, Paul; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Fisk, Martin; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Vaniman, David; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Yingst, Aileen; Lewis, Kevin; Leshin, Laurie; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Grant, John; Vicenzi, Edward; Wilson, Sharon A.; Bullock, Mark; Ehresmann, Bent; Hamilton, Victoria; Hassler, Donald; Peterson, Joseph; Rafkin, Scot; Zeitlin, Cary; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Clark, Benton; Wolff, Michael; McLennan, Scott; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Kim, Myung-Hee; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Dietrich, William; Kortmann, Onno; Palucis, Marisa; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Rubin, David; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Campbell, John L.; Gellert, Ralf; Perrett, Glynis; Pradler, Irina; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Rowland, Scott; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Savijärvi, Hannu; Boehm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Bridges, John C.; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Franz, Heather; Bower, Hannah; Brunner, Anna; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Atreya, Sushil; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Gordon, Suzanne; Newsom, Horton; Ollila, Ann; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Kah, Linda C.; Moersch, Jeffrey; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Kocurek, Gary; Hallet, Bernard; Sletten, Ronald; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Arvidson, Raymond; Fraeman, Abigail; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.

    2015-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has detected oxidized nitrogen-bearing compounds during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled sedimentary deposits within Gale crater. Total N concentrations ranged from 20 to 250 nmol N per sample. After subtraction of known N sources in SAM, our results support the equivalent of 110–300 ppm of nitrate in the Rocknest (RN) aeolian samples, and 70–260 and 330–1,100 ppm nitrate in John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB) mudstone deposits, respectively. Discovery of indigenous martian nitrogen in Mars surface materials has important implications for habitability and, specifically, for the potential evolution of a nitrogen cycle at some point in martian history. The detection of nitrate in both wind-drifted fines (RN) and in mudstone (JK, CB) is likely a result of N2 fixation to nitrate generated by thermal shock from impact or volcanic plume lightning on ancient Mars. Fixed nitrogen could have facilitated the development of a primitive nitrogen cycle on the surface of ancient Mars, potentially providing a biochemically accessible source of nitrogen. PMID:25831544

  18. Evidence for indigenous nitrogen in sedimentary and aeolian deposits from the Curiosity rover investigations at Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, Jennifer C; Sutter, Brad; Freissinet, Caroline; Navarro-González, Rafael; McKay, Christopher P; Archer, P Douglas; Buch, Arnaud; Brunner, Anna E; Coll, Patrice; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L; Fairen, Alberto G; Franz, Heather B; Glavin, Daniel P; Kashyap, Srishti; McAdam, Amy C; Ming, Douglas W; Steele, Andrew; Szopa, Cyril; Wray, James J; Martín-Torres, F Javier; Zorzano, Maria-Paz; Conrad, Pamela G; Mahaffy, Paul R

    2015-04-07

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover has detected oxidized nitrogen-bearing compounds during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled sedimentary deposits within Gale crater. Total N concentrations ranged from 20 to 250 nmol N per sample. After subtraction of known N sources in SAM, our results support the equivalent of 110-300 ppm of nitrate in the Rocknest (RN) aeolian samples, and 70-260 and 330-1,100 ppm nitrate in John Klein (JK) and Cumberland (CB) mudstone deposits, respectively. Discovery of indigenous martian nitrogen in Mars surface materials has important implications for habitability and, specifically, for the potential evolution of a nitrogen cycle at some point in martian history. The detection of nitrate in both wind-drifted fines (RN) and in mudstone (JK, CB) is likely a result of N2 fixation to nitrate generated by thermal shock from impact or volcanic plume lightning on ancient Mars. Fixed nitrogen could have facilitated the development of a primitive nitrogen cycle on the surface of ancient Mars, potentially providing a biochemically accessible source of nitrogen.

  19. Evolved Gas Analyses of Sedimentary Materials in Gale Crater, Mars: Results of the Curiosity Rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument from Yellowknife Bay to the Stimson Formation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutter, B.; McAdam, A. C.; Rampe, E. B.; Ming, D. W.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Stern, J. C.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Archer, P. D.

    2016-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover has analyzed 10 samples from Gale Crater. All SAM evolved gas analyses have yielded a multitude of volatiles (e.g, H2O, SO2, H2S, CO2, CO, NO, O2, HC1). The objectives of this work are to 1) Characterize the evolved H2O, SO2, CO2, and O2 gas traces of sediments analyzed by SAM through sol 1178, 2) Constrain sediment mineralogy/composition based on SAM evolved gas analysis (SAM-EGA), and 3) Discuss the implications of these results releative to understanding the geochemical history of Gale Crater.

  20. Development of Prototype Micro-Lidar using Narrow Linewidth Semiconductor Lasers for Mars Boundary Layer Wind and Dust Opacity Profiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Menzies, Robert T.; Cardell, Greg; Chiao, Meng; Esproles, Carlos; Forouhar, Siamak; Hemmati, Hamid; Tratt, David

    1999-01-01

    We have developed a compact Doppler lidar concept which utilizes recent developments in semiconductor diode laser technology in order to be considered suitable for wind and dust opacity profiling in the Mars lower atmosphere from a surface location. The current understanding of the Mars global climate and meteorology is very limited, with only sparse, near-surface data available from the Viking and Mars Pathfinder landers, supplemented by long-range remote sensing of the Martian atmosphere. The in situ measurements from a lander-based Doppler lidar would provide a unique dataset particularly for the boundary layer. The coupling of the radiative properties of the lower atmosphere with the dynamics involves the radiative absorption and scattering effects of the wind-driven dust. Variability in solar irradiance, on diurnal and seasonal time scales, drives vertical mixing and PBL (planetary boundary layer) thickness. The lidar data will also contribute to an understanding of the impact of wind-driven dust on lander and rover operations and lifetime through an improvement in our understanding of Mars climatology. In this paper we discuss the Mars lidar concept, and the development of a laboratory prototype for performance studies, using, local boundary layer and topographic target measurements.

  1. Chromatographic, Spectroscopic and Mass Spectrometric Approaches for Exploring the Habitability of Mars in 2012 and Beyond with the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul

    2012-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments on the Curiosity Rover of Mars Science Laboratory Mission is designed to provide chemical and isotopic analysis of organic and inorganic volatiles for both atmospheric and solid samples. The goals of the science investigation enabled by the gas chromatograph mass spectrometer and tunable laser spectrometer instruments of SAM are to work together with the other MSL investigations is to quantitatively assess habitability through a series of chemical and geological measurements. We describe the multi-column gas chromatograph system employed on SAM and the approach to extraction and analysis of organic compounds that might be preserved in ancient martian rocks.

  2. Microbial Ecology of a Crewed Rover Traverse in the Arctic: Low Microbial Dispersal and Implications for Planetary Protection on Human Mars Missions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schuerger, Andrew C; Lee, Pascal

    2015-06-01

    Between April 2009 and July 2011, the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) led the Northwest Passage Drive Expedition (NWPDX), a multi-staged long-distance crewed rover traverse along the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. In April 2009, the HMP Okarian rover was driven 496 km over sea ice along the Northwest Passage, from Kugluktuk to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Canada. During the traverse, crew members collected samples from within the rover and from undisturbed snow-covered surfaces around the rover at three locations. The rover samples and snow samples were stored at subzero conditions (-20°C to -1°C) until processed for microbial diversity in labs at the NASA Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The objective was to determine the extent of microbial dispersal away from the rover and onto undisturbed snow. Interior surfaces of the rover were found to be associated with a wide range of bacteria (69 unique taxa) and fungi (16 unique taxa). In contrast, snow samples from the upwind, downwind, uptrack, and downtrack sample sites exterior to the rover were negative for both bacteria and fungi except for two colony-forming units (cfus) recovered from one downwind (1 cfu; site A4) and one uptrack (1 cfu; site B6) sample location. The fungus, Aspergillus fumigatus (GenBank JX517279), and closely related bacteria in the genus Brevibacillus were recovered from both snow (B. agri, GenBank JX517278) and interior rover surfaces. However, it is unknown whether the microorganisms were deposited onto snow surfaces at the time of sample collection (i.e., from the clothing or skin of the human operator) or via airborne dispersal from the rover during the 12-18 h layovers at the sites prior to collection. Results support the conclusion that a crewed rover traveling over previously undisturbed terrain may not significantly contaminate the local terrain via airborne dispersal of propagules from the vehicle.

  3. The new Athena alpha particle X-ray spectrometer for the Mars Exploration Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rieder, R.; Gellert, R.; Brückner, J.; Klingelhöfer, G.; Dreibus, G.; Yen, A.; Squyres, S. W.

    2003-11-01

    The new alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS) is part of the Athena payload of the two Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). The APXS sensor head is attached to the turret of the instrument deployment device (IDD) of the rover. The APXS is a very light-weight instrument for determining the major and minor elemental composition of Martian soils, rocks, and other geological materials at the MER landing sites. The sensor head has simply to be docked by the IDD on the surface of the selected sample. X-ray radiation, excited by alpha particles and X rays of the radioactive sources, is recorded by a high-resolution X-ray detector. The X-ray spectra show elements starting from sodium up to yttrium, depending on their concentrations. The backscattered alpha spectra, measured by a ring of detectors, provide additional data on carbon and oxygen. By means of a proper calibration, the elemental concentrations are derived. Together with data from the two other Athena instruments mounted on the IDD, the samples under investigation can be fully characterized. Key APXS objectives are the determination of the chemistry of crustal rocks and soils and the examination of water-related deposits, sediments, or evaporates. Using the rock abrasion tool attached to the IDD, issues of weathering can be addressed by measuring natural and abraded surfaces of rocks.

  4. 'Endurance' Courtesy of Mars Express

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity used its panoramic camera to capture this false-color image of the interior of 'Endurance Crater' on the rover's 188th martian day (Aug. 4, 2004). The image data were relayed to Earth by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter. The image was generated from separate frames using the cameras 750-, 530- and 480-nanometer filters.

  5. Mars Science Laboratory Mission and Science Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grotzinger, John P.; Crisp, Joy; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Anderson, Robert C.; Baker, Charles J.; Barry, Robert; Blake, David F.; Conrad, Pamela; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Ferdowski, Bobak; Gellert, Ralf; Gilbert, John B.; Golombek, Matt; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hassler, Donald M.; Jandura, Louise; Litvak, Maxim; Mahaffy, Paul; Maki, Justin; Meyer, Michael; Malin, Michael C.; Mitrofanov, Igor; Simmonds, John J.; Vaniman, David; Welch, Richard V.; Wiens, Roger C.

    2012-09-01

    -bearing strata, separated by an unconformity from overlying likely anhydrous strata; the landing ellipse is characterized by a mixture of alluvial fan and high thermal inertia/high albedo stratified deposits; and a number of stratigraphically/geomorphically distinct fluvial features. Samples of the crater wall and rim rock, and more recent to currently active surface materials also may be studied. Gale has a well-defined regional context and strong evidence for a progression through multiple potentially habitable environments. These environments are represented by a stratigraphic record of extraordinary extent, and insure preservation of a rich record of the environmental history of early Mars. The interior mountain of Gale Crater has been informally designated at Mount Sharp, in honor of the pioneering planetary scientist Robert Sharp. The major subsystems of the MSL Project consist of a single rover (with science payload), a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator, an Earth-Mars cruise stage, an entry, descent, and landing system, a launch vehicle, and the mission operations and ground data systems. The primary communication path for downlink is relay through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The primary path for uplink to the rover is Direct-from-Earth. The secondary paths for downlink are Direct-to-Earth and relay through the Mars Odyssey orbiter. Curiosity is a scaled version of the 6-wheel drive, 4-wheel steering, rocker bogie system from the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit and Opportunity and the Mars Pathfinder Sojourner. Like Spirit and Opportunity, Curiosity offers three primary modes of navigation: blind-drive, visual odometry, and visual odometry with hazard avoidance. Creation of terrain maps based on HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) and other remote sensing data were used to conduct simulated driving with Curiosity in these various modes, and allowed selection of the Gale crater landing site which requires climbing the base of a

  6. Risk-Aware Planetary Rover Operation: Autonomous Terrain Classification and Path Planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ono, Masahiro; Fuchs, Thoams J.; Steffy, Amanda; Maimone, Mark; Yen, Jeng

    2015-01-01

    Identifying and avoiding terrain hazards (e.g., soft soil and pointy embedded rocks) are crucial for the safety of planetary rovers. This paper presents a newly developed groundbased Mars rover operation tool that mitigates risks from terrain by automatically identifying hazards on the terrain, evaluating their risks, and suggesting operators safe paths options that avoids potential risks while achieving specified goals. The tool will bring benefits to rover operations by reducing operation cost, by reducing cognitive load of rover operators, by preventing human errors, and most importantly, by significantly reducing the risk of the loss of rovers.

  7. Propulsive maneuver design for the Mars Exploration Rover mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Potts, Christopher L.; Kangas, Julie A.; Raofi, Behzad

    2006-01-01

    Starting from approximately 150 candidate Martian landing sites, two distinct sites have been selected for further investigation by sophisticated rovers. The two rovers, named 'Spirit' and 'Opportunity', begin the surface mission respectively to Gusec Crater and Meridiani Planum in January 2004. the rovers are essentially robotic geologists, sent on a mission to research for evidence in the rocks and soil pertaining to the historical presence of water and the ability to possibly sustain life. Before this scientific search can commence, precise trajectory targeting and control is necessary to achieve the entry requirements for the selected landing sites within the constraints of the flight system. The maneuver design challenge is to meet or exceed these requirements while maintaining the necessary design flexibility to accommodate additional project concerns. Opportunities to improve performance and reduce risk based on trajectory control characteristics are also evaluated.

  8. Interactive 3D Mars Visualization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Powell, Mark W.

    2012-01-01

    The Interactive 3D Mars Visualization system provides high-performance, immersive visualization of satellite and surface vehicle imagery of Mars. The software can be used in mission operations to provide the most accurate position information for the Mars rovers to date. When integrated into the mission data pipeline, this system allows mission planners to view the location of the rover on Mars to 0.01-meter accuracy with respect to satellite imagery, with dynamic updates to incorporate the latest position information. Given this information so early in the planning process, rover drivers are able to plan more accurate drive activities for the rover than ever before, increasing the execution of science activities significantly. Scientifically, this 3D mapping information puts all of the science analyses to date into geologic context on a daily basis instead of weeks or months, as was the norm prior to this contribution. This allows the science planners to judge the efficacy of their previously executed science observations much more efficiently, and achieve greater science return as a result. The Interactive 3D Mars surface view is a Mars terrain browsing software interface that encompasses the entire region of exploration for a Mars surface exploration mission. The view is interactive, allowing the user to pan in any direction by clicking and dragging, or to zoom in or out by scrolling the mouse or touchpad. This set currently includes tools for selecting a point of interest, and a ruler tool for displaying the distance between and positions of two points of interest. The mapping information can be harvested and shared through ubiquitous online mapping tools like Google Mars, NASA WorldWind, and Worldwide Telescope.

  9. Creating an Immersive Mars Experience Using Unity3D

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miles, Sarah

    2011-01-01

    Between the two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, NASA has collected over 280,000 images while studying the Martian surface. This number will continue to grow, with Opportunity continuing to send images and with another rover, Curiosity, launching soon. Using data collected by and for these Mars rovers, I am contributing to the creation of virtual experiences that will expose the general public to Mars. These experiences not only work to increase public knowledge, but they attempt to do so in an engaging manner more conducive to knowledge retention by letting others view Mars through the rovers' eyes. My contributions include supporting image viewing (for example, allowing users to click on panoramic images of the Martian surface to access closer range photos) as well as enabling tagging of points of interest. By creating a more interactive way of viewing the information we have about Mars, we are not just educating the public about a neighboring planet. We are showing the importance of doing such research.

  10. 'Mars-shine'

    Science.gov (United States)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] 'Mars-shine' Composite NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit continues to take advantage of favorable solar power conditions to conduct occasional nighttime astronomical observations from the summit region of 'Husband Hill.' Spirit has been observing the martian moons Phobos and Deimos to learn more about their orbits and surface properties. This has included observing eclipses. On Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's orbit takes it exactly between the Sun and Earth, casting parts of Earth into shadow. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth is exactly between the Sun and the Moon, casting the Moon into shadow and often giving it a ghostly orange-reddish color. This color is created by sunlight reflected through Earth's atmosphere into the shadowed region. The primary difference between terrestrial and martian eclipses is that Mars' moons are too small to completely block the Sun from view during solar eclipses. Recently, Spirit observed a 'lunar' eclipse on Mars. Phobos, the larger of the two martian moons, was photographed while slipping into the shadow of Mars. Jim Bell, the astronomer in charge of the rover's panoramic camera (Pancam), suggested calling it a 'Phobal' eclipse rather than a lunar eclipse as a way of identifying which of the dozens of moons in our solar system was being cast into shadow. With the help of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's navigation team, the Pancam team planned instructions to Spirit for acquiring the views shown here of Phobos as it entered into a lunar eclipse on the evening of the rover's 639th martian day, or sol (Oct. 20, 2005) on Mars. This image is a time-lapse composite of eight Pancam images of Phobos moving across the martian sky. The entire eclipse lasted more than 26 minutes, but Spirit was able to observe only in the first 15 minutes. During the time closest to the shadow crossing, Spirit's cameras were programmed to take images every 10 seconds. In the first three

  11. Mars Exploration Rover Pancam Photometric Data QUBs: Definition and Example Uses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soderblom, J. M.; Bell, J. F.; Arvidson, R. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Johnson, M. J.; Seelos, F. P.

    2004-12-01

    Pancam multi-spectral observations acquired at the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and Opportunity landing sites are being assembled into a multi-layer format know as a QUB. For any given pixel in a Pancam image the QUB will contain values for the radiance factor, incidence (i), emission (e), and phase (g) angles, X, Y, and Z distance in a rover-based coordinate system, disparity in number of pixels between the left and right eye images and range data. Good range data is required for the generation of a Pancam QUB. The radiance factor (I/F, where I is the measured scene radiance on sensor and π F is the incident solar irradiance) is calculated using a combination of preflight calibration data and information obtained from near-simultaneous observations of an onboard reflectance calibration target. The range, X, Y, Z and disparity data, and i, e, and g are calculated using routines developed by JPL's MIPL and Cornell. When possible, these data have been interpolated to maximize parameter coverage; a map of non-interpolated data is also included in each QUB. QUBs should prove very useful in photometric studies (e.g., Johnson et al.; Seelos, et al., this conference), detailed spectral analyses (e.g., Bell et al., this conference), and detailed topographic/DTM studies. Here we present two examples of the utilization of the information contained in Pancam QUBs. In one example we remove the photometric variability from spectra collected from multiple facets of a rock using knowledge of i, e, g and derived photometric functions. This is necessary if one wishes to conduct comparative studies of observations acquired under varying geometries and lighting conditions. In another example we present an analysis using the discrete ordinate multiple scattering radiative transfer code DISORT where we separate the atmosphere and surface contributions of the surface reflectance.

  12. Use of Geochemistry Data Collected by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in Gusev Crater to Teach Geomorphic Zonation through Principal Components Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigue, Christine M.

    2011-01-01

    This paper presents a laboratory exercise used to teach principal components analysis (PCA) as a means of surface zonation. The lab was built around abundance data for 16 oxides and elements collected by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit in Gusev Crater between Sol 14 and Sol 470. Students used PCA to reduce 15 of these into 3 components, which,…

  13. The Challenges in Applying Magnetroesistive Sensors on the 'Curiosity' Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Michael R.

    2013-01-01

    Magnetoresistive Sensors were selected for use on the motor encoders throughout the Curiosity Rover for motor position feedback devices. The Rover contains 28 acuators with a corresponding number of encoder assemblies. The environment on Mars provides opportunities for challenges to any hardware design. The encoder assemblies presented several barriers that had to be vaulted in order to say the rover was ready to fly. The environment and encoder specific design features provided challenges that had to be solved in time to fly.

  14. Building Virtual Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abercrombie, S. P.; Menzies, A.; Goddard, C.

    2017-12-01

    Virtual and augmented reality enable scientists to visualize environments that are very difficult, or even impossible to visit, such as the surface of Mars. A useful immersive visualization begins with a high quality reconstruction of the environment under study. This presentation will discuss a photogrammetry pipeline developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to reconstruct 3D models of the surface of Mars using stereo images sent back to Earth by the Curiosity Mars rover. The resulting models are used to support a virtual reality tool (OnSight) that allows scientists and engineers to visualize the surface of Mars as if they were standing on the red planet. Images of Mars present challenges to existing scene reconstruction solutions. Surface images of Mars are sparse with minimal overlap, and are often taken from extremely different viewpoints. In addition, the specialized cameras used by Mars rovers are significantly different than consumer cameras, and GPS localization data is not available on Mars. This presentation will discuss scene reconstruction with an emphasis on coping with limited input data, and on creating models suitable for rendering in virtual reality at high frame rate.

  15. Pebbles, Cobbles, and Sockets

    Science.gov (United States)

    1997-01-01

    This Rover image of 'Shark' (upper left center), 'Half Dome' (upper right), and a small rock (right foreground) reveal textures and structures not visible in lander camera images. These rocks are interpreted as conglomerates because their surfaces have rounded protrusions up to several centimeters in size. It is suggested that the protrusions are pebbles and granules.Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  16. Mars Array Technology Experiment Developed to Test Solar Arrays on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Landis, Geoffrey A.

    2001-01-01

    Solar arrays will be the power supply for future missions to the planet Mars, including landers, rovers, and eventually human missions to explore the Martian surface. Until Mars Pathfinder landed in July 1997, no solar array had been used on the surface. The MATE package is intended to measure the solar energy reaching the surface, characterize the Martian environment to gather the baseline information required for designing power systems for long-duration missions, and to quantify the performance and degradation of advanced solar cells on the Martian surface. To measure the properties of sunlight reaching the Martian surface, MATE incorporates two radiometers and a visible/NIR spectrometer. The radiometers consist of multiple thermocouple junctions using thin-film technology. These devices generate a voltage proportional to the solar intensity. One radiometer measures the global broadband solar intensity, including both the direct and scattered sunlight, with a field of view of approximately 130. The second radiometer incorporates a slit to measure the direct (unscattered) intensity radiation. The direct radiometer can only be read once per day, with the Sun passing over the slit. The spectrometer measures the global solar spectrum with two 256-element photodiode arrays, one Si sensitive in the visible range (300 to 1100 nm), and a second InGaAs sensitive to the near infrared (900 to 1700 nm). This range covers 86 percent of the total energy from the Sun, with approximately 5-nm resolution. Each photodiode array has its own fiber-optic feed and grating. Although the purpose of the MATE is to gather data useful in designing solar arrays for Mars surface power systems, the radiometer and spectrometer measurements are expected to also provide important scientific data for characterizing the properties of suspended atmospheric dust. In addition to measuring the solar environment of Mars, MATE will measure the performance of five different individual solar cell types

  17. School libraries Pathfinders

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shideh Taleban

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available School library represents one of the important locations suited for offering reference services. The skill set necessary in order to use information resources, is called information literacy. When discussing information literacy and means of enhancing it, the first thing that comes to mind is the classroom for it is in schools that the foundation for learning skills is laid. Pathfinders have been used by libraries and librarians for guiding patrons to the required sources and answering their research questions since 1970’s. It is far different from a bibliography in as much as it does not necessarily include a complete list of available resources on a given topic. Nevertheless it provides sufficient basic resources for research for the patrons. Nowadays pathfinders are prepared by teacher-librarian or with the help of teachers at school so as to assist students in searching their prescribed assignments. The present paper offers definition of pathfinder, creation of pathfinders in schools, type of pathfinders, pathfinders characteristics, pathfinder elements as well as how to design pathfinders for children and teenagers.

  18. Preliminary Geological Map of the Peace Vallis Fan Integrated with In Situ Mosaics From the Curiosity Rover, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sumner, D. Y.; Palucis, M.; Dietrich, B.; Calef, F.; Stack, K. M.; Ehlmann, B.; Bridges, J.; Dromart, J.; Eigenbrode, J.; Farmer, J.; hide

    2013-01-01

    A geomorphically defined alluvial fan extends from Peace Vallis on the NW wall of Gale Crater, Mars into the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover landing ellipse. Prior to landing, the MSL team mapped the ellipse and surrounding areas, including the Peace Vallis fan. Map relationships suggest that bedded rocks east of the landing site are likely associated with the fan, which led to the decision to send Curiosity east. Curiosity's mast camera (Mastcam) color images are being used to refine local map relationships. Results from regional mapping and the first 100 sols of the mission demonstrate that the area has a rich geological history. Understanding this history will be critical for assessing ancient habitability and potential organic matter preservation at Gale Crater.

  19. The ChemCam Instrument Suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover: Body Unit and Combined System Tests

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wiens, Roger C.; Barraclough, Bruce; Barkley, Walter C.; Bender, Steve; Bernardin, John; Bultman, Nathan; Clanton, Robert C.; Clegg, Samuel; Delapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Enemark, Don; Flores, Mike; Hale, Thomas; Lanza, Nina; Lasue, Jeremie; Latino, Joseph; Little, Cynthia; Morrison, Leland; Nelson, Tony; Romero, Frank; Salazar, Steven; Stiglich, Ralph; Storms, Steven; Trujillo, Tanner; Ulibarri, Mike; Vaniman, David; Whitaker, Robert; Witt, James; Maurice, Sylvestre; Bouye, Marc; Cousin, Agnes; Cros, Alain; D'Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Kouach, Driss; Lasue, Jeremie; Pares, Laurent; Poitrasson, Franck; Striebig, Nicolas; Thocaven, Jean-Jacques; Saccoccio, Muriel; Perez, Rene; Bell, James F. III; Hays, Charles; Blaney, Diana; DeFlores, Lauren; Elliott, Tom; Kan, Ed; Limonadi, Daniel; Lindensmith, Chris; Miller, Ed; Reiter, Joseph W.; Roberts, Tom; Simmonds, John J.; Warner, Noah; Blank, Jennifer; Bridges, Nathan; Cais, Phillippe; Clark, Benton; Cremers, David; Dyar, M. Darby; Fabre, Cecile; Herkenhoff, Ken; Kirkland, Laurel; Landis, David; Langevin, Yves; Lanza, Nina; Newsom, Horton; Ollila, Ann; LaRocca, Frank; Ott, Melanie; Mangold, Nicolas; Manhes, Gerard; Mauchien, Patrick; Blank, Jennifer; McKay, Christopher; Mooney, Joe; Provost, Cheryl; Morris, Richard V.; Sautter, Violaine; Sautter, Violaine; Waterbury, Rob; Wong-Swanson, Belinda; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Vaniman, David

    2012-01-01

    The ChemCam instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover Curiosity provides remote compositional information using the first laser-induced breakdown spectrometer (LIBS) on a planetary mission, and provides sample texture and morphology data using a remote micro-imager (RMI). Overall, ChemCam supports MSL with five capabilities: remote classification of rock and soil characteristics; quantitative elemental compositions including light elements like hydrogen and some elements to which LIBS is uniquely sensitive (e.g., Li, Be, Rb, Sr, Ba); remote removal of surface dust and depth profiling through surface coatings; context imaging; and passive spectroscopy over the 240-905 nm range. ChemCam is built in two sections: The mast unit, consisting of a laser, telescope, RMI, and associated electronics, resides on the rover's mast, and is described in a companion paper. ChemCam's body unit, which is mounted in the body of the rover, comprises an optical de-multiplexer, three spectrometers, detectors, their coolers, and associated electronics and data handling logic. Additional instrument components include a 6 m optical fiber which transfers the LIBS light from the telescope to the body unit, and a set of onboard calibration targets. ChemCam was integrated and tested at Los Alamos National Laboratory where it also underwent LIBS calibration with 69 geological standards prior to integration with the rover. Post-integration testing used coordinated mast and instrument commands, including LIBS line scans on rock targets during system-level thermal-vacuum tests. In this paper we describe the body unit, optical fiber, and calibration targets, and the assembly, testing, and verification of the instrument prior to launch. (authors)

  20. Autonomously Generating Operations Sequences for a Mars Rover Using Artificial Intelligence-Based Planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sherwood, R.; Mutz, D.; Estlin, T.; Chien, S.; Backes, P.; Norris, J.; Tran, D.; Cooper, B.; Rabideau, G.; Mishkin, A.; Maxwell, S.

    2001-07-01

    This article discusses a proof-of-concept prototype for ground-based automatic generation of validated rover command sequences from high-level science and engineering activities. This prototype is based on ASPEN, the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment. This artificial intelligence (AI)-based planning and scheduling system will automatically generate a command sequence that will execute within resource constraints and satisfy flight rules. An automated planning and scheduling system encodes rover design knowledge and uses search and reasoning techniques to automatically generate low-level command sequences while respecting rover operability constraints, science and engineering preferences, environmental predictions, and also adhering to hard temporal constraints. This prototype planning system has been field-tested using the Rocky 7 rover at JPL and will be field-tested on more complex rovers to prove its effectiveness before transferring the technology to flight operations for an upcoming NASA mission. Enabling goal-driven commanding of planetary rovers greatly reduces the requirements for highly skilled rover engineering personnel. This in turn greatly reduces mission operations costs. In addition, goal-driven commanding permits a faster response to changes in rover state (e.g., faults) or science discoveries by removing the time-consuming manual sequence validation process, allowing rapid "what-if" analyses, and thus reducing overall cycle times.

  1. Russian contribution to the ExoMars project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zelenyi, L.; Korablev, O.; Rodionov, D.; Khartov, V.; Martynov, M.; Lukyanchikov, A.

    2014-04-01

    The ExoMars ESA-led mission is dedicated to study of Mars and in particular its habitability. It consists of two launches, one planned in 2016 to deliver to Mars a telecommunication and science orbiter Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and a demonstrator of entry into the atmosphere and landing on the Mars surface, Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM). In 2018 a rover with drilling capability will be delivered to the surface of Mars. Since 2012 this mission, previously planned in cooperation with NASA is being developed in cooperation with Roscosmos. Both launches are planned with Proton-Breeze. In 2016 Russia contributes a significant part of the TGO science payload. In 2018 the landing will be provided by a joint effort capitalizing on the EDM technology. Russia contributes few science instruments for the rover, and leads the development of a long-living geophysical platform on the surface of Mars. Russian science instruments for TGO, the Atmospheric Chemistry Suite (ACS) and the Fine Resolution Epithermal Neutrons Detector (FREND) constituent a half of its scientific payload, European instrument being NOMAD for mapping and detection of trace species, and CASSIS camera for high-resolution mapping of target areas. The ACS package consists of three spectrometers covering spectral range from 0.7 to 17 μm with spectral resolving power reaching 50000. It is dedicated to studies of the composition of the Martian atmosphere and the Martian climate. FREND is a neutron detector with a collimation module, which significantly narrows the field of view of the instrument, allowing to create higher resolution maps of hydrogen-abundant regions on Mars. The spatial resolution of FREND will be ~40 km from the 400- km TGO orbit that is ~10 times better than HEND on Mars-Odyssey. Additionally, FREND includes a dosimeter module for monitoring radiation levels in orbit around Mars. In the 2018 mission, Russia takes the major responsibility of the descent module. The primary

  2. First Grinding of a Rock on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    The round, shallow depression in this image resulted from history's first grinding of a rock on Mars. The rock abrasion tool on NASA's Spirit rover ground off the surface of a patch 45.5 millimeters (1.8 inches) in diameter on a rock called Adirondack during Spirit's 34th sol on Mars, Feb. 6, 2004. The hole is 2.65 millimeters (0.1 inch) deep, exposing fresh interior material of the rock for close inspection with the rover's microscopic imager and two spectrometers on the robotic arm. This image was taken by Spirit's panoramic camera, providing a quick visual check of the success of the grinding. The rock abrasion tools on both Mars Exploration Rovers were supplied by Honeybee Robotics, New York, N.Y.

  3. Cerebellum Augmented Rover Development

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, Matthew

    2005-01-01

    Bio-Inspired Technologies and Systems (BITS) are a very natural result of thinking about Nature's way of solving problems. Knowledge of animal behaviors an be used in developing robotic behaviors intended for planetary exploration. This is the expertise of the JFL BITS Group and has served as a philosophical model for NMSU RioRobolab. Navigation is a vital function for any autonomous system. Systems must have the ability to determine a safe path between their current location and some target location. The MER mission, as well as other JPL rover missions, uses a method known as dead-reckoning to determine position information. Dead-reckoning uses wheel encoders to sense the wheel's rotation. In a sandy environment such as Mars, this method is highly inaccurate because the wheels will slip in the sand. Improving positioning error will allow the speed of an autonomous navigating rover to be greatly increased. Therefore, local navigation based upon landmark tracking is desirable in planetary exploration. The BITS Group is developing navigation technology based upon landmark tracking. Integration of the current rover architecture with a cerebellar neural network tracking algorithm will demonstrate that this approach to navigation is feasible and should be implemented in future rover and spacecraft missions.

  4. Major accomplishments of America's nuclear rocket program (ROVER)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Finseth, J.L.

    1991-01-01

    The United States embarked on a program to develop nuclear rocket engines in 1955. This program was known as project Rover. Initially nuclear rockets were considered as a potential backup for intercontinental ballistic missile propulsion but later proposed applications included both a lunar second stage as well as use in manned-Mars flights. Under the Rover program, 19 different reactors were built and tested during the period of 1959-1969. Additionally, several cold flow (non-fuelled) reactors were tested as well as a nuclear fuels test cell. The Rover program was terminated in 1973, due to budget constraints and an evolving political climate. The Rover program would have led to the development of a flight engine had the program continued through a logical continuation. The Rover program was responsible for a number of technological achievements. The successful operation of nuclear rocket engines on a system level represents the pinnacle of accomplishment. This paper will discuss the engine test program as well as several subsystems

  5. Immersive environment technologies for planetary exploration with applications for mixed reality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wright, J.; Hartman, F.; Cooper, B.

    2002-01-01

    Immersive environments are successfully being used to support mission operations at JPL. This technology contributed to the Mars Pathfinder Mission in planning sorties for the Sojourner rover. Results and operational experiences with these tools are being incorporated into the development of the second generation of mission planning tools.

  6. The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station Ground Temperature Sensor: A Pyrometer for Measuring Ground Temperature on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miguel Ramos

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available We describe the parameters that drive the design and modeling of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS Ground Temperature Sensor (GTS, an instrument aboard NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, and report preliminary test results. REMS GTS is a lightweight, low-power, and low cost pyrometer for measuring the Martian surface kinematic temperature. The sensor’s main feature is its innovative design, based on a simple mechanical structure with no moving parts. It includes an in-flight calibration system that permits sensor recalibration when sensor sensitivity has been degraded by deposition of dust over the optics. This paper provides the first results of a GTS engineering model working in a Martian-like, extreme environment.

  7. MISSION PROFILE AND DESIGN CHALLENGES FOR MARS LANDING EXPLORATION

    OpenAIRE

    J. Dong; Z. Sun; W. Rao; Y. Jia; L. Meng; C. Wang; B. Chen

    2017-01-01

    An orbiter and a descent module will be delivered to Mars in the Chinese first Mars exploration mission. The descent module is composed of a landing platform and a rover. The module will be released into the atmosphere by the orbiter and make a controlled landing on Martian surface. After landing, the rover will egress from the platform to start its science mission. The rover payloads mainly include the subsurface radar, terrain camera, multispectral camera, magnetometer, anemometer to achiev...

  8. What We Might Know About Gusev Crater if the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Mission were Coupled with a Mars Sample Return Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Richard V.

    2008-01-01

    The science instruments on the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit have provided an enormous amount of chemical and mineralogical data during more than 1450 sols of exploration at Gusev crater. The Moessbauer (MB) instrument identified 10 Fe-bearing phases at Gusev Crater: olivine, pyroxene, ilmenite, chromite, and magnetite as primary igneous phases and nanophase ferric oxide (npOx), goethite, hematite, a ferric sulfate, and pyrite/marcusite as secondary phases. The Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) identified some of these Fe-bearing phases (olivine and pyroxene), non- Fe-bearing phases (e.g., feldspar), and an amorphous high-SiO2 phase near Home Plate. Chemical data from the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) provided the framework for rock classification, chemical weathering/alteration, and mineralogical constraints. APXS-based mineralogical constraints include normative calculations (with Fe(3+)/FeT from MB), elemental associations, and stoichiometry (e.g., 90% SiO2 implicates opalline silica). If Spirit had cached a set of representative samples and if those samples were returned to the Earth for laboratory analysis, what value is added by Mars Sample return (MSR) over and above the mineralogical and chemical data provided by MER?

  9. Nuclear thermal rocket workshop reference system Rover/NERVA

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Borowski, S.K.

    1991-01-01

    The Rover/NERVA engine system is to be used as a reference, against which each of the other concepts presented in the workshop will be compared. The following topics are reviewed: the operational characteristics of the nuclear thermal rocket (NTR); the accomplishments of the Rover/NERVA programs; and performance characteristics of the NERVA-type systems for both Mars and lunar mission applications. Also, the issues of ground testing, NTR safety, NASA's nuclear propulsion project plans, and NTR development cost estimates are briefly discussed

  10. Visualisation of very high resolution Martian topographic data and its application on landing site selection and rover route navigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, J.; Lin, S.; Hong, J.; Park, D.; Yoon, S.; Kim, Y.

    2010-12-01

    High resolution satellite imagery acquired from orbiters are able to provide detailed topographic information and therefore are recognised as an important tool for investigating planetary and terrestrial topography. The heritage of in-orbit high resolution imaging technology is now implemented in a series of Martian Missions, such as HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) and CTX (Context Camera) onboard the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter). In order to fully utilise the data derived from image systems carried on various Mars orbiters, the generalised algorithms of image processing and photogrammetric Mars DTM extraction have been developed and implemented by Kim and Muller (2009), in which non-rigorous sensor model and hierarchical geomatics control were employed. Due to the successful “from medium to high” control strategy performed during processing, stable horizontal and vertical photogrammetric accuracy of resultant Mars DTM was achievable when compared with MOLA (Mars Obiter Laser Altimeter) DTM. Recently, the algorithms developed in Kim and Muller (2009) were further updated by employing advanced image matcher and improved sensor model. As the photogrammetric qualities of the updated topographic products are verified and the spatial solution can be up to sub-meter scale, they are of great value to be exploited for Martian rover landing site selection and rover route navigation. To this purpose, the DTMs and ortho-rectified imagery obtained from CTX and HiRISE covering potential future rovers and existing MER (Mars Exploration Rover) landing sites were firstly processed. For landing site selection, the engineering constraints such as slope and surface roughness were computed from DTMs. In addition, the combination of virtual topography and the estimated rover location was able to produce a sophisticated environment simulation of rover’s landing site. Regarding the rover navigation, the orbital DTMs and the images taken from cameras

  11. A Study of Soil and Duricrust Models for Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, J. L.

    2001-03-01

    Analysis of soil and duricrust formation mechanisms on Mars. Soil analog mixtures have been prepared, characterized and tested through wet/dry cycling experiments; results are compared with Mars Pathfinder soil data (spectral, chemical and magnetic).

  12. Chemical variations in Yellowknife Bay formation sedimentary rocks analyzed by ChemCam on board the Curiosity rover on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mangold, Nicolas; Forni, Olivier; Dromart, G.; Stack, K.M.; Wiens, Roger C.; Gasnault, Olivier; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Nachon, Marion; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Anderson, Ryan B.; Barraclough, Bruce; Bell, J.F.; Berger, G.; Blaney, D.L.; Bridges, J.C.; Calef, F.; Clark, Brian R.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Cousin, Agnes; Edgar, L.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fabre, Cecile; Fisk, M.; Grotzinger, John P.; Gupta, S.C.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Johnson, J. R.; Kah, Linda C.; Lanza, Nina L.; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, S.; Lewin, Eric; Malin, Michael; McLennan, Scott M.; Maurice, S.; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Milliken, Ralph E.; Newsome, H.L.; Ollila, A.; Rowland, Scott K.; Sautter, Violaine; Schmidt, M.E.; Schroder, S.; D'Uston, C.; Vaniman, Dave; Williams, R.A.

    2015-01-01

    The Yellowknife Bay formation represents a ~5 m thick stratigraphic section of lithified fluvial and lacustrine sediments analyzed by the Curiosity rover in Gale crater, Mars. Previous works have mainly focused on the mudstones that were drilled by the rover at two locations. The present study focuses on the sedimentary rocks stratigraphically above the mudstones by studying their chemical variations in parallel with rock textures. Results show that differences in composition correlate with textures and both manifest subtle but significant variations through the stratigraphic column. Though the chemistry of the sediments does not vary much in the lower part of the stratigraphy, the variations in alkali elements indicate variations in the source material and/or physical sorting, as shown by the identification of alkali feldspars. The sandstones contain similar relative proportions of hydrogen to the mudstones below, suggesting the presence of hydrous minerals that may have contributed to their cementation. Slight variations in magnesium correlate with changes in textures suggesting that diagenesis through cementation and dissolution modified the initial rock composition and texture simultaneously. The upper part of the stratigraphy (~1 m thick) displays rocks with different compositions suggesting a strong change in the depositional system. The presence of float rocks with similar compositions found along the rover traverse suggests that some of these outcrops extend further away in the nearby hummocky plains.

  13. Martian Surface Mineralogy from Rovers with Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Richard V.

    2016-01-01

    Beginning in 2004, NASA has landed three well-instrumented rovers on the equatorial martian surface. The Spirit rover landed in Gusev crater in early January, 2004, and the Opportunity rover landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridian Planum 21 days later. The Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater to the west of Gusev crater in August, 2012. Both Opportunity and Curiosity are currently operational. The twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity carried Mossbauer spectrometers to determine the oxidation state of iron and its mineralogical composition. The Curiosity rover has an X-ray diffraction instrument for identification and quantification of crystalline materials including clay minerals. Instrument suites on all three rovers are capable of distinguishing primary rock-forming minerals like olivine, pyroxene and magnetite and products of aqueous alteration in including amorphous iron oxides, hematite, goethite, sulfates, and clay minerals. The oxidation state of iron ranges from that typical for unweathered rocks and soils to nearly completely oxidized (weathered) rocks and soils as products of aqueous and acid-sulfate alteration. The in situ rover mineralogy also serves as ground-truth for orbital observations, and orbital mineralogical inferences are used for evaluating and planning rover exploration.

  14. A Modular Re-configurable Rover System

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bouloubasis, A.; McKee, G.; Active Robotics Lab

    design allows the MTR to lift, lower, roll or tilt its body. It also provides the ability to lift any of the legs by nearly 300mm, enhancing internal re-configurability and therefore rough terrain stability off the robotic vehicle. A modular software and control architecture will be used so that integration to, and operation through the MTR, of different Packs can be demonstrated. An on-board high-level controller [4] will communicate with a small network of micro-controllers through an RS485 bus. Additional processing power could be obtained through a Pack with equivalent or higher computational capabilities. 1 The nature of the system offers many opportunities for behavior based control. The control system must accommodate not only rover based behaviors like obstacle avoidance and vehicle stabilization, but also any additional behaviors that different Packs may introduce. The Ego-Behavior Architecture (EBA) [5] comprises a number of behaviors which operate autonomously and independent of each other. This facilitates the design and suits the operation of the MTR since it fulfills the need for uncomplicated assimilation of new behaviors in the existing architecture. Our work at the moment focuses on the design and construction of the mechanical and electronic systems for the MTR and an associated Pack. References [1] NASA, Human Exploration of Mars: The Reference Mission (Version 3.0 with June, 1998 Addendum) of the NASA Mars Exploration Study Team, Exploration Office, Advanced Development Office, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX 77058, June, 1998. [2] A. Trebi-Ollennu, H Das Nayer, H Aghazarian, A ganino, P Pirjanian, B Kennedy, T Huntsberger and P Schenker, Mars Rover Pair Cooperatively Transporting a Long Payload, in Proceedings of the 2002 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, May 2002, pp. 3136-3141. [3] A. K. Bouloubasis, G. T McKee, P. S. Schenker, A Behavior-Based Manipulator for Multi-Robot Transport Tasks, in proceedings of the

  15. NASA Mars Conference

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Reiber, D.B.

    1988-01-01

    Papers about Mars and Mars exploration are presented, covering topics such as Martian history, geology, volcanism, channels, moons, atmosphere, meteorology, water on the planet, and the possibility of life. The unmanned exploration of Mars is discussed, including the Phobos Mission, the Mars Observer, the Mars Aeronomy Observer, the seismic network, Mars sample return missions, and the Mars Ball, an inflatable-sectored-tire rover concept. Issues dealing with manned exploration of Mars are examined, such as the reasons for exploring Mars, mission scenarios, a transportation system for routine visits, technologies for Mars expeditions, the human factors for Mars missions, life support systems, living and working on Mars, and the report of the National Commission on Space

  16. Peeling Back the Layers of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    This is a 3-D model of the trench excavated by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on the 23rd day, or sol, of its mission. An oblique view of the trench from a bit above and to the right of the rover's right wheel is shown. The model was generated from images acquired by the rover's front hazard-avoidance cameras.

  17. A New Vehicle for Planetary Surface Exploration: The Mars Tumbleweed

    Science.gov (United States)

    Antol, Jeffrey

    2005-01-01

    The surface of Mars is currently being explored with a combination of orbiting spacecraft, stationary landers and wheeled rovers. However, only a small portion of the Martian surface has undergone in-situ examination. Landing sites must be chosen to insure the safety of the vehicles (and human explorers) and provide the greatest opportunity for mission success. While wheeled rovers provide the ability to move beyond the landing sites, they are also limited in their ability to traverse rough terrain; therefore, many scientifically interesting sites are inaccessible by current vehicles. In order to access these sites, a capability is needed that can transport scientific instruments across varied Martian terrain. A new "rover" concept for exploring the Martian surface, known as the Mars Tumbleweed, will derive mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, much like the Tumbleweed plant does here on Earth. Using the winds on Mars, a Tumbleweed rover could conceivably travel great distances and cover broad areas of the planetary surface. Tumbleweed vehicles would be designed to withstand repeated bouncing and rolling on the rock covered Martian surface and may be durable enough to explore areas on Mars such as gullies and canyons that are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Achieving Mars wind-driven mobility; however, is not a minor task. The density of the atmosphere on Mars is approximately 60-80 times less than that on Earth and wind speeds are typically around 2-5 m/s during the day, with periodic winds of 10 m/s to 20 m/s (in excess of 25 m/s during seasonal dust storms). However, because of the Martian atmosphere#s low density, even the strongest winds on Mars equate to only a gentle breeze on Earth. Tumbleweed rovers therefore need to be relatively large (4-6 m in diameter), very lightweight (10-20 kg), and equipped with lightweight, low-power instruments. This paper provides an overview of the Tumbleweed concept, presents several notional design

  18. Soft Rock Yields Clues to Mars' Past

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Figure 1 This image taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit shows the rock outcrop dubbed 'Clovis.' The rock was discovered to be softer than other rocks studied so far at Gusev Crater after the rover easily ground a hole into it with its rock abrasion tool. Spirit's solar panels can be seen in the foreground. This image was taken by the rover's navigation camera on sol 205 (July 31, 2004). Elemental Trio Found in 'Clovis' Figure 1 above shows that the interior of the rock dubbed 'Clovis' contains higher concentrations of sulfur, bromine and chlorine than basaltic, or volcanic, rocks studied so far at Gusev Crater. The data were taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's alpha particle X-ray spectrometer after the rover dug into Clovis with its rock abrasion tool. The findings might indicate that this rock was chemically altered, and that fluids once flowed through the rock depositing these elements.

  19. A fundamental parameters approach to calibration of the Mars Exploration Rover Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, J. L.; Lee, M.; Jones, B. N.; Andrushenko, S. M.; Holmes, N. G.; Maxwell, J. A.; Taylor, S. M.

    2009-04-01

    The detection sensitivities of the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) instruments on the Mars Exploration Rovers for a wide range of elements were experimentally determined in 2002 using spectra of geochemical reference materials. A flight spare instrument was similarly calibrated, and the calibration exercise was then continued for this unit with an extended set of geochemical reference materials together with pure elements and simple chemical compounds. The flight spare instrument data are examined in detail here using a newly developed fundamental parameters approach which takes precise account of all the physics inherent in the two X-ray generation techniques involved, namely, X-ray fluorescence and particle-induced X-ray emission. The objectives are to characterize the instrument as fully as possible, to test this new approach, and to determine the accuracy of calibration for major, minor, and trace elements. For some of the lightest elements the resulting calibration exhibits a dependence upon the mineral assemblage of the geological reference material; explanations are suggested for these observations. The results will assist in designing the overall calibration approach for the APXS on the Mars Science Laboratory mission.

  20. Relating MBSE to Spacecraft Development: A NASA Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Othon, Bill

    2016-01-01

    The NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) has sponsored a Pathfinder Study to investigate how Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) and Model Based Engineering (MBE) techniques can be applied by NASA spacecraft development projects. The objectives of this Pathfinder Study included analyzing both the products of the modeling activity, as well as the process and tool chain through which the spacecraft design activities are executed. Several aspects of MBSE methodology and process were explored. Adoption and consistent use of the MBSE methodology within an existing development environment can be difficult. The Pathfinder Team evaluated the possibility that an "MBSE Template" could be developed as both a teaching tool as well as a baseline from which future NASA projects could leverage. Elements of this template include spacecraft system component libraries, data dictionaries and ontology specifications, as well as software services that do work on the models themselves. The Pathfinder Study also evaluated the tool chain aspects of development. Two chains were considered: 1. The Development tool chain, through which SysML model development was performed and controlled, and 2. The Analysis tool chain, through which both static and dynamic system analysis is performed. Of particular interest was the ability to exchange data between SysML and other engineering tools such as CAD and Dynamic Simulation tools. For this study, the team selected a Mars Lander vehicle as the element to be designed. The paper will discuss what system models were developed, how data was captured and exchanged, and what analyses were conducted.

  1. Biogenic iron mineralization at Iron Mountain, CA with implications for detection with the Mars Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Williams, Amy J.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Alpers, Charles N.; Campbell, Kate M.; Nordstrom, D. Kirk

    2014-01-01

    (Introduction) Microbe-mineral interactions and biosignature preservation in oxidized sulfidic ore bodies (gossans) are prime candidates for astrobiological study. Such oxidized iron systems have been proposed as analogs for some Martian environments. Recent studies identified microbial fossils preserved as mineral-coated filaments. This study documents microbially-mediated mineral biosignatures in hydrous ferric oxide (HFO) and ferric oxyhydroxysulfates (FOHS) in three environments at Iron Mountain, CA. We investigated microbial community preservation via HFO and FOHS precipitation and the formation of filamentous mineral biosignatures. These environments included 1) actively precipitating (1000's yrs), naturally weathered HFO from in situ gossan, and 3) remobilized iron deposits, which contained lithified clastics and zones of HFO precipitate. We used published biogenicity criteria as guidelines to characterize the biogenicity of mineral filaments. These criteria included A) an actively precipitating environment where microbes are known to be coated in minerals, B) presence of extant microbial communities with carbon signatures, C) structures observable as a part of the host rock, and D) biological morphology, including cellular lumina, multiple member population, numerous taxa, variable and 3-D preservation, biological size ranges, uniform diameter, and evidence of flexibility. This study explores the relevance and detection of these biosignatures to possible Martian biosignatures. Similar filamentous biosignatures are resolvable by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, and may be identifiable as biogenic if present on Mars.

  2. The CheMin XRD on the Mars Science Laboratory Rover Curiosity: Construction, Operation, and Quantitative Mineralogical Results from the Surface of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, David F.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory mission was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Nov. 26, 2011 and landed in Gale crater, Mars on Aug. 6, 2012. MSL's mission is to identify and characterize ancient "habitable" environments on Mars. MSL's precision landing system placed the Curiosity rover within 2 km of the center of its 20 X 6 km landing ellipse, next to Gale's central mound, a 5,000 meter high pile of laminated sediment which may contain 1 billion years of Mars history. Curiosity carries with it a full suite of analytical instruments, including the CheMin X-ray diffractometer, the first XRD flown in space. CheMin is essentially a transmission X-ray pinhole camera. A fine-focus Co source and collimator transmits a 50µm beam through a powdered sample held between X-ray transparent plastic windows. The sample holder is shaken by a piezoelectric actuator such that the powder flows like a liquid, each grain passing in random orientation through the beam over time. Forward-diffracted and fluoresced X-ray photons from the sample are detected by an X-ray sensitive Charge Coupled Device (CCD) operated in single photon counting mode. When operated in this way, both the x,y position and the energy of each photon are detected. The resulting energy-selected Co Kalpha Debye-Scherrer pattern is used to determine the identities and amounts of minerals present via Rietveld refinement, and a histogram of all X-ray events constitutes an X-ray fluorescence analysis of the sample.The key role that definitive mineralogy plays in understanding the Martian surface is a consequence of the fact that minerals are thermodynamic phases, having known and specific ranges of temperature, pressure and composition within which they are stable. More than simple compositional analysis, definitive mineralogical analysis can provide information about pressure/temperature conditions of formation, past climate, water activity and the like. Definitive mineralogical analyses are necessary to establish

  3. Determination of foreign broadening coefficients for Methane Lines Targeted by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) on the Mars Curiosity Rover

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Manne, Jagadeeshwari; Bui, Thinh Q.; Webster, Christopher R.

    2017-01-01

    Molecular line parameters of foreign- broadening by air, carbon dioxide, and helium gas have been experimentally determined for infrared ro-vibrational spectral lines of methane isotopologues ("1"2CH_4 and "1"3CH_4) at 3057 cm"−"1 targeted by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover. From multi-spectrum analyses with the speed-dependent Voigt line profile with Rosenkrantz line-mixing, speed-dependence and line-mixing effects were quantified for methane spectra at total pressures up to 200 mbar. The fitted air-broadening coefficients deviated from 8–25% to those reported in the HITRAN-2012 database. - Highlights: • Measurements of foreign broadening coefficients for Mars-TLS specific methane lines. • Spectral parameters were deduced from Speed-dependent Voigt profile with line mixing effects taken into account. • A thorough comparison of different line profile fits for the Mars-TLS methane lines. The fitted broadening coefficients and areas deviated up to 30% and 4%, respectively, when comparing the speed-dependent Voigt profile (with Rosenkrantz line-mixing) with the simplest Voigt profile. • Foreign broadening coefficients were measured within a precision of 2.2%.

  4. Assessment of Proficiency During Simulated Rover Operations Following Long-Duration Spaceflight

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, S. J.; Dean, S. L.; De Dios, Y. E.; MacDougall, H. G.; Moore, S. T.

    2011-01-01

    Following long-duration space travel, pressurized rovers will enhance crew mobility to explore Mars and other planetary surfaces. Adaptive changes in sensorimotor function may limit the crew s proficiency when performing some rover operations shortly after transition to the new gravitoinertial environment. The primary goal of this investigation is to quantify postflight decrements in operational proficiency in a motion-based rover simulation after International Space Station (ISS) expeditions. Given that postflight performance will also be influenced by the level of preflight proficiency attained, a ground-based normative study was conducted to characterize the acquisition of skills over multiple sessions.

  5. Human Mars Surface Mission Nuclear Power Considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rucker, Michelle A.

    2018-01-01

    A key decision facing Mars mission designers is how to power a crewed surface field station. Unlike the solar-powered Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) that could retreat to a very low power state during a Martian dust storm, human Mars surface missions are estimated to need at least 15 kilowatts of electrical (kWe) power simply to maintain critical life support and spacecraft functions. 'Hotel' loads alone for a pressurized crew rover approach two kWe; driving requires another five kWe-well beyond what the Curiosity rover’s Radioisotope Power System (RPS) was designed to deliver. Full operation of a four-crew Mars field station is estimated at about 40 kWe. Clearly, a crewed Mars field station will require a substantial and reliable power source, beyond the scale of robotic mission experience. This paper explores the applications for both fission and RPS nuclear options for Mars.

  6. Mars

    CERN Document Server

    Payment, Simone

    2017-01-01

    This curriculum-based, fun, and approachable book offers everything young readers need to know to begin their study of the Red Planet. They will learn about the fundamental aspects of the Mars, including its size, mass, surface features, interior, orbit, and spin. Further, they will learn about the history of the missions to Mars, including the Viking spacecraft and the Curiosity and MAVEN rovers. Finally, readers will learn about why scientists think there's a chance that Mars is or was suitable for life. With stunning imagery from NASA itself, readers will have a front seat-view of the missi

  7. Mars Sample Return Architecture Overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, C. D.; Vijendran, S.

    2018-04-01

    NASA and ESA are exploring potential concepts for a Sample Retrieval Lander and Earth Return Orbiter that could return samples planned to be collected and cached by the Mars 2020 rover mission. We provide an overview of the Mars Sample Return architecture.

  8. An Overview of Wind-Driven Rovers for Planetary Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hajos, Gregory A.; Jones, Jack A.; Behar, Alberto; Dodd, Micheal

    2005-01-01

    The use of in-situ propulsion is considered enabling technology for long duration planetary surface missions. Most studies have focused on stored energy from chemicals extracted from the soil or the use of soil chemicals to produce photovoltaic arrays. An older form of in-situ propulsion is the use of wind power. Recent studies have shown potential for wind driven craft for exploration of Mars, Titan and Venus. The power of the wind, used for centuries to power wind mills and sailing ships, is now being applied to modern land craft. Efforts are now underway to use the wind to push exploration vehicles on other planets and moons in extended survey missions. Tumbleweed rovers are emerging as a new type of wind-driven science platform concept. Recent investigations by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) indicate that these light-weight, mostly spherical or quasi-spherical devices have potential for long distance surface exploration missions. As a power boat has unique capabilities, but relies on stored energy (fuel) to move the vessel, the Tumbleweed, like the sailing ships of the early explorers on earth, uses an unlimited resource the wind to move around the surface of Mars. This has the potential to reduce the major mass drivers of robotic rovers as well as the power generation and storage systems. Jacques Blamont of JPL and the University of Paris conceived the first documented Mars wind-blown ball in 1977, shortly after the Viking landers discovered that Mars has a thin CO2 atmosphere with relatively strong winds. In 1995, Jack Jones, et al, of JPL conceived of a large wind-blown inflated ball for Mars that could also be driven and steered by means of a motorized mass hanging beneath the rolling axis of the ball. A team at NASA Langley Research Center started a biomimetic Tumbleweed design study in 1998. Wind tunnel and CFD analysis were applied to a variety of concepts to optimize the aerodynamic

  9. Fast Optical Hazard Detection for Planetary Rovers Using Multiple Spot Laser Triangulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthies, L.; Balch, T.; Wilcox, B.

    1997-01-01

    A new laser-based optical sensor system that provides hazard detection for planetary rovers is presented. It is anticipated that the sensor can support safe travel at speeds up to 6cm/second for large (1m) rovers in full sunlight on Earth or Mars. The system overcomes limitations in an older design that require image differencing ot detect a laser stripe in full sun.

  10. Sockets and Pebbles

    Science.gov (United States)

    1997-01-01

    This close-up Sojourner rover image of a small rock shows that weathering has etched-out pebbles to produce sockets. In the image, sunlight is coming from the upper left. Sockets (with shadows on top) are visible at the lower left and pebbles (with bright tops and shadowed bases) are seen at the lower center and lower right. Two pebbles (about 0.5 cm across) are visible at the lower center.Mars Pathfinder is the second in NASA's Discovery program of low-cost spacecraft with highly focused science goals. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, developed and manages the Mars Pathfinder mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

  11. A Mission Concept: Re-Entry Hopper-Aero-Space-Craft System on-Mars (REARM-Mars)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davoodi, Faranak

    2013-01-01

    Future missions to Mars that would need a sophisticated lander, hopper, or rover could benefit from the REARM Architecture. The mission concept REARM Architecture is designed to provide unprecedented capabilities for future Mars exploration missions, including human exploration and possible sample-return missions, as a reusable lander, ascend/descend vehicle, refuelable hopper, multiple-location sample-return collector, laboratory, and a cargo system for assets and humans. These could all be possible by adding just a single customized Re-Entry-Hopper-Aero-Space-Craft System, called REARM-spacecraft, and a docking station at the Martian orbit, called REARM-dock. REARM could dramatically decrease the time and the expense required to launch new exploratory missions on Mars by making them less dependent on Earth and by reusing the assets already designed, built, and sent to Mars. REARM would introduce a new class of Mars exploration missions, which could explore much larger expanses of Mars in a much faster fashion and with much more sophisticated lab instruments. The proposed REARM architecture consists of the following subsystems: REARM-dock, REARM-spacecraft, sky-crane, secure-attached-compartment, sample-return container, agile rover, scalable orbital lab, and on-the-road robotic handymen.

  12. The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover Mastcam instruments: Preflight and in-flight calibration, validation, and data archiving

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J. F.; Godber, A.; McNair, S.; Caplinger, M. A.; Maki, J. N.; Lemmon, M. T.; Van Beek, J.; Malin, M. C.; Wellington, D.; Kinch, K. M.; Madsen, M. B.; Hardgrove, C.; Ravine, M. A.; Jensen, E.; Harker, D.; Anderson, R. B.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Morris, R. V.; Cisneros, E.; Deen, R. G.

    2017-07-01

    The NASA Curiosity rover Mast Camera (Mastcam) system is a pair of fixed-focal length, multispectral, color CCD imagers mounted 2 m above the surface on the rover's remote sensing mast, along with associated electronics and an onboard calibration target. The left Mastcam (M-34) has a 34 mm focal length, an instantaneous field of view (IFOV) of 0.22 mrad, and a FOV of 20° × 15° over the full 1648 × 1200 pixel span of its Kodak KAI-2020 CCD. The right Mastcam (M-100) has a 100 mm focal length, an IFOV of 0.074 mrad, and a FOV of 6.8° × 5.1° using the same detector. The cameras are separated by 24.2 cm on the mast, allowing stereo images to be obtained at the resolution of the M-34 camera. Each camera has an eight-position filter wheel, enabling it to take Bayer pattern red, green, and blue (RGB) "true color" images, multispectral images in nine additional bands spanning 400-1100 nm, and images of the Sun in two colors through neutral density-coated filters. An associated Digital Electronics Assembly provides command and data interfaces to the rover, 8 Gb of image storage per camera, 11 bit to 8 bit companding, JPEG compression, and acquisition of high-definition video. Here we describe the preflight and in-flight calibration of Mastcam images, the ways that they are being archived in the NASA Planetary Data System, and the ways that calibration refinements are being developed as the investigation progresses on Mars. We also provide some examples of data sets and analyses that help to validate the accuracy and precision of the calibration.

  13. The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover Mastcam instruments: Preflight and in-flight calibration, validation, and data archiving

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, James F.; Godber, A.; McNair, S.; Caplinger, M.A.; Maki, J.N.; Lemmon, M.T.; Van Beek, J.; Malin, M.C.; Wellington, D.; Kinch, K.M.; Madsen, M.B.; Hardgrove, C.; Ravine, M.A.; Jensen, E.; Harker, D.; Anderson, Ryan; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Morris, R.V.; Cisneros, E.; Deen, R.G.

    2017-01-01

    The NASA Curiosity rover Mast Camera (Mastcam) system is a pair of fixed-focal length, multispectral, color CCD imagers mounted ~2 m above the surface on the rover's remote sensing mast, along with associated electronics and an onboard calibration target. The left Mastcam (M-34) has a 34 mm focal length, an instantaneous field of view (IFOV) of 0.22 mrad, and a FOV of 20° × 15° over the full 1648 × 1200 pixel span of its Kodak KAI-2020 CCD. The right Mastcam (M-100) has a 100 mm focal length, an IFOV of 0.074 mrad, and a FOV of 6.8° × 5.1° using the same detector. The cameras are separated by 24.2 cm on the mast, allowing stereo images to be obtained at the resolution of the M-34 camera. Each camera has an eight-position filter wheel, enabling it to take Bayer pattern red, green, and blue (RGB) “true color” images, multispectral images in nine additional bands spanning ~400–1100 nm, and images of the Sun in two colors through neutral density-coated filters. An associated Digital Electronics Assembly provides command and data interfaces to the rover, 8 Gb of image storage per camera, 11 bit to 8 bit companding, JPEG compression, and acquisition of high-definition video. Here we describe the preflight and in-flight calibration of Mastcam images, the ways that they are being archived in the NASA Planetary Data System, and the ways that calibration refinements are being developed as the investigation progresses on Mars. We also provide some examples of data sets and analyses that help to validate the accuracy and precision of the calibration

  14. Spectral heterogeneity on Phobos and Deimos: HiRISE observations and comparisons to Mars Pathfinder results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, N.; Stelter, R.; Ivanov, A.; Bridges, N.T.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; McEwen, A.S.

    2011-01-01

    The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) onboard Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has been used to observe Phobos and Deimos at spatial scales of around 6 and 20 m/px, respectively. HiRISE (McEwen et al.; JGR, 112, CiteID E05S02, DOI: 10.1029/2005JE002605, 2007) has provided, for the first time, high-resolution colour images of the surfaces of the Martian moons. When processed, by the production of colour ratio images for example, the data show considerable small-scale heterogeneity, which might be attributable to fresh impacts exposing different materials otherwise largely hidden by a homogenous regolith. The bluer material that is draped over the south-eastern rim of the largest crater on Phobos, Stickney, has been perforated by an impact to reveal redder material and must therefore be relatively thin. A fresh impact with dark crater rays has been identified. Previously identified mass-wasting features in Stickney and Limtoc craters stand out strongly in colour. The interior deposits in Stickney appear more inhomogeneous than previously suspected. Several other local colour variations are also evident. Deimos is more uniform in colour but does show some small-scale inhomogeneity. The bright streamers (Thomas et al.; Icarus, 123, 536556,1996) are relatively blue. One crater to the south-west of Voltaire and its surroundings appear quite strongly reddened with respect to the rest of the surface. The reddening of the surroundings may be the result of ejecta from this impact. The spectral gradients at optical wavelengths observed for both Phobos and Deimos are quantitatively in good agreement with those found by unresolved photometric observations made by the Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP; Thomas et al.; JGR, 104, 90559068, 1999). The spectral gradients of the blue and red units on Phobos bracket the results from IMP. ?? 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. The Thermal Infrared Sensor onboard NASA's Mars 2020 Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martinez, G.; Perez-Izquierdo, J.; Sebastian, E.; Ramos, M.; Bravo, A.; Mazo, M.; Rodriguez-Manfredi, J. A.

    2017-12-01

    NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission is scheduled for launch in July/August 2020 and will address key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) is one of the seven instruments onboard the rover [1] and has been designed to assess the environmental conditions across the rover traverse. MEDA will extend the current record of in-situ meteorological measurements at the surface [2] to other locations on Mars. The Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS) [3] is one of the six sensors comprising MEDA. TIRS will use three downward-looking channels to measure (1) the surface skin temperature (with high heritage from the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station onboard the Mars Science Laboratory mission [4]), (2) the upwelling thermal infrared radiation from the surface and (3) the reflected solar radiation at the surface, and two upward-looking channels to measure the (4) downwelling thermal infrared radiation at the surface and (5) the atmospheric temperature. In combination with other MEDA's sensors, TIRS will allow the quantification of the surface energy budget [5] and the determination of key geophysical properties of the terrain such as the albedo and thermal inertia with an unprecedented spatial resolution. Here we present a general description of the TIRS, with focus on its scientific requirements and results from field campaigns showing the performance of the different channels. References:[1] Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A. et al. (2014), MEDA: An environmental and meteorological package for Mars 2020, LPSC, 45, 2837. [2] Martínez, G.M. et al. (2017), The Modern Near-Surface Martian Climate: A Review of In-situ Meteorological Data from Viking to Curiosity, Space Science Reviews, 1-44. [3] Pérez-Izquierdo, J. et al. (2017), The Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) of the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) Instrument onboard Mars 2020, IEEE. [4] Sebastián, E. et al. (2010), The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station Ground

  16. Lander Radioscience LaRa, a Space Geodesy Experiment to Mars within the ExoMars 2020 mission.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dehant, V. M. A.; Le Maistre, S.; Yseboodt, M.; Peters, M. J.; Karatekin, O.; Van Hove, B.; Rivoldini, A.; Baland, R. M.; Van Hoolst, T.

    2017-12-01

    The LaRa (Lander Radioscience) experiment is designed to obtain coherent two-way Doppler measurements from the radio link between the 2020 ExoMars lander and Earth over at least one Martian year. The LaRa instrument consists of a coherent transponder with up- and downlinks at X-band radio frequencies. The signal received from Earth is a pure carrier at 7.178 GHz; it is transponded back to Earth at a frequency of 8.434 GHz. The transponder is designed to maintain its lock and coherency over its planed one-hour observation sessions. The transponder mass is at the one-kg level. There are one uplink antenna and two downlink antennas. They are small patch antennas covered by a radome of 130gr for the downlink ones and of 200gr for the uplink. The signals will be generated and received by Earth-based radio antennas belonging to the NASA deep space network (DSN), the ESA tracking station network, or the Russian ground stations network. The instrument lifetime is more than twice the nominal mission duration of one Earth year. The Doppler measurements will be used to observe the orientation and rotation of Mars in space (precession, nutations, and length-of-day variations), as well as polar motion. The ultimate objective is to obtain information/constraints on the Martian interior, and on the sublimation/condensation cycle of atmospheric CO2. Orientation and rotational variations will allow us to constrain the moment of inertia of the entire planet, the moment of inertia of the core, and seasonal mass transfer between the atmosphere and the ice caps. The LaRa experiment will be combined with other previous radio science experiments such as the InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) RISE experiment (Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment) with radio science data of the NASA Viking landers, Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rovers. In addition, other ExoMars2020 and TGO (Trace Gas Orbiter) experiments providing

  17. Ultraviolet Testing of Space Suit Materials for Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Larson, Kristine; Fries, Marc

    2017-01-01

    Human missions to Mars may require radical changes in the approach to extra-vehicular (EVA) suit design. A major challenge is the balance of building a suit robust enough to complete multiple EVAs under intense ultraviolet (UV) light exposure without losing mechanical strength or compromising the suit's mobility. To study how the materials degrade on Mars in-situ, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) invited the Advanced Space Suit team at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) to place space suit materials on the Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals (SHERLOC) instrument's calibration target of the Mars 2020 rover. In order to select materials for the rover and understand the effects from Mars equivalent UV exposure, JSC conducted ground testing on both current and new space suit materials when exposed to 2500 hours of Mars mission equivalent UV. To complete this testing, JSC partnered with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to utilize their UV vacuum chambers. Materials tested were Orthofabric, polycarbonate, Teflon, Dacron, Vectran, spectra, bladder, nGimat coated Teflon, and nGimat coated Orthofabric. All samples were measured for mass, tensile strength, and chemical composition before and after radiation. Mass loss was insignificant (less than 0.5%) among the materials. Most materials loss tensile strength after radiation and became more brittle with a loss of elongation. Changes in chemical composition were seen in all radiated materials through Spectral Analysis. Results from this testing helped select the materials that will fly on the Mars 2020 rover. In addition, JSC can use this data to create a correlation to the chemical changes after radiation-which is what the rover will send back while on Mars-to the mechanical changes, such as tensile strength.

  18. MSR Fetch Rover Capability Development at the Canadian Space Agency

    Science.gov (United States)

    Picard, M.; Hipkin, V.; Gingras, D.; Allard, P.; Lamarche, T.; Rocheleau, S. G.; Gemme, S.

    2018-04-01

    Describes Fetch Rover technology testing during CSA's 2016 Mars Sample Return Analogue Deployment which demonstrated autonomous navigation to 'cache depots' of M-2020-like sample tubes, acquisition of six such tubes, and transfer to a MAV mock up.

  19. Characterization of terrestrial hydrothermal alteration products with Mars analog instrumentation: Implications for current and future rover investigations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Black, Sarah R.; Hynek, Brian M.

    2018-06-01

    Interpretation of Martian geology relies heavily on our understanding of terrestrial analog deposits and our ability to obtain comprehensive and accurate mineralogical compositions. Many previous studies of terrestrial hydrothermal deposits relied on limited datasets and/or did not use instruments analogous to those deployed on Mars. We analyzed 100 hydrothermally altered basalts from Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Iceland with Mars analog Visible to Short Wave Infrared (VSWIR) spectroscopy, X-ray Diffraction (XRD), and Raman laser spectrometry. Alteration mineralogy consisted of amorphous and crystalline SiO2 (cristobalite, tridymite, quartz), Ca/Al/Fe/Mg-sulfates (gypsum, anhydrite, alunite, jarosite, hexahydrite, alunogen), Fe-, Ti-, and Mg-oxides/hydroxides (hematite, goethite, anatase/brookite, brucite), elemental sulfur, and phyllosilicates (montmorillonite, kaolinite). Results indicate VSWIR is best suited for identification of X-ray amorphous materials such as hydrated SiO2 and phyllosilicates, while XRD is best utilized for highly ordered crystalline materials such as sulfates, crystalline SiO2 polymorphs, elemental sulfur, and Mg-hydroxides identification. Surprisingly, XRD had the lowest identification rates for Fe-oxides/hydroxides (42% compared to 61% and 75% for VNIR and Raman, respectively), and nearly equal identification rates as VSWIR for kaolinite (76% for VSWIR, 71% for XRD). Identification of phyllosilicates in XRD, while possible, is not as effective as VSWIR without extensive sample preparation. Our observed identification rates may be attributed to the relative abundance of materials-Fe-oxides/hydroxides being present as surface coatings, the presence of large amounts of kaolinite in some samples, and an increased particle size for kaolinite relative to other clays. Elemental sulfur and Fe- and Ti-oxides/hydroxides were more readily identified with Raman. With NASA's current focus on habitability, hydrothermally altered areas-which we know to

  20. Curiosity rover LEGO® version could land soon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy

    2012-09-01

    Now that NASA's Curiosity rover has landed on Mars, a smaller LEGO® plastic brick construction version could be landing in toy stores. Less than 2 weeks after Curiosity set down on 5 August, a LEGO® set concept model designed by a mechanical and aerospace engineer who worked on the real rover garnered its 10,000th supporter on the Web site of CUUSOO, a Japanese partner of the LEGO® group. That milestone triggered a company review that began in September 2012 to test the model's “playability, safety, and ft with the LEGO® brand,” according to a congratulatory statement from the company to designer Stephen Pakbaz. Pakbaz told Eos that he has been an avid LEGO® and space exploration fan for most of his life. “For me, creating a LEGO® model of Curiosity using my firsthand knowledge of the rover was inevitable. What I enjoyed most was being able to faithfully replicate and subsequently demonstrate the rocker-bogie suspension system to friends, family, and coworkers,” he noted, referring to the suspension system that allows the rover to climb over obstacles while keeping its wheels on the ground. Pakbaz, who is currently with Orbital Sciences Corporation, was involved with aspects of the rover while working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 2007 to 2011 as a mechanical engineer.

  1. Rock Abrasion and Ventifact Formation on Mars from Field Analog, Theoretical, and Experimental Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, N. T.; Laity, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    Rocks observed by the Viking Landers and Pathfinder Lander/Sojourner rover exhibit a suite of perplexing rock textures. Among these are pits, spongy textures, penetrative flutes, lineaments, crusts, and knobs Fluvial, impact, chemical alteration, and aeolian mechanisms have been proposed for many of these. In an effort to better understand the origin and characteristics of Martian rock textures, abraded rocks in the Mojave Desert and other regions have been studied. We find that most Martian rock textures, as opposed to just a few, bear close resemblance to terrestrial aeolian textures and can most easily be explained by wind, not other, processes. Flutes, grooves, and some pits on Mars are consistent with abrasion by saltating particles, as described previously. However, many other rock textures probably also have an aeolian origin. Sills at the base of rocks that generally lie at high elevations, such as Half Dome, are consistent with such features on Earth that are related to moats or soil ramps that shield the basal part of the rock from erosion. Crusts consisting of fluted fabrics, such as those on Stimpy and Chimp, are similar to fluted crusts on Earth that spall off over time. Knobby and lineated rocks are similar to terrestrial examples of heterogeneous rocks that differentially erode. The location of specific rock textures on Mars also gives insight into their origin. Many of the most diagnostic ventifacts found at the Pathfinder site are located on rocks that lie near the crests or the upper slopes of ridges. On Earth, the most active ventifact formation occurs on sloped or elevated topography, where windflow is accelerated and particle kinetic energy and flux are increased. Integrated 0 together, these observations point to significant aeolian 0 modification of rocks on Mars and cast doubt on whether many primary textures resulting from other processes are preserved. Experimental simulations of abrasion in the presence of abundant sand indicate that

  2. Pathfinder-Plus on flight in Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on a flight over Hawaii in 1998. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non-stop for at least 4 days

  3. Pathfinder-Plus on flight over Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on flight over Hawaii. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non-stop for at least 4 days above 50

  4. The Proposed Mars Astrobiology Explorer - Cacher [MAX-C] Rover: First Step in a Potential Sample Return Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    Allen, Carlton C.; Beaty, David W.

    2010-01-01

    Sample return from Mars has been advocated by numerous scientific advisory panels for over 30 years, most prominently beginning with the National Research Council s [1] strategy for the exploration of the inner solar system, and most recently by the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG s) Next Decade Science Analysis Group [2]. Analysis of samples here on Earth would have enormous advantages over in situ analyses in producing the data quality needed to address many of the complex scientific questions the community has posed about Mars. Instead of a small, predetermined set of analytical techniques, state of the art preparative and instrumental resources of the entire scientific community could be applied to the samples. The analytical emphasis could shift as the meaning of each result becomes better appreciated. These arguments apply both to igneous rocks and to layered sedimentary materials, either of which could contain water and other volatile constituents. In 2009 MEPAG formed the Mid-Range Rover Science Analysis Group (MRR-SAG) to formulate a mission concept that would address two general objectives: (1) conduct high-priority in situ science and (2) make concrete steps towards the potential return of samples to Earth. This analysis resulted in a mission concept named the Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C), which was envisioned for launch in the 2018 opportunity. After extensive discussion, this group concluded that by far the most definitive contribution to sample return by this mission would be to collect and cache, in an accessible location, a suite of compelling samples that could potentially be recovered and returned by a subsequent mission. This would have the effect of separating two of the essential functions of MSR, the acquisition of the sample collection and its delivery to martian orbit, into two missions.

  5. Using Wind Driven Tumbleweed Rovers to Explore Martian Gully Features

    Science.gov (United States)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Woodard, Stanley E.; Hajos, Gregory A.; Heldmann, Jennifer L.; Taylor, Bryant D.

    2005-01-01

    Gully features have been observed on the slopes of numerous Martian crater walls, valleys, pits, and graben. Several mechanisms for gully formation have been proposed, including: liquid water aquifers (shallow and deep), melting ground ice, snow melt, CO2 aquifers, and dry debris flow. Remote sensing observations indicate that the most likely erosional agent is liquid water. Debate concerns the source of this water. Observations favor a liquid water aquifer as the primary candidate. The current strategy in the search for life on Mars is to "follow the water." A new vehicle known as a Tumbleweed rover may be able to conduct in-situ investigations in the gullies, which are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Deriving mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, Tumbleweed rovers would be lightweight and relatively inexpensive thus allowing multiple rovers to be deployed in a single mission to survey areas for future exploration. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is developing deployable structure Tumbleweed concepts. An extremely lightweight measurement acquisition system and sensors are proposed for the Tumbleweed rover that greatly increases the number of measurements performed while having negligible mass increase. The key to this method is the use of magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits that produce magnetic field responses whose attributes correspond to values of physical properties for which the sensors measure. The sensors do not need a physical connection to a power source or to data acquisition equipment resulting in additional weight reduction. Many of the sensors and interrogating antennae can be directly placed on the Tumbleweed using film deposition methods such as photolithography thus providing further weight reduction. Concepts are presented herein for methods to measure subsurface water, subsurface metals, planetary winds and environmental gases.

  6. Low Cost Mars Sample Return Utilizing Dragon Lander Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, Carol R.

    2014-01-01

    We studied a Mars sample return (MSR) mission that lands a SpaceX Dragon Capsule on Mars carrying sample collection hardware (an arm, drill, or small rover) and a spacecraft stack consisting of a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) and Earth Return Vehicle (ERV) that collectively carry the sample container from Mars back to Earth orbit.

  7. Atacama Rover Astrobiology Drilling Studies: Roving to Find Subsurface Preserved Biomarkers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glass, B.; Davila, A.; Parro, V.; Quinn, R.; Willis, P.; Brinckerhoff, W.; DiRuggiero, J.; Williams, M.; Bergman, D.; Stoker, C.

    2016-05-01

    The ARADS project is a NASA PSTAR that will drill into a Mars analog site in search of biomarkers. Leading to a field test of an integrated rover-drill system with four prototype in-situ instruments for biomarker detection and analysis.

  8. Automation &robotics for future Mars exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schulte, W.; von Richter, A.; Bertrand, R.

    2003-04-01

    Automation and Robotics (A&R) are currently considered as a key technology for Mars exploration. initiatives in this field aim at developing new A&R systems and technologies for planetary surface exploration. Kayser-Threde led the study AROMA (Automation &Robotics for Human Mars Exploration) under ESA contract in order to define a reference architecture of A&R elements in support of a human Mars exploration program. One of the goals was to define new developments and to maintain the competitiveness of European industry within this field. We present a summary of the A&R study in respect to a particular system: The Autonomous Research Island (ARI). In the Mars exploration scenario initially a robotic outpost system lands at pre-selected sites in order to search for life forms and water and to analyze the surface, geology and atmosphere. A&R systems, i.e. rovers and autonomous instrument packages, perform a number of missions with scientific and technology development objectives on the surface of Mars as part of preparations for a human exploration mission. In the Robotic Outpost Phase ARI is conceived as an automated lander which can perform in-situ analysis. It consists of a service module and a micro-rover system for local investigations. Such a system is already under investigation and development in other TRP activities. The micro-rover system provides local mobility for in-situ scientific investigations at a given landing or deployment site. In the long run ARI supports also human Mars missions. An astronaut crew would travel larger distances in a pressurized rover on Mars. Whenever interesting features on the surface are identified, the crew would interrupt the travel and perform local investigations. In order to save crew time ARI could be deployed by the astronauts to perform time-consuming investigations as for example in-situ geochemistry analysis of rocks/soil. Later, the crew could recover the research island for refurbishment and deployment at another

  9. Organic molecules in the Sheepbed Mudstone, Gale Crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Miller, K. E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Summons, R. E.; Brunner, A. E.; Buch, A.; Szopa, C.; Archer, P. D.; Franz, H. B.; Atreya, S. K.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Conrad, P. G.; Des Marais, D. J.; Dworkin, J. P.; Fairén, A. G.; François, P.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Kashyap, S.; ten Kate, I. L.; Leshin, L. A.; Malespin, C. A.; Martin, M. G.; Martin-Torres, F. J.; Mcadam, A. C.; Ming, D. W.; Navarro-González, R.; Pavlov, A. A.; Prats, B. D.; Squyres, S. W.; Steele, A.; Stern, J. C.; Sumner, D. Y.; Sutter, B.; Zorzano, M. P.

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on board the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover is designed to conduct inorganic and organic chemical analyses of the atmosphere and the surface regolith and rocks to help evaluate the past and present habitability potential of Mars at Gale Crater.

  10. Mars Relays Satellite Orbit Design Considerations for Global Support of Robotic Surface Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hastrup, Rolf; Cesarone, Robert; Cook, Richard; Knocke, Phillip; McOmber, Robert

    1993-01-01

    This paper discusses orbit design considerations for Mars relay satellite (MRS)support of globally distributed robotic surface missions. The orbit results reported in this paper are derived from studies of MRS support for two types of Mars robotic surface missions: 1) the mars Environmental Survey (MESUR) mission, which in its current definition would deploy a global network of up to 16 small landers, and 2)a Small Mars Sample Return (SMSR) mission, which included four globally distributed landers, each with a return stage and one or two rovers, and up to four additional sets of lander/rover elements in an extended mission phase.

  11. Extraction of compositional and hydration information of sulfates from laser-induced plasma spectra recorded under Mars atmospheric conditions — Implications for ChemCam investigations on Curiosity rover

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sobron, Pablo; Wang, Alian; Sobron, Francisco

    2012-01-01

    Given the volume of spectral data required for providing accurate compositional information and thereby insight in mineralogy and petrology from laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) measurements, fast data processing tools are a must. This is particularly true during the tactical operations of rover-based planetary exploration missions such as the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, which will carry a remote LIBS spectrometer in its science payload. We have developed: an automated fast pre-processing sequence of algorithms for converting a series of LIBS spectra (typically 125) recorded from a single target into a reliable SNR-enhanced spectrum; a dedicated routine to quantify its spectral features; and a set of calibration curves using standard hydrous and multi-cation sulfates. These calibration curves allow deriving the elemental compositions and the degrees of hydration of various hydrous sulfates, one of the two major types of secondary minerals found on Mars. Our quantitative tools are built upon calibration-curve modeling, through the correlation of the elemental concentrations and the peak areas of the atomic emission lines observed in the LIBS spectra of standard samples. At present, we can derive the elemental concentrations of K, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, Al, S, O, and H in sulfates, as well as the hydration degrees of Ca- and Mg-sulfates, from LIBS spectra obtained in both Earth atmosphere and Mars atmospheric conditions in a Planetary Environment and Analysis Chamber (PEACh). In addition, structural information can be potentially obtained for various Fe-sulfates. - Highlights: ► Routines for LIBS spectral data fast automated processing. ► Identification of elements and determination of the elemental composition. ► Calibration curves for sulfate samples in Earth and Mars atmospheric conditions. ► Fe curves probably related to the crystalline structure of Fe-sulfates. ► Extraction of degree of hydration in hydrous Mg-, Ca-, and Fe-sulfates.

  12. A core handling device for the Mars Sample Return Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gwynne, Owen

    1989-01-01

    A core handling device for use on Mars is being designed. To provide a context for the design study, it was assumed that a Mars Rover/Sample Return (MRSR) Mission would have the following characteristics: a year or more in length; visits by the rover to 50 or more sites; 100 or more meter-long cores being drilled by the rover; and the capability of returning about 5 kg of Mars regolith to Earth. These characteristics lead to the belief that in order to bring back a variegated set of samples that can address the range of scientific objetives for a MRSR mission to Mars there needs to be considerable analysis done on board the rover. Furthermore, the discrepancy between the amount of sample gathered and the amount to be returned suggests that there needs to be some method of choosing the optimal set of samples. This type of analysis will require pristine material-unaltered by the drilling process. Since the core drill thermally and mechanically alters the outer diameter (about 10 pct) of the core sample, this outer area cannot be used. The primary function of the core handling device is to extract subsamples from the core and to position these subsamples, and the core itself if needed, with respect to the various analytical instruments that can be used to perform these analyses.

  13. Pathfinder-Plus on a flight in Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on a flight in 1998 over Hawaiian waters. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non-stop for at least

  14. Pathfinder-Plus on flight over Hawaiian Islands

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on flight over Hawaiian Islands in 1998. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non-stop for at least 4

  15. Chemical, multispectral, and textural constraints on the composition and origin of rocks at the Mars Pathfinder landing site

    Science.gov (United States)

    McSween, H.Y.; Murchie, S.L.; Crisp, J.A.; Bridges, N.T.; Anderson, R.C.; Bell, J.F.; Britt, D.T.; Brückner, J.; Dreibus, G.; Economou, T.; Ghosh, A.; Golombek, M.P.; Greenwood, J.P.; Johnson, J. R.; Moore, H.J.; Morris, R.V.; Parker, T.J.; Rieder, R.; Singer, R.; Wänke, H.

    1999-01-01

    Rocks at the Mars Pathfinder site are probably locally derived. Textures on rock surfaces may indicate volcanic, sedimentary, or impact-generated rocks, but aeolian abration and dust coatings prevent unambiguous interpretation. Multispectral imaging has resolved four spectral classes of rocks: gray and red, which occur on different surfaces of the same rocks; pink, which is probably soil crusts; and maroon, which occurs as large boulders, mostly in the far field. Rocks are assigned to two spectral trends based on the position of peak reflectance: the primary spectral trend contains gray, red, and pink rocks; maroon rocks constitute the secondary spectral trend. The spatial pattern of spectral variations observed is oriented along the prevailing wind direction. The primary spectral trend arises from thin ferric coatings of aeolian dust on darker rocks. The secondary spectral trend is apparently due to coating by a different mineral, probably maghemite or ferrihydrite. A chronology based on rock spectra suggests that rounded maroon boulders constitute the oldest petrologic unit (a flood deposit), succeeded by smaller cobbles possibly deposited by impact, and followed by aeolian erosion and deposition. Nearly linear chemical trends in alpha proton X-ray spectrometer rock compositions are interpreted as mixing lines between rock and adhering dust, a conclusion supported by a correlation between sulfur abundance and red/blue spectral ratio. Extrapolations of regression lines to zero sulfur give the composition of a presumed igneous rock. The chemistry and normative mineralogy of the sulfur-free rock resemble common terrestrial volcanic rocks, and its classification corresponds to andesite. Igneous rocks of this composition may occur with clastic sedimentary rocks or impact melts and breccias. However, the spectral mottling expected on conglomerates or breccias is not observed in any APXS-analyzed rocks. Interpretation of the rocks as andesites is complicated by absence

  16. A Case Study in the Mars Landing Site Selection for Science Objects

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haingja Seo

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available It is a crucial matter to select a landing site for landers or rovers in planning the Mars exploration. The landing site must have not only a scientific value as a landing site, but also geographical features to lead a safe landing for Mars probes. In this regard, this study analyzed landing site of Mars probes and rovers in previous studies and discussed the adequacy of the landing site to scientific missions. Moreover, this study also examined domestic studies on the Mars. The frameworks of these studies will guide the selection of exploration sites and a landing site when sending Mars probe to the Mars through our own efforts. Additionally, this paper will be used as the preliminary data for selection of exploration site and a landing site.

  17. Simulation and Spacecraft Design: Engineering Mars Landings.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conway, Erik M

    2015-10-01

    A key issue in history of technology that has received little attention is the use of simulation in engineering design. This article explores the use of both mechanical and numerical simulation in the design of the Mars atmospheric entry phases of the Viking and Mars Pathfinder missions to argue that engineers used both kinds of simulation to develop knowledge of their designs' likely behavior in the poorly known environment of Mars. Each kind of simulation could be used as a warrant of the other's fidelity, in an iterative process of knowledge construction.

  18. Mars Tumbleweed Simulation Using Singular Perturbation Theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raiszadeh, Behzad; Calhoun, Phillip

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Tumbleweed is a new surface rover concept that utilizes Martian winds as the primary source of mobility. Several designs have been proposed for the Mars Tumbleweed, all using aerodynamic drag to generate force for traveling about the surface. The Mars Tumbleweed, in its deployed configuration, must be large and lightweight to provide the ratio of drag force to rolling resistance necessary to initiate motion from the Martian surface. This paper discusses the dynamic simulation details of a candidate Tumbleweed design. The dynamic simulation model must properly evaluate and characterize the motion of the tumbleweed rover to support proper selection of system design parameters. Several factors, such as model flexibility, simulation run times, and model accuracy needed to be considered in modeling assumptions. The simulation was required to address the flexibility of the rover and its interaction with the ground, and properly evaluate its mobility. Proper assumptions needed to be made such that the simulated dynamic motion is accurate and realistic while not overly burdened by long simulation run times. This paper also shows results that provided reasonable correlation between the simulation and a drop/roll test of a tumbleweed prototype.

  19. Critical Spacecraft-to-Earth Communications for Mars Exploration Rover (MER) entry, descent and landing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hurd, William J.; Estabrook, Polly; Racho, Caroline S.; Satorius, Edgar H.

    2002-01-01

    For planetary lander missions, the most challenging phase of the spacecraft to ground communications is during the entry, descent, and landing (EDL). As each 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) enters the Martian atmosphere, it slows dramatically. The extreme acceleration and jerk cause extreme Doppler dynamics on the X-band signal received on Earth. When the vehicle slows sufficiently, the parachute is deployed, causing almost a step in deceleration. After parachute deployment, the lander is lowered beneath the parachute on a bridle. The swinging motion of the lander imparts high Doppler dynamics on the signal and causes the received signal strength to vary widely, due to changing antenna pointing angles. All this time, the vehicle transmits important health and status information that is especially critical if the landing is not successful. Even using the largest Deep Space Network antennas, the weak signal and high dynamics render it impossible to conduct reliable phase coherent communications. Therefore, a specialized form of frequency-shift-keying will be used. This paper describes the EDL scenario, the signal conditions, the methods used to detect and frequency-track the carrier and to detect the data modulation, and the resulting performance estimates.

  20. Absolute Navigation Information Estimation for Micro Planetary Rovers

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Muhammad Ilyas

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available This paper provides algorithms to estimate absolute navigation information, e.g., absolute attitude and position, by using low power, weight and volume Microelectromechanical Systems-type (MEMS sensors that are suitable for micro planetary rovers. Planetary rovers appear to be easily navigable robots due to their extreme slow speed and rotation but, unfortunately, the sensor suites available for terrestrial robots are not always available for planetary rover navigation. This makes them difficult to navigate in a completely unexplored, harsh and complex environment. Whereas the relative attitude and position can be tracked in a similar way as for ground robots, absolute navigation information, unlike in terrestrial applications, is difficult to obtain for a remote celestial body, such as Mars or the Moon. In this paper, an algorithm called the EASI algorithm (Estimation of Attitude using Sun sensor and Inclinometer is presented to estimate the absolute attitude using a MEMS-type sun sensor and inclinometer, only. Moreover, the output of the EASI algorithm is fused with MEMS gyros to produce more accurate and reliable attitude estimates. An absolute position estimation algorithm has also been presented based on these on-board sensors. Experimental results demonstrate the viability of the proposed algorithms and the sensor suite for low-cost and low-weight micro planetary rovers.

  1. Applications of Surface Penetrating Radar for Mars Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, H.; Li, C.; Ran, S.; Feng, J.; Zuo, W.

    2015-12-01

    Surface Penetrating Radar (SPR) is a geophysical method that uses electromagnetic field probe the interior structure and lithological variations of a lossy dielectric materials, it performs quite well in dry, icy and shallow-soil environments. The first radar sounding of the subsurface of planet was carried out by Apollo Lunar Sounder Experiment (ALSE) of the Apollo 17 in 1972. ALSE provided very precise information about the moon's topography and revealed structures beneath the surface in both Mare Crisium and Mare Serenitatis. Russian Mars'92 was the first Mars exploration mission that tried to use SPR to explore martian surface, subsurface and ionosphere. Although Mars'96 launch failed in 1996, Russia(Mars'98, cancelled in 1998; Phobos-Grunt, launch failed in 2011), ESA(Mars Express, succeeded in 2003; Netlander, cancelled in 2003; ExoMars 2018) and NASA(MRO, succeeded in 2005; MARS 2020) have been making great effects to send SPR to Mars, trying to search for the existence of groundwater and life in the past 20 years. So far, no Ground Penetrating Radar(GPR) has yet provided in situ observations on the surface of Mars. In December 2013, China's CE-3 lunar rover (Yuto) equipped with a GPR made the first direct measurement of the structure and depth of the lunar soil, and investigation of the lunar crust structure along the rover path. China's Mars Exploration Program also plans to carry the orbiting radar sounder and rover GPR to characterize the nature of subsurface water or ices and the layered structure of shallow subsurface of Mars. SPR can provide diversity of applications for Mars exploration , that are: to map the distribution of solid and liquid water in the upper portions of the Mars' crust; to characterize the subsurface geologic environment; to investigate the planet's subsurface to better understand the evolution and habitability of Mars; to perform the martain ionosphere sounding. Based on SPR's history and achievements, combined with the

  2. Extraction of compositional and hydration information of sulfates from laser-induced plasma spectra recorded under Mars atmospheric conditions - Implications for ChemCam investigations on Curiosity rover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sobron, Pablo, E-mail: pablo.sobron@asc-csa.gc.ca [Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130 (United States); Wang, Alian [Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, Washington University, St. Louis, MO 63130 (United States); Sobron, Francisco [Unidad Asociada UVa-CSIC a traves del Centro de Astrobiologia, Parque Tecnologico de Boecillo, Parcela 203, Boecillo (Valladolid), 47151 (Spain)

    2012-02-15

    Given the volume of spectral data required for providing accurate compositional information and thereby insight in mineralogy and petrology from laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) measurements, fast data processing tools are a must. This is particularly true during the tactical operations of rover-based planetary exploration missions such as the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, which will carry a remote LIBS spectrometer in its science payload. We have developed: an automated fast pre-processing sequence of algorithms for converting a series of LIBS spectra (typically 125) recorded from a single target into a reliable SNR-enhanced spectrum; a dedicated routine to quantify its spectral features; and a set of calibration curves using standard hydrous and multi-cation sulfates. These calibration curves allow deriving the elemental compositions and the degrees of hydration of various hydrous sulfates, one of the two major types of secondary minerals found on Mars. Our quantitative tools are built upon calibration-curve modeling, through the correlation of the elemental concentrations and the peak areas of the atomic emission lines observed in the LIBS spectra of standard samples. At present, we can derive the elemental concentrations of K, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, Al, S, O, and H in sulfates, as well as the hydration degrees of Ca- and Mg-sulfates, from LIBS spectra obtained in both Earth atmosphere and Mars atmospheric conditions in a Planetary Environment and Analysis Chamber (PEACh). In addition, structural information can be potentially obtained for various Fe-sulfates. - Highlights: Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Routines for LIBS spectral data fast automated processing. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Identification of elements and determination of the elemental composition. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Calibration curves for sulfate samples in Earth and Mars atmospheric conditions. Black-Right-Pointing-Pointer Fe curves probably related to the crystalline

  3. Mars Atmospheric Escape Recorded by H, C and O Isotope Ratios in Carbon Dioxide and Water Measured by the Sam Tunable Laser Spectrometer on the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Webster, C. R.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Leshin, L. A.; Atreya, S. K.; Flesch, G. J.; Stern, J.; Christensen, L. E.; Vasavada, A. R.; Owen, T.; Niles, P. B.; hide

    2013-01-01

    Stable isotope ratios in C, H, N, O and S are powerful indicators of a wide variety of planetary geophysical processes that can identify origin, transport, temperature history, radiation exposure, atmospheric escape, environmental habitability and biological activity [2]. For Mars, measurements to date have indicated enrichment in all the heavier isotopes consistent with atmospheric escape processes, but with uncertainty too high to tie the results with the more precise isotopic ratios achieved from SNC meteoritic analyses. We will present results to date of H, C and O isotope ratios in CO2 and H2O made to high precision (few per mil) using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) that is part of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL s Curiosity Rover.

  4. Searching for Life with Rovers: Exploration Methods & Science Results from the 2004 Field Campaign of the "Life in the Atacama" Project and Applications to Future Mars Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cabrol, N. A.a; Wettergreen, D. S.; Whittaker, R.; Grin, E. A.; Moersch, J.; Diaz, G. Chong; Cockell, C.; Coppin, P.; Dohm, J. M.; Fisher, G.

    2005-01-01

    The Life In The Atacama (LITA) project develops and field tests a long-range, solarpowered, automated rover platform (Zo ) and a science payload assembled to search for microbial life in the Atacama desert. Life is barely detectable over most of the driest desert on Earth. Its unique geological, climatic, and biological evolution have created a unique training site for designing and testing exploration strategies and life detection methods for the robotic search for life on Mars.

  5. Nitrogen on Mars: Insights from Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Sutter, B.; Jackson, W. A.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; McKay, Chrisopher P.; Ming, W.; Archer, P. Douglas; Glavin, D. P.; Fairen, A. G.; Mahaffy, Paul R.

    2017-01-01

    Recent detection of nitrate on Mars indicates that nitrogen fixation processes occurred in early martian history. Data collected by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Curiosity Rover can be integrated with Mars analog work in order to better understand the fixation and mobility of nitrogen on Mars, and thus its availability to putative biology. In particular, the relationship between nitrate and other soluble salts may help reveal the timing of nitrogen fixation and post-depositional behavior of nitrate on Mars. In addition, in situ measurements of nitrogen abundance and isotopic composition may be used to model atmospheric conditions on early Mars.

  6. The LISA Pathfinder Mission

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Armano, M; Audley, H; Born, M; Danzmann, K; Diepholz, I; Auger, G; Binetruy, P; Baird, J; Bortoluzzi, D; Brandt, N; Fitzsimons, E; Bursi, A; Caleno, M; Cavalleri, A; Cesarini, A; Dolesi, R; Ferroni, V; Cruise, M; Dunbar, N; Ferraioli, L

    2015-01-01

    LISA Pathfinder (LPF), the second of the European Space Agency's Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology (SMART), is a dedicated technology validation mission for future spaceborne gravitational wave detectors, such as the proposed eLISA mission. LISA Pathfinder, and its scientific payload - the LISA Technology Package - will test, in flight, the critical technologies required for low frequency gravitational wave detection: it will put two test masses in a near-perfect gravitational free-fall and control and measure their motion with unprecedented accuracy. This is achieved through technology comprising inertial sensors, high precision laser metrology, drag-free control and an ultra-precise micro-Newton propulsion system. LISA Pathfinder is due to be launched in mid-2015, with first results on the performance of the system being available 6 months thereafter.The paper introduces the LISA Pathfinder mission, followed by an explanation of the physical principles of measurement concept and associated hardware. We then provide a detailed discussion of the LISA Technology Package, including both the inertial sensor and interferometric readout. As we approach the launch of the LISA Pathfinder, the focus of the development is shifting towards the science operations and data analysis - this is described in the final section of the paper (paper)

  7. Entry, Descent, and Landing Communications for the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abilleira, Fernando; Shidner, Jeremy D.

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), established as the most advanced rover to land on the surface of Mars to date, launched on November 26th, 2011 and arrived to the Martian Gale Crater during the night of August 5th, 2012 (PDT). MSL will investigate whether the landing region was ever suitable to support carbon-based life, and examine rocks, soil, and the atmosphere with a sophisticated suite of tools. This paper addresses the flight system requirement by which the vehicle transmitted indications of the following events using both X-band tones and UHF telemetry to allow identification of probable root causes should a mission anomaly have occurred: Heat-Rejection System (HRS) venting, completion of the cruise stage separation, turn to entry attitude, atmospheric deceleration, bank angle reversal commanded, parachute deployment, heatshield separation, radar ground acquisition, powered descent initiation, rover separation from the descent stage, and rover release. During Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL), the flight system transmitted a UHF telemetry stream adequate to determine the state of the spacecraft (including the presence of faults) at 8 kbps initiating from cruise stage separation through at least one minute after positive indication of rover release on the surface of Mars. The flight system also transmitted X-band semaphore tones from Entry to Landing plus one minute although since MSL was occulted, as predicted, by Mars as seen from the Earth, Direct-To-Earth (DTE) communications were interrupted at approximately is approx. 5 min after Entry ( approximately 130 prior to Landing). The primary data return paths were through the Deep Space Network (DSN) for DTE and the existing Mars network of orbiting assets for UHF, which included the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), Mars Odyssey (ODY), and Mars Express (MEX) elements. These orbiters recorded the telemetry data stream and returned it back to Earth via the DSN. The paper also discusses the total power

  8. Fluvial processes on Mars: Erosion and sedimentation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Squyres, Steven W.

    1988-01-01

    One of the most important discoveries of the Mariner 9 and Viking missions to Mars was evidence of change of the Martian surface by the action of liquid water. From the standpoint of a Mars Rover/Sample Return Mission, fluvial activity on Mars is important in two ways: (1) channel formation has deeply eroded the Martian crust, providing access to relatively undisturbed subsurface units; and (2) much of the material eroded from channels may have been deposited in standing bodies of liquid water. The most striking fluvial erosion features on Mars are the outflow channels. A second type of channel apparently caused by flow of liquid water is the valley systems. These are similar to terrestial drainage systems. The sedimentary deposits of outflow channels are often difficult to identfy. No obvious deposits such as deltaic accumulations are visible in Viking images. Another set of deposits that may be water lain and that date approx. from the epoch of outflow channels are the layered deposits in the Valles Marineris. From the standpoint of a Mars Rover/Sample Return mission, the problem with all of these water-lain sediments is their age, or rather the lack of it.

  9. Embedded clays and sulfates in Meridiani Planum, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Flahaut, J.D.; Carter, J.; Poulet, F.; Bibring, J.P.; van Westrenen, W.; Davies, G.R.; Murchie, S.L.

    2014-01-01

    The area of Meridiani Planum on Mars became of particular interest after the detection of coarse-grained, gray hematite, which led to the choice of this region as final landing site for the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. Multiple additional minerals have since been detected in the region, both

  10. Pathfinder-Plus takes off on flight in Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on a flight over Hawaii in 1998. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non-stop for at least 4 days

  11. Measurements of energetic particle radiation in transit to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeitlin, C; Hassler, D M; Cucinotta, F A; Ehresmann, B; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R F; Brinza, D E; Kang, S; Weigle, G; Böttcher, S; Böhm, E; Burmeister, S; Guo, J; Köhler, J; Martin, C; Posner, A; Rafkin, S; Reitz, G

    2013-05-31

    The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, containing the Curiosity rover, was launched to Mars on 26 November 2011, and for most of the 253-day, 560-million-kilometer cruise to Mars, the Radiation Assessment Detector made detailed measurements of the energetic particle radiation environment inside the spacecraft. These data provide insights into the radiation hazards that would be associated with a human mission to Mars. We report measurements of the radiation dose, dose equivalent, and linear energy transfer spectra. The dose equivalent for even the shortest round-trip with current propulsion systems and comparable shielding is found to be 0.66 ± 0.12 sievert.

  12. Compositional variations in sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale crater, Mars, from visible-shortwave infrared spectroscopy and comparison with ground truth from the Curiosity rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, M. G. A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Minson, S. E.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ayoub, F.; Fraeman, A. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Bridges, N. T.

    2017-12-01

    During its ascent up Mount Sharp, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover traversed the Bagnold Dune Field. We model sand modal mineralogy and grain size at four locations near the rover traverse, using orbital shortwave infrared single-scattering albedo spectra and a Markov chain Monte Carlo implementation of Hapke's radiative transfer theory to fully constrain uncertainties and permitted solutions. These predictions, evaluated against in situ measurements at one site from the Curiosity rover, show that X-ray diffraction-measured mineralogy of the basaltic sands is within the 95% confidence interval of model predictions. However, predictions are relatively insensitive to grain size and are nonunique, especially when modeling the composition of minerals with solid solutions. We find an overall basaltic mineralogy and show subtle spatial variations in composition in and around the Bagnold Dunes, consistent with a mafic enrichment of sands with cumulative aeolian-transport distance by sorting of olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase grains. Furthermore, the large variations in Fe and Mg abundances ( 20 wt %) at the Bagnold Dunes suggest that compositional variability may be enhanced by local mixing of well-sorted sand with proximal sand sources. Our estimates demonstrate a method for orbital quantification of composition with rigorous uncertainty determination and provide key constraints for interpreting in situ measurements of compositional variability within Martian aeolian sandstones.

  13. Compositional variations in sands of the Bagnold Dunes, Gale Crater, Mars, from visible-shortwave infrared spectroscopy and comparison with ground truth from the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, Mathieu G.A.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Minson, Sarah E.; Arvidson, R. E.; Ayoub, F.; Fraeman, A. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Bridges, N. T.

    2017-01-01

    During its ascent up Mount Sharp, the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover traversed the Bagnold Dune Field. We model sand modal mineralogy and grain size at four locations near the rover traverse, using orbital shortwave infrared single scattering albedo spectra and a Markov-Chain Monte Carlo implementation of Hapke's radiative transfer theory to fully constrain uncertainties and permitted solutions. These predictions, evaluated against in situ measurements at one site from the Curiosity rover, show that XRD-measured mineralogy of the basaltic sands is within the 95% confidence interval of model predictions. However, predictions are relatively insensitive to grain size and are non-unique, especially when modeling the composition of minerals with solid solutions. We find an overall basaltic mineralogy and show subtle spatial variations in composition in and around the Bagnold dunes, consistent with a mafic enrichment of sands with cumulative transport distance by sorting of olivine, pyroxene, and plagioclase grains during aeolian saltation. Furthermore, the large variations in Fe and Mg abundances (~20 wt%) at the Bagnold Dunes suggest that compositional variability induced by wind sorting may be enhanced by local mixing with proximal sand sources. Our estimates demonstrate a method for orbital quantification of composition with rigorous uncertainty determination and provide key constraints for interpreting in situ measurements of compositional variability within martian aeolian sandstones.

  14. Potential Precursor Compounds for Chlorohydrocarbons Detected in Gale Crater, Mars, by the SAM Instrument Suite on the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Kristen E.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Freissinet, Caroline; Glavin, Daniel P.; Kotrc, Benjamin; Francois, Pascaline; Summons, Roger E.

    2016-01-01

    The detection of chlorinated organic compounds in near-surface sedimentary rocks by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite aboard the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover represents an important step toward characterizing habitable environments on Mars. However, this discovery also raises questions about the identity and source of their precursor compounds and the processes by which they become chlorinated. Here we present the results of analog experiments, conducted under conditions similar to SAM gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analyses, in which we pyrolyzed potential precursor compounds in the presence of various Cl salts and Fe oxides that have been identified in Martian sediments. While chloromethanes could not be unambiguously identified, 1,2-dichloropropane (1,2-DCP), which is one of the chlorinated compounds identified in SAM data, is formed from the chlorination of aliphatic precursors. Additionally, propanol produced more 1,2-DCP than nonfunctionalized aliphatics such as propane or hexanes. Chlorinated benzenes ranging from chlorobenzene to hexachlorobenzene were identified in experiments with benzene carboxylic acids but not with benzene or toluene. Lastly, the distribution of chlorinated benzenes depended on both the substrate species and the nature and concentration of the Cl salt. Ca and Mg perchlorate, both of which release O2 in addition to Cl2 and HCl upon pyrolysis, formed less chlorobenzene relative to the sum of all chlorinated benzenes than in experiments with ferric chloride. FeCl3, a Lewis acid, catalyzes chlorination but does not aid combustion. Accordingly, both the precursor chemistry and sample mineralogy exert important controls on the distribution of chlorinated organics.

  15. Comparative Field Tests of Pressurised Rover Prototypes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mann, G. A.; Wood, N. B.; Clarke, J. D.; Piechochinski, S.; Bamsey, M.; Laing, J. H.

    The conceptual designs, interior layouts and operational performances of three pressurised rover prototypes - Aonia, ARES and Everest - were field tested during a recent simulation at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah. A human factors experiment, in which the same crew of three executed the same simulated science mission in each of the three vehicles, yielded comparative data on the capacity of each vehicle to safely and comfortably carry explorers away from the main base, enter and exit the vehicle in spacesuits, perform science tasks in the field, and manage geological and biological samples. As well as offering recommendations for design improvements for specific vehicles, the results suggest that a conventional Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) would not be suitable for analog field work; that a pressurised docking tunnel to the main habitat is essential; that better provisions for spacesuit storage are required; and that a crew consisting of one driver/navigator and two field science crew specialists may be optimal. From a field operations viewpoint, a recurring conflict between rover and habitat crews at the time of return to the habitat was observed. An analysis of these incidents leads to proposed refinements of operational protocols, specific crew training for rover returns and again points to the need for a pressurised docking tunnel. Sound field testing, circulating of results, and building the lessons learned into new vehicles is advocated as a way of producing ever higher fidelity rover analogues.

  16. Assessment of environments for Mars Science Laboratory entry, descent, and surface operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Chen, Allen; Barnes, Jeffrey R.; Burkhart, P. Daniel; Cantor, Bruce A.; Dwyer-Cianciolo, Alicia M.; Fergason, Robini L.; Hinson, David P.; Justh, Hilary L.; Kass, David M.; Lewis, Stephen R.; Mischna, Michael A.; Murphy, James R.; Rafkin, Scot C.R.; Tyler, Daniel; Withers, Paul G.

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory mission aims to land a car-sized rover on Mars' surface and operate it for at least one Mars year in order to assess whether its field area was ever capable of supporting microbial life. Here we describe the approach used to identify, characterize, and assess environmental risks to the landing and rover surface operations. Novel entry, descent, and landing approaches will be used to accurately deliver the 900-kg rover, including the ability to sense and "fly out" deviations from a best-estimate atmospheric state. A joint engineering and science team developed methods to estimate the range of potential atmospheric states at the time of arrival and to quantitatively assess the spacecraft's performance and risk given its particular sensitivities to atmospheric conditions. Numerical models are used to calculate the atmospheric parameters, with observations used to define model cases, tune model parameters, and validate results. This joint program has resulted in a spacecraft capable of accessing, with minimal risk, the four finalist sites chosen for their scientific merit. The capability to operate the landed rover over the latitude range of candidate landing sites, and for all seasons, was verified against an analysis of surface environmental conditions described here. These results, from orbital and model data sets, also drive engineering simulations of the rover's thermal state that are used to plan surface operations.

  17. Telecommunications for Mars Rovers and Robotic Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horne, W. D.; Hastrup, R.; Cesarone, R.

    1997-01-01

    The Mars exploration program of NASA and the international community will evolve from an early emphasis on orbital remote sensing toward in-situ science activity on, or just above, the Martian surface.

  18. Telecommunications for Mars Rovers and Robotic Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horne, W. D.; Hastrup, R.; Cesarone, R.

    1997-01-01

    The Mars exploration program of NASA and the international community will evolve from an early emphasis on orbital remote sensing toward in situ science activity on, or just above, the Martian surface.

  19. Rover Technologies

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Develop and mature rover technologies supporting robotic exploration including rover design, controlling rovers over time delay and for exploring . Technology...

  20. Designing and Implementing a Distributed System Architecture for the Mars Rover Mission Planning Software (Maestro)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goldgof, Gregory M.

    2005-01-01

    Distributed systems allow scientists from around the world to plan missions concurrently, while being updated on the revisions of their colleagues in real time. However, permitting multiple clients to simultaneously modify a single data repository can quickly lead to data corruption or inconsistent states between users. Since our message broker, the Java Message Service, does not ensure that messages will be received in the order they were published, we must implement our own numbering scheme to guarantee that changes to mission plans are performed in the correct sequence. Furthermore, distributed architectures must ensure that as new users connect to the system, they synchronize with the database without missing any messages or falling into an inconsistent state. Robust systems must also guarantee that all clients will remain synchronized with the database even in the case of multiple client failure, which can occur at any time due to lost network connections or a user's own system instability. The final design for the distributed system behind the Mars rover mission planning software fulfills all of these requirements and upon completion will be deployed to MER at the end of 2005 as well as Phoenix (2007) and MSL (2009).

  1. Preliminary Dynamic Feasibility and Analysis of a Spherical, Wind-Driven (Tumbleweed), Martian Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flick, John J.; Toniolo, Matthew D.

    2005-01-01

    The process and findings are presented from a preliminary feasibility study examining the dynamics characteristics of a spherical wind-driven (or Tumbleweed) rover, which is intended for exploration of the Martian surface. The results of an initial feasibility study involving several worst-case mobility situations that a Tumbleweed rover might encounter on the surface of Mars are discussed. Additional topics include the evaluation of several commercially available analysis software packages that were examined as possible platforms for the development of a Monte Carlo Tumbleweed mission simulation tool. This evaluation lead to the development of the Mars Tumbleweed Monte Carlo Simulator (or Tumbleweed Simulator) using the Vortex physics software package from CM-Labs, Inc. Discussions regarding the development and evaluation of the Tumbleweed Simulator, as well as the results of a preliminary analysis using the tool are also presented. Finally, a brief conclusions section is presented.

  2. Design of Mobility System for Ground Model of Planetary Exploration Rover

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Younkyu Kim

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available In recent years, a number of missions have been planned and conducted worldwide on the planets such as Mars, which involves the unmanned robotic exploration with the use of rover. The rover is an important system for unmanned planetary exploration, performing the locomotion and sample collection and analysis at the exploration target of the planetary surface designated by the operator. This study investigates the development of mobility system for the rover ground model necessary to the planetary surface exploration for the benefit of future planetary exploration mission in Korea. First, the requirements for the rover mobility system are summarized and a new mechanism is proposed for a stable performance on rough terrain which consists of the passive suspension system with 8 wheeled double 4-bar linkage (DFBL, followed by the performance evaluation for the mechanism of the mobility system based on the shape design and simulation. The proposed mobility system DFBL was compared with the Rocker-Bogie suspension system of US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration and 8 wheeled mobility system CRAB8 developed in Switzerland, using the simulation to demonstrate the superiority with respect to the stability of locomotion. On the basis of the simulation results, a general system configuration was proposed and designed for the rover manufacture.

  3. Sedimentary processes of the Bagnold Dunes: Implications for the eolian rock record of Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Ewing, R. C.; Lapotre, M. G. A.; Lewis, K. W.; Day, M.; Stein, N.; Rubin, D. M.; Sullivan, R.; Banham, S.; Lamb, M. P.; Bridges, N. T.; Gupta, S.; Fischer, W. W.

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity visited two active wind-blown sand dunes within Gale crater, Mars, which provided the first ground-based opportunity to compare Martian and terrestrial eolian dune sedimentary processes and study a modern analog for the Martian eolian rock record. Orbital and rover images of these dunes reveal terrestrial-like and uniquely Martian processes. The presence of grainfall, grainflow, and impact ripples resembled terrestrial dunes. Impact ripples were pre...

  4. Sedimentary processes of the Bagnold Dunes: Implications for the eolian rock record of Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Ewing, R. C.; Lapotre, M. G. A.; Lewis, K. W.; Day, M.; Stein, N.; Rubin, D. M.; Sullivan, R.; Banham, S.; Lamb, M. P.; Bridges, N. T.; Gupta, S.; Fischer, W. W.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity visited two active wind‐blown sand dunes within Gale crater, Mars, which provided the first ground‐based opportunity to compare Martian and terrestrial eolian dune sedimentary processes and study a modern analog for the Martian eolian rock record. Orbital and rover images of these dunes reveal terrestrial‐like and uniquely Martian processes. The presence of grainfall, grainflow, and impact ripples resembled terrestrial dunes. Impact ripples...

  5. Asymptotic Parachute Performance Sensitivity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Way, David W.; Powell, Richard W.; Chen, Allen; Steltzner, Adam D.

    2006-01-01

    In 2010, the Mars Science Laboratory mission will pioneer the next generation of robotic Entry, Descent, and Landing systems by delivering the largest and most capable rover to date to the surface of Mars. In addition to landing more mass than any other mission to Mars, Mars Science Laboratory will also provide scientists with unprecedented access to regions of Mars that have been previously unreachable. By providing an Entry, Descent, and Landing system capable of landing at altitudes as high as 2 km above the reference gravitational equipotential surface, or areoid, as defined by the Mars Orbiting Laser Altimeter program, Mars Science Laboratory will demonstrate sufficient performance to land on 83% of the planet s surface. By contrast, the highest altitude landing to date on Mars has been the Mars Exploration Rover at 1.3 km below the areoid. The coupling of this improved altitude performance with latitude limits as large as 60 degrees off of the equator and a precise delivery to within 10 km of a surface target, will allow the science community to select the Mars Science Laboratory landing site from thousands of scientifically interesting possibilities. In meeting these requirements, Mars Science Laboratory is extending the limits of the Entry, Descent, and Landing technologies qualified by the Mars Viking, Mars Pathfinder, and Mars Exploration Rover missions. Specifically, the drag deceleration provided by a Viking-heritage 16.15 m supersonic Disk-Gap-Band parachute in the thin atmosphere of Mars is insufficient, at the altitudes and ballistic coefficients under consideration by the Mars Science Laboratory project, to maintain necessary altitude performance and timeline margin. This paper defines and discusses the asymptotic parachute performance observed in Monte Carlo simulation and performance analysis and its effect on the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing architecture.

  6. MEDA, The New Instrument for Mars Environment Analysis for the Mars 2020 Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreno-Alvarez, Jose F.; Pena-Godino, Antonio; Rodriguez-Manfredi, Jose Antonio; Cordoba, Elizabeth; MEDA Team

    2016-08-01

    The Mars 2020 rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Designed to advance high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, the mission will address key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission will also provide opportunities to gather knowledge and demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions to Mars.The Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer (MEDA) is an integrated full suite of sensors designed to address the Mars 2020 mission objectives of characterization of dust size and morphology and surface weather measurements.MEDA system consists of one control unit and 10 separated sensor enclosures distributed in different positions along the Mars 2020 rover. MEDA is composed of an ARM-based control computer with its flight software application, two wind sensors including mixed ASICs inside, five air temperature sensors, one sky pointing camera complemented with 16 photo- detectors looking up and around, one thermal infrared sensor using five measurement bands, one relative humidity sensor, one pressure sensor and the harness that interconnects all of them. It is a complex system intended to operate in one of the harshest environments possible, the Mars surface, for many years to come.This will become a short term reality thanks to the combination of a strong international science team driving the science and system requirements working together with a powerful industrial organization to design and build the instrument. The instrument is being built right now, with its Critical Design Review at the end of 2016, and the flight model to be provided in 2018.This paper summarizes the main scientific objective of the MEDA instrument, the links between the Mission and the MEDA science objectives, and the challenging environmental Mars requirements. It will then focus on the engineered definition of the instrument, showing the overall

  7. Mars 2024/2026 Pathfinder Mission: Mars Architectures, Systems, & Technologies for Exploration and Resources

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Integrate In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) sub-systems and examine advanced capabilities and technologies to verify Mars 2024 Forward architecture precursor...

  8. Reconfigurable Autonomy for Future Planetary Rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burroughes, Guy

    Extra-terrestrial Planetary rover systems are uniquely remote, placing constraints in regard to communication, environmental uncertainty, and limited physical resources, and requiring a high level of fault tolerance and resistance to hardware degradation. This thesis presents a novel self-reconfiguring autonomous software architecture designed to meet the needs of extraterrestrial planetary environments. At runtime it can safely reconfigure low-level control systems, high-level decisional autonomy systems, and managed software architecture. The architecture can perform automatic Verification and Validation of self-reconfiguration at run-time, and enables a system to be self-optimising, self-protecting, and self-healing. A novel self-monitoring system, which is non-invasive, efficient, tunable, and autonomously deploying, is also presented. The architecture was validated through the use-case of a highly autonomous extra-terrestrial planetary exploration rover. Three major forms of reconfiguration were demonstrated and tested: first, high level adjustment of system internal architecture and goal; second, software module modification; and third, low level alteration of hardware control in response to degradation of hardware and environmental change. The architecture was demonstrated to be robust and effective in a Mars sample return mission use-case testing the operational aspects of a novel, reconfigurable guidance, navigation, and control system for a planetary rover, all operating in concert through a scenario that required reconfiguration of all elements of the system.

  9. Mars Science Laboratory Entry Guidance Improvements for Mars 2018 (DRAFT)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia-Llama, Eduardo; Winski, Richard G.; Shidner, Jeremy D.; Ivanov, Mark C.; Grover, Myron R.; Prakash, Ravi

    2011-01-01

    In 2011, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) will be launched in a mission to deliver the largest and most capable rover to date to the surface of Mars. A follow on MSL-derived mission, referred to as Mars 2018, is planned for 2018. Mars 2018 goals include performance enhancements of the Entry, Descent and Landing over that of its predecessor MSL mission of 2011. This paper will discuss the main elements of the modified 2018 EDL preliminary design that will increase performance on the entry phase of the mission. In particular, these elements will increase the parachute deploy altitude to allow for more time margin during the subsequent descent and landing phases and reduce the delivery ellipse size at parachute deploy through modifications in the entry reference trajectory design, guidance trigger logic design, and the effect of additional navigation hardware.

  10. Mimicking Mars: a vacuum simulation chamber for testing environmental instrumentation for Mars exploration.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sobrado, J M; Martín-Soler, J; Martín-Gago, J A

    2014-03-01

    We have built a Mars environmental simulation chamber, designed to test new electromechanical devices and instruments that could be used in space missions. We have developed this environmental system aiming at validating the meteorological station Rover Environment Monitoring Station of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission currently installed on Curiosity rover. The vacuum chamber has been built following a modular configuration and operates at pressures ranging from 1000 to 10(-6) mbars, and it is possible to control the gas composition (the atmosphere) within this pressure range. The device (or sample) under study can be irradiated by an ultraviolet source and its temperature can be controlled in the range from 108 to 423 K. As an important improvement with respect to other simulation chambers, the atmospheric gas into the experimental chamber is cooled at the walls by the use of liquid-nitrogen heat exchangers. This chamber incorporates a dust generation mechanism designed to study Martian-dust deposition while modifying the conditions of temperature, and UV irradiated.

  11. Aeolian sedimentary processes at the Bagnold Dunes, Mars: Implications for modern dune dynamics and sedimentary structures in the aeolian stratigraphic record of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ewing, Ryan C.; Bridges, Nathan T.; Sullivan, Rob; Lapotre, Mathieu G. A.; Fischer, Woodward W.; Lamb, Mike P.; Rubin, David M.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Gupta, Sanjeev

    2016-04-01

    Wind-blown sand dunes are ubiquitous on the surface of Mars and are a recognized component of the martian stratigraphic record. Our current knowledge of the aeolian sedimentary processes that determine dune morphology, drive dune dynamics, and create aeolian cross-stratification are based upon orbital studies of ripple and dune morphodynamics, rover observations of stratification on Mars, Earth analogs, and experimental and theoretical studies of sand movement under Martian conditions. In-situ observations of sand dunes (informally called the Bagnold Dunes) by Curiosity Rover in Gale Crater, Mars provide the first opportunity to make observations of dunes from the grain-to-dune scale thereby filling the gap in knowledge between theory and orbital observations and refining our understanding of the martian aeolian stratigraphic record. We use the suite of cameras on Curiosity, including Navigation Camera (Navcam), Mast Camera (Mastcam) and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), to make observations of the Bagnold Dunes. Measurements of sedimentary structures are made where stereo images are available. Observations indicate that structures generated by gravity-driven processes on the dune lee slopes, such as grainflow and grainfall, are similar to the suite of aeolian sedimentary structures observed on Earth and should be present and recognizable in Mars' aeolian stratigraphic record. Structures formed by traction-driven processes deviate significantly from those found on Earth. The dune hosts centimeter-scale wind ripples and large, meter-scale ripples, which are not found on Earth. The large ripples migrate across the depositional, lee slopes of the dune, which implies that these structures should be present in Mars' stratigraphic record and may appear similar to compound-dune stratification.The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover Team is acknowledged for their support of this work.

  12. Strategic Team AI Path Plans: Probabilistic Pathfinding

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tng C. H. John

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper proposes a novel method to generate strategic team AI pathfinding plans for computer games and simulations using probabilistic pathfinding. This method is inspired by genetic algorithms (Russell and Norvig, 2002, in that, a fitness function is used to test the quality of the path plans. The method generates high-quality path plans by eliminating the low-quality ones. The path plans are generated by probabilistic pathfinding, and the elimination is done by a fitness test of the path plans. This path plan generation method has the ability to generate variation or different high-quality paths, which is desired for games to increase replay values. This work is an extension of our earlier work on team AI: probabilistic pathfinding (John et al., 2006. We explore ways to combine probabilistic pathfinding and genetic algorithm to create a new method to generate strategic team AI pathfinding plans.

  13. Solar discrepancies: Mars exploration and the curious problem of inter-planetary time

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mirmalek, Zara Lenora

    The inter-planetary work system for the NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) mission entailed coordinating work between two corporally diverse workgroups, human beings and solar-powered robots, and between two planets with asynchronous axial rotations. The rotation of Mars takes approximately 24 hours and 40 minutes while for Earth the duration is 24 hours, a differential that was synchronized on Earth by setting a clock forward forty minutes every day. The hours of the day during which the solar-powered rovers were operational constituted the central consideration in the relationship between time and work around which the schedule of MER science operations were organized. And, the operational hours for the rovers were precarious for at least two reasons: on the one hand, the possibility of a sudden and inexplicable malfunction was always present; on the other, the rovers were powered by solar-charged batteries that could simply (and would eventually) fail. Thus, the timetable for the inter-planetary work system was scheduled according to the daily cycle of the sun on Mars and a version of clock time called Mars time was used to keep track of the movement of the sun on Mars. While the MER mission was a success, it does not necessarily follow that all aspects of mission operations were successful. One of the central problems that plagued the organization of mission operations was precisely this construct called "Mars time" even while it appeared that the use of Mars time was unproblematic and central to the success of the mission. In this dissertation, Zara Mirmalek looks at the construction of Mars time as a tool and as a social process. Of particular interest are the consequences of certain (ostensibly foundational) assumptions about the relationship between clock time and the conduct of work that contributed to making the relationship between Mars time and work on Earth appear operational. Drawing on specific examples of breakdowns of Mars time as a support

  14. Curiosity's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Investigation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.; Yingst, R. Aileen; Ravine, Michael A.; Caplinger, Michael A.; Maki, Justin N.; Ghaemi, F. Tony; Schaffner, Jacob A.; Bell, James F.; Edwards, Laurence J.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Heydari, Ezat; Kah, Linda C.; Lemmon, Mark T.; Minitti, Michelle E.; Olson, Timothy S.; Parker, Timothy J.; Rowland, Scott K.; Schieber, Juergen; Sullivan, Robert J.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Thomas, Peter C.; Jensen, Elsa H.; Simmonds, John J.; Sengstacken, Aaron J.; Wilson, Reg G.; Goetz, Walter

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) investigation will use a 2-megapixel color camera with a focusable macro lens aboard the rover, Curiosity, to investigate the stratigraphy and grain-scale texture, structure, mineralogy, and morphology of geologic materials in northwestern Gale crater. Of particular interest is the stratigraphic record of a ?5 km thick layered rock sequence exposed on the slopes of Aeolis Mons (also known as Mount Sharp). The instrument consists of three parts, a camera head mounted on the turret at the end of a robotic arm, an electronics and data storage assembly located inside the rover body, and a calibration target mounted on the robotic arm shoulder azimuth actuator housing. MAHLI can acquire in-focus images at working distances from ?2.1 cm to infinity. At the minimum working distance, image pixel scale is ?14 μm per pixel and very coarse silt grains can be resolved. At the working distance of the Mars Exploration Rover Microscopic Imager cameras aboard Spirit and Opportunity, MAHLI?s resolution is comparable at ?30 μm per pixel. Onboard capabilities include autofocus, auto-exposure, sub-framing, video imaging, Bayer pattern color interpolation, lossy and lossless compression, focus merging of up to 8 focus stack images, white light and longwave ultraviolet (365 nm) illumination of nearby subjects, and 8 gigabytes of non-volatile memory data storage.

  15. Pathfinder-Plus on flight over Hawaiian island N'ihau

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on a flight over the Hawaiian island of N'ihau in 1998. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non

  16. Pathfinder-Plus on flight near Hawaiian island N'ihau

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on a flight with the Hawaiian island of N'ihau in the background. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and

  17. Moon-Mars Analogue Mission (EuroMoonMars 1 at the Mars Desert Research Station)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lia Schlacht, Irene; Voute, Sara; Irwin, Stacy; Foing, Bernard H.; Stoker, Carol R.; Westenberg, Artemis

    The Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) is situated in an analogue habitat-based Martian environment, designed for missions to determine the knowledge and equipment necessary for successful future planetary exploration. For this purpose, a crew of six people worked and lived together in a closed-system environment. They performed habitability experiments within the dwelling and conducted Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVAs) for two weeks (20 Feb to 6 Mar 2010) and were guided externally by mission support, called "Earth" within the simulation. Crew 91, an international, mixed-gender, and multidisciplinary group, has completed several studies during the first mission of the EuroMoonMars campaign. The crew is composed of an Italian designer and human factors specialist, a Dutch geologist, an American physicist, and three French aerospace engineering students from Ecole de l'Air, all with ages between 21 and 31. Each crewmember worked on personal research and fulfilled a unique role within the group: commander, executive officer, engineer, health and safety officer, scientist, and journalist. The expedition focused on human factors, performance, communication, health and safety pro-tocols, and EVA procedures. The engineers' projects aimed to improve rover manoeuvrability, far-field communication, and data exchanges between the base and the rover or astronaut. The crew physicist evaluated dust control methods inside and outside the habitat. The geologist tested planetary geological sampling procedures. The crew designer investigated performance and overall habitability in the context of the Mars Habitability Experiment from the Extreme-Design group. During the mission the crew also participated in the Food Study and in the Ethospace study, managed by external groups. The poster will present crew dynamics, scientific results and daily schedule from a Human Factors perspective. Main co-sponsors and collaborators: ILEWG, ESA ESTEC, NASA Ames, Ecole de l'Air, SKOR, Extreme

  18. OnSight: Multi-platform Visualization of the Surface of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abercrombie, S. P.; Menzies, A.; Winter, A.; Clausen, M.; Duran, B.; Jorritsma, M.; Goddard, C.; Lidawer, A.

    2017-12-01

    A key challenge of planetary geology is to develop an understanding of an environment that humans cannot (yet) visit. Instead, scientists rely on visualizations created from images sent back by robotic explorers, such as the Curiosity Mars rover. OnSight is a multi-platform visualization tool that helps scientists and engineers to visualize the surface of Mars. Terrain visualization allows scientists to understand the scale and geometric relationships of the environment around the Curiosity rover, both for scientific understanding and for tactical consideration in safely operating the rover. OnSight includes a web-based 2D/3D visualization tool, as well as an immersive mixed reality visualization. In addition, OnSight offers a novel feature for communication among the science team. Using the multiuser feature of OnSight, scientists can meet virtually on Mars, to discuss geology in a shared spatial context. Combining web-based visualization with immersive visualization allows OnSight to leverage strengths of both platforms. This project demonstrates how 3D visualization can be adapted to either an immersive environment or a computer screen, and will discuss advantages and disadvantages of both platforms.

  19. Martian Cratering 7: The Role of Impact Gardening

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hartmann, William K.; Anguita, Jorge; de la Casa, Miguel A.; Berman, Daniel C.; Ryan, Eileen V.

    2001-01-01

    Viking-era researchers concluded that impact craters of diameter Dduricrust at Viking and Pathfinder sites demonstrates the cementing process. These results affect lander/rover searches for intact ancient deposits. The upper tens of meters of exposed Noachian units cannot survive today in a pristine state. Intact Noachian deposits might best be found in cliffside strata, or in recently exhumed regions. The hematite-rich areas found in Terra Meridiani by the Mars Global Surveyor are probably examples of the latter.

  20. Low computation vision-based navigation for a Martian rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gavin, Andrew S.; Brooks, Rodney A.

    1994-01-01

    Construction and design details of the Mobot Vision System, a small, self-contained, mobile vision system, are presented. This system uses the view from the top of a small, roving, robotic vehicle to supply data that is processed in real-time to safely navigate the surface of Mars. A simple, low-computation algorithm for constructing a 3-D navigational map of the Martian environment to be used by the rover is discussed.

  1. MISSION PROFILE AND DESIGN CHALLENGES FOR MARS LANDING EXPLORATION

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Dong

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available An orbiter and a descent module will be delivered to Mars in the Chinese first Mars exploration mission. The descent module is composed of a landing platform and a rover. The module will be released into the atmosphere by the orbiter and make a controlled landing on Martian surface. After landing, the rover will egress from the platform to start its science mission. The rover payloads mainly include the subsurface radar, terrain camera, multispectral camera, magnetometer, anemometer to achieve the scientific investigation of the terrain, soil characteristics, material composition, magnetic field, atmosphere, etc. The landing process is divided into three phases (entry phase, parachute descent phase and powered descent phase, which are full of risks. There exit lots of indefinite parameters and design constrain to affect the selection of the landing sites and phase switch (mortaring the parachute, separating the heat shield and cutting off the parachute. A number of new technologies (disk-gap-band parachute, guidance and navigation, etc. need to be developed. Mars and Earth have gravity and atmosphere conditions that are significantly different from one another. Meaningful environmental conditions cannot be recreated terrestrially on earth. A full-scale flight validation on earth is difficult. Therefore the end-to-end simulation and some critical subsystem test must be considered instead. The challenges above and the corresponding design solutions are introduced in this paper, which can provide reference for the Mars exploration mission.

  2. Database and Library Development of Organic Species using Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectral Measurements in Support of the Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garcia, Raul; Mahaffy, Paul; Misra, Prabhakar

    2010-02-01

    Our work involves the development of an organic contaminants database that will allow us to determine which compounds are found here on Earth and would be inadvertently detected in the Mars soil and gaseous samples as impurities. It will be used for the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrumentation analysis in the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover scheduled for launch in 2011. In order to develop a comprehensive target database, we utilize the NIST Mass Spectral Library, Automated Mass Spectral Deconvolution and Identification System (AMDIS) and Ion Fingerprint Deconvolution (IFD) software to analyze the GC-MS data. We have analyzed data from commercial samples, such as paint and polymers, which have not been implemented into the rover and are now analyzing actual data from pyrolyzation on the rover. We have successfully developed an initial target compound database that will aid SAM in determining whether the components being analyzed come from Mars or are contaminants from either the rover itself or the Earth environment and are continuing to make improvements and adding data to the target contaminants database. )

  3. 2D/3D Visual Tracker for Rover Mast

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bajracharya, Max; Madison, Richard W.; Nesnas, Issa A.; Bandari, Esfandiar; Kunz, Clayton; Deans, Matt; Bualat, Maria

    2006-01-01

    A visual-tracker computer program controls an articulated mast on a Mars rover to keep a designated feature (a target) in view while the rover drives toward the target, avoiding obstacles. Several prior visual-tracker programs have been tested on rover platforms; most require very small and well-estimated motion between consecutive image frames a requirement that is not realistic for a rover on rough terrain. The present visual-tracker program is designed to handle large image motions that lead to significant changes in feature geometry and photometry between frames. When a point is selected in one of the images acquired from stereoscopic cameras on the mast, a stereo triangulation algorithm computes a three-dimensional (3D) location for the target. As the rover moves, its body-mounted cameras feed images to a visual-odometry algorithm, which tracks two-dimensional (2D) corner features and computes their old and new 3D locations. The algorithm rejects points, the 3D motions of which are inconsistent with a rigid-world constraint, and then computes the apparent change in the rover pose (i.e., translation and rotation). The mast pan and tilt angles needed to keep the target centered in the field-of-view of the cameras (thereby minimizing the area over which the 2D-tracking algorithm must operate) are computed from the estimated change in the rover pose, the 3D position of the target feature, and a model of kinematics of the mast. If the motion between the consecutive frames is still large (i.e., 3D tracking was unsuccessful), an adaptive view-based matching technique is applied to the new image. This technique uses correlation-based template matching, in which a feature template is scaled by the ratio between the depth in the original template and the depth of pixels in the new image. This is repeated over the entire search window and the best correlation results indicate the appropriate match. The program could be a core for building application programs for systems

  4. The Sample Analysis at Mars Investigation and Instrument Suite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul; Webster, Christopher R.; Conrad, Pamela G.; Arvey, Robert; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer L.; Chalmers, Robert A.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Errigo, Therese; hide

    2012-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) addresses the chemical and isotopic composition of the atmosphere and volatiles extracted from solid samples. The SAM investigation is designed to contribute substantially to the mission goal of quantitatively assessing the habitability of Mars as an essential step in the search for past or present life on Mars. SAM is a 40 kg instrument suite located in the interior of MSL's Curiosity rover. The SAM instruments are a quadrupole mass spectrometer, a tunable laser spectrometer, and a 6-column gas chromatograph all coupled through solid and gas processing systems to provide complementary information on the same samples. The SAM suite is able to measure a suite of light isotopes and to analyze volatiles directly from the atmosphere or thermally released from solid samples. In addition to measurements of simple inorganic compounds and noble gases SAM will conduct a sensitive search for organic compounds with either thermal or chemical extraction from sieved samples delivered by the sample processing system on the Curiosity rover's robotic arm,

  5. The instrumental blank of the Mars Science Laboratory alpha particle X-ray spectrometer

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Campbell, J.L., E-mail: icampbel@uoguelph.ca [Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1 (Canada)

    2012-10-01

    The alpha particle X-ray spectrometers on the Mars exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity accomplished extensive elemental analysis of the Martian surface through a combination of XRF and PIXE. An advanced APXS is now part of the Mars Science Laboratory's Curiosity rover. APXS spectra contain contributions which enhance elemental peak areas but which do not arise from these elements within the sample under study, thereby introducing error into derived concentrations. A detailed examination of these effects in the MSL APXS enables us to test two schemes for making the necessary corrections.

  6. Terrain Safety Assessment in Support of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kipp, Devin

    2012-01-01

    In August 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission will pioneer the next generation of robotic Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) systems by delivering the largest and most capable rover to date to the surface of Mars. The process to select the MSL landing site took over five years and began with over 50 initial candidate sites from which four finalist sites were chosen. The four finalist sites were examined in detail to assess overall science merit, EDL safety, and rover traversability on the surface. Ultimately, the engineering assessments demonstrated a high level of safety and robustness at all four finalist sites and differences in the assessment across those sites were small enough that neither EDL safety nor rover traversability considerations could significantly discriminate among the final four sites. Thus the MSL landing site at Gale Crater was selected from among the four finalists primarily on the basis of science considerations.

  7. Correlating multispectral imaging and compositional data from the Mars Exploration Rovers and implications for Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Ryan B.; Bell, James F.

    2013-03-01

    In an effort to infer compositional information about distant targets based on multispectral imaging data, we investigated methods of relating Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Pancam multispectral remote sensing observations to in situ alpha particle X-ray spectrometer (APXS)-derived elemental abundances and Mössbauer (MB)-derived abundances of Fe-bearing phases at the MER field sites in Gusev crater and Meridiani Planum. The majority of the partial correlation coefficients between these data sets were not statistically significant. Restricting the targets to those that were abraded by the rock abrasion tool (RAT) led to improved Pearson’s correlations, most notably between the red-blue ratio (673 nm/434 nm) and Fe3+-bearing phases, but partial correlations were not statistically significant. Partial Least Squares (PLS) calculations relating Pancam 11-color visible to near-IR (VNIR; ∼400-1000 nm) “spectra” to APXS and Mössbauer element or mineral abundances showed generally poor performance, although the presence of compositional outliers led to improved PLS results for data from Meridiani. When the Meridiani PLS model for pyroxene was tested by predicting the pyroxene content of Gusev targets, the results were poor, indicating that the PLS models for Meridiani are not applicable to data from other sites. Soft Independent Modeling of Class Analogy (SIMCA) classification of Gusev crater data showed mixed results. Of the 24 Gusev test regions of interest (ROIs) with known classes, 11 had >30% of the pixels in the ROI classified correctly, while others were mis-classified or unclassified. k-Means clustering of APXS and Mössbauer data was used to assign Meridiani targets to compositional classes. The clustering-derived classes corresponded to meaningful geologic and/or color unit differences, and SIMCA classification using these classes was somewhat successful, with >30% of pixels correctly classified in 9 of the 11 ROIs with known classes. This work shows that

  8. Mimicking Mars: A vacuum simulation chamber for testing environmental instrumentation for Mars exploration

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sobrado, J. M., E-mail: sobradovj@inta.es; Martín-Soler, J. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Martín-Gago, J. A. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC), Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)

    2014-03-15

    We have built a Mars environmental simulation chamber, designed to test new electromechanical devices and instruments that could be used in space missions. We have developed this environmental system aiming at validating the meteorological station Rover Environment Monitoring Station of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission currently installed on Curiosity rover. The vacuum chamber has been built following a modular configuration and operates at pressures ranging from 1000 to 10{sup −6} mbars, and it is possible to control the gas composition (the atmosphere) within this pressure range. The device (or sample) under study can be irradiated by an ultraviolet source and its temperature can be controlled in the range from 108 to 423 K. As an important improvement with respect to other simulation chambers, the atmospheric gas into the experimental chamber is cooled at the walls by the use of liquid-nitrogen heat exchangers. This chamber incorporates a dust generation mechanism designed to study Martian-dust deposition while modifying the conditions of temperature, and UV irradiated.

  9. Sniffing out the Story on the Habitability Potential of Mars: Follow the Volatiles!

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, Pamela Gales

    2013-01-01

    Curiosity's primary goal is to explore and quantitatively assess a local region on Mars' surface as a potential habitat for life, past or present. This presentation will discuss what makes a habitable environment with some scientific data from the mars rover.

  10. Assessment of Spatial Navigation and Docking Performance During Simulated Rover Tasks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wood, S. J.; Dean, S. L.; De Dios, Y. E.; Moore, S. T.

    2010-01-01

    INTRODUCTION: Following long-duration exploration transits, pressurized rovers will enhance surface mobility to explore multiple sites across Mars and other planetary bodies. Multiple rovers with docking capabilities are envisioned to expand the range of exploration. However, adaptive changes in sensorimotor and cognitive function may impair the crew s ability to safely navigate and perform docking tasks shortly after transition to the new gravitoinertial environment. The primary goal of this investigation is to quantify post-flight decrements in spatial navigation and docking performance during a rover simulation. METHODS: Eight crewmembers returning from the International Space Station will be tested on a motion simulator during four pre-flight and three post-flight sessions over the first 8 days following landing. The rover simulation consists of a serial presentation of discrete tasks to be completed within a scheduled 10 min block. The tasks are based on navigating around a Martian outpost spread over a 970 sq m terrain. Each task is subdivided into three components to be performed as quickly and accurately as possible: (1) Perspective taking: Subjects use a joystick to indicate direction of target after presentation of a map detailing current orientation and location of the rover with the task to be performed. (2) Navigation: Subjects drive the rover to the desired location while avoiding obstacles. (3) Docking: Fine positioning of the rover is required to dock with another object or align a camera view. Overall operator proficiency will be based on how many tasks the crewmember can complete during the 10 min time block. EXPECTED RESULTS: Functionally relevant testing early post-flight will develop evidence regarding the limitations to early surface operations and what countermeasures are needed. This approach can be easily adapted to a wide variety of simulated vehicle designs to provide sensorimotor assessments for other operational and civilian populations.

  11. Pathfinder-Plus on a flight over Hawaiian island N'ihau

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on a flight over the Hawaiian island of N'ihau in 1998. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet and flying non

  12. Temperature dependence of the hyperfine parameters of the iron bearing phases in the Moessbauer spectra collected by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Van Cromphaut, Caroline; Resende, Valdirene G. de; De Grave, Eddy; Vandenberghe, Robert E.

    2009-01-01

    This contribution focuses on the Moessbauer spectra acquired by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit which carried a MIMOS II Moessbauer spectrometer. Only those spectra which present a reasonable statistical quality were selected to for this study. Twenty five Moessbauer spectra have been considered. Common phases identified from the temperature dependent hyperfine parameters are olivine, pyroxene, hematite and magnetite. It is believed that the applied analysis method has provided accurate values for the various hyperfine data averaged over single 10 K temperature intervals in the range 210-260 K. The obtained results, to some extent forced to evolve consistently over the various ΔT intervals considered for a given soil/rock target, are in many cases different from previously published data. Possible reasons for these differences will be discussed.

  13. Mineralogy of an Active Eolian Sediment from the Namib Dune, Gale Crater, Mars

    OpenAIRE

    Achilles, C. N.; Downs, R. T.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.; Treiman, A. H.; Morrison, S. M.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Ewing, R. C.; Chipera, S. J.; Yen, A. S.; Bristow, T. F.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Gellert, R.

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is using a comprehensive scientific payload to explore rocks and soils in Gale crater, Mars. Recent investigations of the Bagnold Dune Field provided the first in situ assessment of an active dune on Mars. The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument on Curiosity performed quantitative mineralogical analyses of the

  14. Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution

    OpenAIRE

    Lapotre, M. G. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Lamb, M. P.; Fischer, W. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Rubin, D. M.; Lewis, K. W.; Ballard, M. J.; Daybell, M.; Gupta, S.; Banham, S. G.; Bridges, N. T.; Des Marais, D. J.; Fraeman, A. A.; Grant, J. A.

    2016-01-01

    Wind blowing over sand on Earth produces decimeter-wavelength ripples and hundred-meter– to kilometer-wavelength dunes: bedforms of two distinct size modes. Observations from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal that Mars hosts a third stable wind-driven bedform, with meter-scale wavelengths. These bedforms are spatially uniform in size and typically have asymmetric profiles with angle-of-repose lee slopes and sinuous crest lines, making them ...

  15. In Situ Strategy of the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory to Investigate the Habitability of Ancient Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul R.

    2011-01-01

    The ten science investigations of the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Rover named "Curiosity" seek to provide a quantitative assessment of habitability through chemical and geological measurements from a highly capable robotic' platform. This mission seeks to understand if the conditions for life on ancient Mars are preserved in the near-surface geochemical record. These substantial payload resources enabled by MSL's new entry descent and landing (EDL) system have allowed the inclusion of instrument types nevv to the Mars surface including those that can accept delivered sample from rocks and soils and perform a wide range of chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical analyses. The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) experiment that is located in the interior of the rover is a powder x-ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument that provides elemental and mineralogical information. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments complements this experiment by analyzing the volatile component of identically processed samples and by analyzing atmospheric composition. Other MSL payload tools such as the Mast Camera (Mastcam) and the Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) instruments are utilized to identify targets for interrogation first by the arm tools and subsequent ingestion into SAM and CheMin using the Sample Acquisition, Processing, and Handling (SA/SPaH) subsystem. The arm tools include the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) and the Chemistry and Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXX). The Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) instrument provides subsurface identification of hydrogen such as that contained in hydrated minerals

  16. Mars for Earthlings: an analog approach to Mars in undergraduate education.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chan, Marjorie; Kahmann-Robinson, Julia

    2014-01-01

    Mars for Earthlings (MFE) is a terrestrial Earth analog pedagogical approach to teaching undergraduate geology, planetary science, and astrobiology. MFE utilizes Earth analogs to teach Mars planetary concepts, with a foundational backbone in Earth science principles. The field of planetary science is rapidly changing with new technologies and higher-resolution data sets. Thus, it is increasingly important to understand geological concepts and processes for interpreting Mars data. MFE curriculum is topically driven to facilitate easy integration of content into new or existing courses. The Earth-Mars systems approach explores planetary origins, Mars missions, rocks and minerals, active driving forces/tectonics, surface sculpting processes, astrobiology, future explorations, and hot topics in an inquiry-driven environment. Curriculum leverages heavily upon multimedia resources, software programs such as Google Mars and JMARS, as well as NASA mission data such as THEMIS, HiRISE, CRISM, and rover images. Two years of MFE class evaluation data suggest that science literacy and general interest in Mars geology and astrobiology topics increased after participation in the MFE curriculum. Students also used newly developed skills to create a Mars mission team presentation. The MFE curriculum, learning modules, and resources are available online at http://serc.carleton.edu/marsforearthlings/index.html.

  17. Characteristics, distribution, origin, and significance of opaline silica observed by the Spirit rover in Gusev crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruff, S.W.; Farmer, J.D.; Calvin, W.M.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Morris, R.V.; Rice, M.S.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J.F.; Christensen, P.R.; Squyres, S. W.

    2011-01-01

    The presence of outcrops and soil (regolith) rich in opaline silica (???65-92 wt % SiO2) in association with volcanic materials adjacent to the "Home Plate" feature in Gusev crater is evidence for hydrothermal conditions. The Spirit rover has supplied a diverse set of observations that are used here to better understand the formation of silica and the activity, abundance, and fate of water in the first hydrothermal system to be explored in situ on Mars. We apply spectral, chemical, morphological, textural, and stratigraphic observations to assess whether the silica was produced by acid sulfate leaching of precursor rocks, by precipitation from silica-rich solutions, or by some combination. The apparent lack of S enrichment and the relatively low oxidation state of the Home Plate silica-rich materials appear inconsistent with the originally proposed Hawaiian analog for fumarolic acid sulfate leaching. The stratiform distribution of the silica-rich outcrops and their porous and brecciated microtextures are consistent with sinter produced by silica precipitation. There is no evidence for crystalline quartz phases among the silica occurrences, an indication of the lack of diagenetic maturation following the production of the amorphous opaline phase. Copyright ?? 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

  18. Planetary protection implementation on future Mars lander missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howell, Robert; Devincenzi, Donald L.

    1993-01-01

    A workshop was convened to discuss the subject of planetary protection implementation for Mars lander missions. It was sponsored and organized by the Exobiology Implementation Team of the U.S./Russian Joint Working Group on Space Biomedical and Life Support Systems. The objective of the workshop was to discuss planetary protection issues for the Russian Mars '94 mission, which is currently under development, as well as for additional future Mars lander missions including the planned Mars '96 and U.S. MESUR Pathfinder and Network missions. A series of invited presentations was made to ensure that workshop participants had access to information relevant to the planned discussions. The topics summarized in this report include exobiology science objectives for Mars exploration, current international policy on planetary protection, planetary protection requirements developed for earlier missions, mission plans and designs for future U.S. and Russian Mars landers, biological contamination of spacecraft components, and techniques for spacecraft bioload reduction. In addition, the recent recommendations of the U.S. Space Studies Board (SSB) on this subject were also summarized. Much of the discussion focused on the recommendations of the SSB. The SSB proposed relaxing the planetary protection requirements for those Mars lander missions that do not contain life detection experiments, but maintaining Viking-like requirements for those missions that do contain life detection experiments. The SSB recommendations were found to be acceptable as a guide for future missions, although many questions and concerns about interpretation were raised and are summarized. Significant among the concerns was the need for more quantitative guidelines to prevent misinterpretation by project offices and better access to and use of the Viking data base of bioassays to specify microbial burden targets. Among the questions raised were how will the SSB recommendations be integrated with existing

  19. Planetary protection implementation on future Mars lander missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Howell, Robert; Devincenzi, Donald L.

    1993-06-01

    A workshop was convened to discuss the subject of planetary protection implementation for Mars lander missions. It was sponsored and organized by the Exobiology Implementation Team of the U.S./Russian Joint Working Group on Space Biomedical and Life Support Systems. The objective of the workshop was to discuss planetary protection issues for the Russian Mars '94 mission, which is currently under development, as well as for additional future Mars lander missions including the planned Mars '96 and U.S. MESUR Pathfinder and Network missions. A series of invited presentations was made to ensure that workshop participants had access to information relevant to the planned discussions. The topics summarized in this report include exobiology science objectives for Mars exploration, current international policy on planetary protection, planetary protection requirements developed for earlier missions, mission plans and designs for future U.S. and Russian Mars landers, biological contamination of spacecraft components, and techniques for spacecraft bioload reduction. In addition, the recent recommendations of the U.S. Space Studies Board (SSB) on this subject were also summarized. Much of the discussion focused on the recommendations of the SSB. The SSB proposed relaxing the planetary protection requirements for those Mars lander missions that do not contain life detection experiments, but maintaining Viking-like requirements for those missions that do contain life detection experiments. The SSB recommendations were found to be acceptable as a guide for future missions, although many questions and concerns about interpretation were raised and are summarized. Significant among the concerns was the need for more quantitative guidelines to prevent misinterpretation by project offices and better access to and use of the Viking data base of bio-assays to specify microbial burden targets. Among the questions raised were how will the SSB recommendations be integrated with existing

  20. 21st century early mission concepts for Mars delivery and earth return

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cruz, Manuel I.; Ilgen, Marc R.

    1990-01-01

    In the 21st century, the early missions to Mars will entail unmanned Rover and Sample Return reconnaissance missions to be followed by manned exploration missions. High performance leverage technologies will be required to reach Mars and return to earth. This paper describes the mission concepts currently identified for these early Mars missions. These concepts include requirements and capabilities for Mars and earth aerocapture, Mars surface operations and ascent, and Mars and earth rendezvous. Although the focus is on the unmanned missions, synergism with the manned missions is also discussed.

  1. Rover-Based Instrumentation and Scientific Investigations During the 2012 Analog Field Test on Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Graham, L. D.; Graff, T. G.

    2013-01-01

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) were recently completed on Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and operational constraints were tested in the context of existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration [1]. Several investigations were conducted by the rover mounted instruments to determine key geophysical and geochemical properties of the site, as well as capture the geological context of the area and the samples investigated. The rover traverse and associated science investigations were conducted over a three day period on the southeast flank of the Mauna Kea Volcano, Hawaii. The test area was at an elevation of 11,500 feet and is known as "Apollo Valley" (Fig. 1). Here we report the integration and operation of the rover-mounted instruments, as well as the scientific investigations that were conducted.

  2. Curiosity: the Mars Science Laboratory Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Richard A.

    2012-01-01

    The Curiosity rover landed successfully in Gale Crater, Mars on August 5, 2012. This event was a dramatic high point in the decade long effort to design, build, test and fly the most sophisticated scientific vehicle ever sent to Mars. The real achievements of the mission have only just begun, however, as Curiosity is now searching for signs that Mars once possessed habitable environments. The Mars Science Laboratory Project has been one of the most ambitious and challenging planetary projects that NASA has undertaken. It started in the successful aftermath of the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover project and was designed to take significant steps forward in both engineering and scientific capabilities. This included a new landing system capable of emplacing a large mobile vehicle over a wide range of potential landing sites, advanced sample acquisition and handling capabilities that can retrieve samples from both rocks and soil, and a high reliability avionics suite that is designed to permit long duration surface operations. It also includes a set of ten sophisticated scientific instruments that will investigate both the geological context of the landing site plus analyze samples to understand the chemical & organic composition of rocks & soil found there. The Gale Crater site has been specifically selected as a promising location where ancient habitable environments may have existed and for which evidence may be preserved. Curiosity will spend a minimum of one Mars year (about two Earth years) looking for this evidence. This paper will report on the progress of the mission over the first few months of surface operations, plus look retrospectively at lessons learned during both the development and cruise operations phase of the mission..

  3. Long Memory of Pathfinding Aesthetics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ron Coleman

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper investigates a new dynamic (i.e., space-time model to measure aesthetic values in pathfinding for videogames. The results we report are important firstly because the artificial intelligence literature has given relatively little attention to aesthetic considerations in pathfinding. Secondly, those investigators who have studied aesthetics in pathfinding have relied largely on anecdotal arguments rather than metrics. Finally, in those cases where metrics have been used in the past, they show only that aesthetic paths are different. They provide no quantitative means to classify aesthetic outcomes. The model we develop here overcomes these deficiencies using rescaled range (R/S analysis to estimate the Hurst exponent, . It measures long-range dependence (i.e., long memory in stochastic processes and provides a novel well-defined mathematical classification for pathfinding. Indeed, the data indicates that aesthetic and control paths have statistically significantly distinct signatures. Aesthetic paths furthermore have more long memory than controls with an effect size that is large, more than three times that of an alternative approach. These conclusions will be of interest to researchers investigating games as well as other forms of entertainment, simulation, and in general nonshortest path motion planning.

  4. Earth – Mars Similarity Criteria for Martian Vehicles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Octavian TRIFU

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available In order to select the most efficient kind of a martian exploring vehicle, the similarity criteria are deduced from the equilibrium movement in the terrestrial and martian conditions. Different invariants have been obtained for the existing (entry capsules, parachutes and rovers and potential martian exploring vehicles (lighter-than-air vehicle, airplane, helicopter and Mars Jumper. These similarity criteria, as non dimensional numbers, allow to quickly compare if such a kind of vehicles can operate in the martian environment, the movement performances, the necessary geometrical dimensions and the power consumption. Following this way of study it was concluded what vehicle is most suitable for the near soil Mars exploration. “Mars Rover” has less power consumption on Mars, but due to the rugged terrain the performances are weak. A vacuumed rigid airship is possible to fly with high performances and endurance on Mars, versus the impossibility of such a machine on the Earth. Due to very low density and the low Reynolds numbers in the Mars atmosphere, the power consumption for the martian airplane or helicopter, is substantial higher. The most efficient vehicle for the Mars exploration it seems to be a machine using the in-situ non-chemical propellants: the 95% CO2 atmosphere and the weak solar radiation. A small compressor, electrically driven by photovoltaics, compresses the gas in a storage tank, in time. If the gas is expanded through a nozzle, sufficient lift and control forces are obtained for a VTOL flight of kilometers over the martian soil, in comparison with tens of meters of the actual Mars rovers.

  5. Detection of Northern Hemisphere transient eddies at Gale Crater Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haberle, Robert M.; Juárez, Manuel de la Torre; Kahre, Melinda A.; Kass, David M.; Barnes, Jeffrey R.; Hollingsworth, Jeffery L.; Harri, Ari-Matti; Kahanpää, Henrik

    2018-06-01

    The Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) on the Curiosity Rover is operating in the Southern Hemisphere of Mars and is detecting synoptic period oscillations in the pressure data that we attribute to Northern Hemisphere transient eddies. We base this interpretation on the similarity in the periods of the eddies and their seasonal variations with those observed in northern midlatitudes by Viking Lander 2 (VL-2) 18 Mars years earlier. Further support for this interpretation comes from global circulation modeling which shows similar behavior in the transient eddies at the grid points closest to Curiosity and VL-2. These observations provide the first in situ evidence that the frontal systems often associated with "Flushing Dust Storms" do cross the equator and extend into the Southern Hemisphere.

  6. Sample Return - at hente en sten på Mars

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kinch, Kjartan Münster

    2017-01-01

    Lige siden de første rumsonder landede på Mars i 1970'erne har planetforskere drømt om en såkaldt Sample Returnmission. Det vil sige en mission, som skal hente prøver af planetens sten, jord og atmosfære og flyve dem tilbage til Jorden. Med NASAs næste store rover-mission til Mars, som bliver sendt...

  7. Integrating Subject Pathfinders into Online Catalogs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jarvis, William E.

    1985-01-01

    Discusses the integration of subject pathfinders into online public access catalogs (OPAC) through following features: within the OPAC, offline user guide manuals, remotely printed upon user request, or online as saved searches displayed in help screen format. Excerpts of a pathfinder display for biotechnology are presented. Four sources are…

  8. Electrodynamic Dust Shield for Solar Panels on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calle, C. I.; Buhler, C. R.; Mantovani, J. G.; Clements S.; Chen, A.; Mazumder, M. K.; Biris, A. S.; Nowicki, A. W.

    2004-01-01

    The Materials Adherence Experiment on the Mars Pathfinder mission measured an obscuration of the solar arrays due to dust deposition at a rate of about 0.2 8% per day. It was estimated that settling dust may cause degradation in performance of a solar panel of between 22% and 89% over the course of two years [1, 2]. These results were obtained without the presence of a global dust storm. Several types of adherence forces keep dust particles attached to surfaces. The most widely discussed adherence force is the electrostatic force. Laboratory experiments [3] as well as indirect evidence from the Wheel Abrasion Experiment on Pathfinder [4] indicate that it is very likely that the particles suspended in the Martian atmosphere are electrostatically charged.

  9. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs

    Science.gov (United States)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs" included the following:Physical Meaning of the Hapke Parameter for Macroscopic Roughness: Experimental Determination for Planetary Regolith Surface Analogs and Numerical Approach; Near-Infrared Spectra of Martian Pyroxene Separates: First Results from Mars Spectroscopy Consortium; Anomalous Spectra of High-Ca Pyroxenes: Correlation Between Ir and M ssbauer Patterns; THEMIS-IR Emissivity Spectrum of a Large Dark Streak near Olympus Mons; Geomorphologic/Thermophysical Mapping of the Athabasca Region, Mars, Using THEMIS Infrared Imaging; Mars Thermal Inertia from THEMIS Data; Multispectral Analysis Methods for Mapping Aqueous Mineral Depostis in Proposed Paleolake Basins on Mars Using THEMIS Data; Joint Analysis of Mars Odyssey THEMIS Visible and Infrared Images: A Magic Airbrush for Qualitative and Quantitative Morphology; Analysis of Mars Thermal Emission Spectrometer Data Using Large Mineral Reference Libraries ; Negative Abundance : A Problem in Compositional Modeling of Hyperspectral Images; Mars-LAB: First Remote Sensing Data of Mineralogy Exposed at Small Mars-Analog Craters, Nevada Test Site; A Tool for the 2003 Rover Mini-TES: Downwelling Radiance Compensation Using Integrated Line-Sight Sky Measurements; Learning About Mars Geology Using Thermal Infrared Spectral Imaging: Orbiter and Rover Perspectives; Classifying Terrestrial Volcanic Alteration Processes and Defining Alteration Processes they Represent on Mars; Cemented Volcanic Soils, Martian Spectra and Implications for the Martian Climate; Palagonitic Mars: A Basalt Centric View of Surface Composition and Aqueous Alteration; Combining a Non Linear Unmixing Model and the Tetracorder Algorithm: Application to the ISM Dataset; Spectral Reflectance Properties of Some Basaltic Weathering Products; Morphometric LIDAR Analysis of Amboy Crater, California: Application to MOLA Analysis of Analog Features on Mars; Airborne Radar Study of Soil Moisture at

  10. Volatiles and Isotopes and the Exploration of Ancient and Modern Martian Habitability with the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mhaffy, P. R.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Mission was designed to pave the way for the study of life beyond Earth through a search for a habitable environment in a carefully selected landing site on Mars. Its ongoing exploration of Gale Crater with the Curiosity Rover has provided a rich data set that revealed such an environment in an ancient lakebed [1]. Volatile and isotope measurements of both the atmosphere and solids contribute to our growing understanding of both modern and ancient environments.

  11. Mars Science Laboratory Heatshield Flight Data Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahzari, Milad; White, Todd

    2017-01-01

    NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), which landed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars on August 5th, 2012, was the largest and heaviest Mars entry vehicle representing a significant advancement in planetary entry, descent and landing capability. Hypersonic flight performance data was collected using MSLs on-board sensors called Mars Entry, Descent and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI). This talk will give an overview of MSL entry and a description of MEDLI sensors. Observations from flight data will be examined followed by a discussion of analysis efforts to reconstruct surface heating from heatshields in-depth temperature measurements. Finally, a brief overview of MEDLI2 instrumentation, which will fly on NASAs Mars2020 mission, will be presented with a discussion on how lessons learned from MEDLI data affected the design of MEDLI2 instrumentation.

  12. Autonomously generating operations sequences for a Mars Rover using AI-based planning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sherwood, Rob; Mishkin, Andrew; Estlin, Tara; Chien, Steve; Backes, Paul; Cooper, Brian; Maxwell, Scott; Rabideau, Gregg

    2001-01-01

    This paper discusses a proof-of-concept prototype for ground-based automatic generation of validated rover command sequences from highlevel science and engineering activities. This prototype is based on ASPEN, the Automated Scheduling and Planning Environment. This Artificial Intelligence (AI) based planning and scheduling system will automatically generate a command sequence that will execute within resource constraints and satisfy flight rules.

  13. Volatile and Isotopic Imprints of Ancient Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul R.; Conrad, Pamela G.

    2015-01-01

    The science investigations enabled by Curiosity rover's instruments focus on identifying and exploring the habitability of the Martian environment. Measurements of noble gases, organic and inorganic compounds, and the isotopes of light elements permit the study of the physical and chemical processes that have transformed Mars throughout its history. Samples of the atmosphere, volatiles released from soils, and rocks from the floor of Gale Crater have provided a wealth of new data and a window into conditions on ancient Mars.

  14. The Geologic Exploration of the Bagnold Dune Field at Gale Crater by the Curiosity Rover.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chojnacki, Matthew; Fenton, Lori K

    2017-11-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity engaged in a monthlong campaign investigating the Bagnold dune field in Gale crater. What represents the first in situ investigation of a dune field on another planet has resulted in a number of discoveries. Collectively, the Curiosity rover team has compiled the most comprehensive survey of any extraterrestrial aeolian system visited to date with results that yield important insights into a number of processes, including sediment transport, bed form morphology and structure, chemical and physical composition of aeolian sand, and wind regime characteristics. These findings and more are provided in detail by the JGR-Planets Special Issue Curiosity's Bagnold Dunes Campaign, Phase I.

  15. Fractal Analysis of Stealthy Pathfinding Aesthetics

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ron Coleman

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper uses a fractal model to analyze aesthetic values of a new class of obstacle-prone or “stealthy” pathfinding which seeks to avoid detection, exposure, openness, and so forth in videogames. This study is important since in general the artificial intelligence literature has given relatively little attention to aesthetic outcomes in pathfinding. The data we report, according to the fractal model, suggests that stealthy paths are statistically significantly unique in relative aesthetic value when compared to control paths. We show furthermore that paths generated with different stealth regimes are also statistically significantly unique. These conclusions are supported by statistical analysis of model results on experimental trials involving pathfinding in randomly generated, multiroom virtual worlds.

  16. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Bagnold Dunes Campaign, Phase I: Overview and introduction to the special issue

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, Nathan T.; Ehlmann, Bethany L.

    2018-01-01

    The Bagnold dunes in Gale Crater, Mars, are the first active aeolian dune field explored in situ on another planet. The Curiosity rover visited the Bagnold dune field to understand modern winds, aeolian processes, rates, and structures; to determine dune material composition, provenance, and the extent and type of compositional sorting; and to collect knowledge that informs the interpretation of past aeolian processes that are preserved in the Martian sedimentary rock record. The Curiosity rover conducted a coordinated campaign of activities lasting 4 months, interspersed with other rover activities, and employing all of the rover's science instruments and several engineering capabilities. Described in 13 manuscripts and summarized here, the major findings of the Bagnold Dunes Campaign, Phase I, include the following: the characterization of and explanation for a distinctive, meter-scale size of sinuous aeolian bedform formed in the high kinetic viscosity regime of Mars' thin atmosphere; articulation and evaluation of a grain splash model that successfully explains the occurrence of saltation even at wind speeds below the fluid threshold; determination of the dune sands' basaltic mineralogy and crystal chemistry in comparison with other soils and sedimentary rocks; and characterization of chemically distinctive volatile reservoirs in sand-sized versus dust-sized fractions of Mars soil, including two volatile-bearing types of amorphous phases.

  17. Pathfinder Climate Data

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — The NOAA/NASA Pathfinder climate data CD-ROM contains seven data sets: Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR)Land and Ocean, TIROS Operational Vertical...

  18. In-motion initial alignment and positioning with INS/CNS/ODO integrated navigation system for lunar rovers

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Jiazhen; Lei, Chaohua; Yang, Yanqiang; Liu, Ming

    2017-06-01

    Many countries have been paying great attention to space exploration, especially about the Moon and the Mars. Autonomous and high-accuracy navigation systems are needed for probers and rovers to accomplish missions. Inertial navigation system (INS)/celestial navigation system (CNS) based navigation system has been used widely on the lunar rovers. Initialization is a particularly important step for navigation. This paper presents an in-motion alignment and positioning method for lunar rovers by INS/CNS/odometer integrated navigation. The method can estimate not only the position and attitude errors, but also the biases of the accelerometers and gyros using the standard Kalman filter. The differences between the platform star azimuth, elevation angles and the computed star azimuth, elevation angles, and the difference between the velocity measured by odometer and the velocity measured by inertial sensors are taken as measurements. The semi-physical experiments are implemented to demonstrate that the position error can reduce to 10 m and attitude error is within 2″ during 5 min. The experiment results prove that it is an effective and attractive initialization approach for lunar rovers.

  19. Virtual Astronaut for Scientific Visualization—A Prototype for Santa Maria Crater on Mars

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edward A. Guinness

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available To support scientific visualization of multiple-mission data from Mars, the Virtual Astronaut (VA creates an interactive virtual 3D environment built on the Unity3D Game Engine. A prototype study was conducted based on orbital and Opportunity Rover data covering Santa Maria Crater in Meridiani Planum on Mars. The VA at Santa Maria provides dynamic visual representations of the imaging, compositional, and mineralogical information. The VA lets one navigate through the scene and provides geomorphic and geologic contexts for the rover operations. User interactions include in-situ observations visualization, feature measurement, and an animation control of rover drives. This paper covers our approach and implementation of the VA system. A brief summary of the prototype system functions and user feedback is also covered. Based on external review and comments by the science community, the prototype at Santa Maria has proven the VA to be an effective tool for virtual geovisual analysis.

  20. Bio-markers and the search for extinct life on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schwartz, D. E.; Mancinelli, R. L.

    1989-01-01

    In order to predict what biomarkers could be used on Mars, several biomarkers, or key signatures, of extinct life on earth are identified. Some of these biomarkers which may be applicable to Mars include reduced carbon and nitrogen compounds, CO3(2-), SO4(2-), NO3(-), Mg, Mn, Fe, and the isotopic ratios of C, N, and S. It is suggested that a fully equipped Mars rover might be able to perform analyses to measure most of these biomarkers while on the Martian surface.

  1. Characterization of Fillite as a planetary soil simulant in support of rover mobility assessment in high-sinkage/high-slip environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Michael

    This thesis presents the results of a research program characterizing a soil simulant called Fillite, which is composed of alumino-silicate hollow microspheres harvested from the pulverized fuel ash of coal-fired power plants. Fillite is available in large quantities at a reasonable cost and it is chemically inert. Fillite has been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center to simulate high-sinkage/high-slip environment in a large test bed such as the ones encountered by the Spirit rover on Mars in 2009 when it became entrapped in a pocket of soft, loose regolith on Mars. The terms high-sinkage and high-slip used here describe the interaction of soils with typical rover wheels. High-sinkage refers to a wheel sinking with little to no applied force while high-slip refers to a spinning wheel with minimal traction. Standard material properties (density, specific gravity, compression index, Young's modulus, and Poisson's ratio) of Fillite were determined from a series of laboratory tests conducted in general accordance with ASTM standards. Tests were also performed to determine some less standard material properties of Fillite such as the small strain shear wave velocity, maximum shear modulus, and several pressure-sinkage parameters for use in pressure-sinkage models. The experiments include an extensive series of triaxial compression tests, bender element tests, and normal and shear bevameter tests. The unit weight of Fillite on Earth ranges between 3.9 and 4.8 kN/m 3, which is similar to that of Martian regolith (about 3.7 -- 5.6 kN/m3) on Mars and close to the range of the unit weight of lunar regolith (about 1.4 -- 2.9 kN/m3) on the Moon. The data presented here support that Fillite has many physical and mechanical properties that are similar to what is known about Martian regolith. These properties are also comparable to lunar regolith. Fillite is quite dilatant; its peak and critical angles of internal friction are

  2. A Study of Soil and Duricrust Models for Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, Janice L.; DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2001-01-01

    This project includes analysis of the Mars Pathfinder soil data (spectral, chemical and magnetic) together with analog materials and the products of laboratory alteration experiments in order to describe possible mechanisms for the formation of soil, duricrust and rock coatings on Mars. Soil analog mixtures have been prepared, characterized and tested through wet/dry cycling experiments for changes in binding and spectroscopic properties that are related to what could be expected for duricrusts on Mars. The smectite-based mixture exhibited significantly greater changes (1) in its binding properties throughout the wet/dry cycling experiments than did the palagonite-based mixture, and (2) in its spectral properties following grinding and resieving of the hardened material than did the palagonite-based mixture.

  3. Pathfinder Innovation Projects

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Pathfinder program supports high-risk, high-reward research ideas with funding and staff time. The goal is to feed a culture of innovation in the Agency and integrate innovative ideas in EPA research programs.

  4. Special section introduction on MicroMars to MegaMars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bridges, Nathan T.; Dundas, Colin M.; Edgar, Lauren

    2016-01-01

    The study of Earth's surface and atmosphere evolved from local investigations to the incorporation of remote sensing on a global scale. The study of Mars has followed the opposite progression, beginning with telescopic observations, followed by flyby and orbital missions, landers, and finally rover missions in the last ∼20 years. This varied fleet of spacecraft (seven of which are currently operating as of this writing) provides a rich variety of datasets at spatial scales ranging from microscopic images to synoptic orbital remote sensing.

  5. Free-flight experiments in LISA Pathfinder

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Armano, M; Audley, H; Born, M; Danzmann, K; Diepholz, I; Auger, G; Binetruy, P; Baird, J; Bortoluzzi, D; Brandt, N; Bursi, A; Caleno, M; Cavalleri, A; Cesarini, A; Dolesi, R; Ferroni, V; Cruise, M; Cutler, C; Dunbar, N; Ferraioli, L

    2015-01-01

    The LISA Pathfinder mission will demonstrate the technology of drag-free test masses for use as inertial references in future space-based gravitational wave detectors. To accomplish this, the Pathfinder spacecraft will perform drag-free flight about a test mass while measuring the acceleration of this primary test mass relative to a second reference test mass. Because the reference test mass is contained within the same spacecraft, it is necessary to apply forces on it to maintain its position and attitude relative to the spacecraft. These forces are a potential source of acceleration noise in the LISA Pathfinder system that are not present in the full LISA configuration. While LISA Pathfinder has been designed to meet it's primary mission requirements in the presence of this noise, recent estimates suggest that the on-orbit performance may be limited by this ‘suspension noise’. The drift-mode or free-flight experiments provide an opportunity to mitigate this noise source and further characterize the underlying disturbances that are of interest to the designers of LISA-like instruments. This article provides a high-level overview of these experiments and the methods under development to analyze the resulting data. (paper)

  6. Calculation of Operations Efficiency Factors for Mars Surface Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laubach, Sharon

    2014-01-01

    The duration of a mission--and subsequently, the minimum spacecraft lifetime--is a key component in designing the capabilities of a spacecraft during mission formulation. However, determining the duration is not simply a function of how long it will take the spacecraft to execute the activities needed to achieve mission objectives. Instead, the effects of the interaction between the spacecraft and ground operators must also be taken into account. This paper describes a method, using "operations efficiency factors", to account for these effects for Mars surface missions. Typically, this level of analysis has not been performed until much later in the mission development cycle, and has not been able to influence mission or spacecraft design. Further, the notion of moving to sustainable operations during Prime Mission--and the effect that change would have on operations productivity and mission objective choices--has not been encountered until the most recent rover missions (MSL, the (now-cancelled) joint NASA-ESA 2018 Mars rover, and the proposed rover for Mars 2020). Since MSL had a single control center and sun-synchronous relay assets (like MER), estimates of productivity derived from MER prime and extended missions were used. However, Mars 2018's anticipated complexity (there would have been control centers in California and Italy, and a non-sun-synchronous relay asset) required the development of an explicit model of operations efficiency that could handle these complexities. In the case of the proposed Mars 2018 mission, the model was employed to assess the mission return of competing operations concepts, and as an input to component lifetime requirements. In this paper we provide examples of how to calculate the operations efficiency factor for a given operational configuration, and how to apply the factors to surface mission scenarios. This model can be applied to future missions to enable early effective trades between operations design, science mission

  7. Multiagent path-finding in strategic games

    OpenAIRE

    Mihevc, Simon

    2014-01-01

    In this thesis I worked on creating, comparing and improving algorithms for multi-agent path planning on a domain typical for real-time strategy games. I implemented and compared Multiagent pathfinding using clearance and Multiagent pathfinding using independence detection and operator decomposition. I discovered that they had problems maintaining group compactness and took too long to calculate the path. I considerably improved the efficiency of both algorithms.

  8. Calibrating the ChemCam LIBS for Carbonate Minerals on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, Roger C.; Clegg, Samuel M.; Ollila, Ann M.; Barefield, James E.; Lanza, Nina; Newsom, Horton E.

    2009-01-01

    The ChemCam instrument suite on board the NASA Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover includes the first LIBS instrument for extraterrestrial applications. Here we examine carbonate minerals in a simulated martian environment using the LIDS technique in order to better understand the in situ signature of these materials on Mars. Both chemical composition and rock type are determined using multivariate analysis (MVA) techniques. Composition is confirmed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) techniques. Our initial results suggest that ChemCam can recognize and differentiate between carbonate materials on Mars.

  9. Artificial Intelligence Support for Landing Site Selection on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rongier, G.; Pankratius, V.

    2017-12-01

    Mars is a key target for planetary exploration; a better understanding of its evolution and habitability requires roving in situ. Landing site selection is becoming more challenging for scientists as new instruments generate higher data volumes. The involved engineering and scientific constraints make site selection and the anticipation of possible onsite actions into a complex optimization problem: there may be multiple acceptable solutions depending on various goals and assumptions. Solutions must also account for missing data, errors, and potential biases. To address these problems, we propose an AI-informed decision support system that allows scientists, mission designers, engineers, and committees to explore alternative site selection choices based on data. In particular, we demonstrate first results of an exploratory case study using fuzzy logic and a simulation of a rover's mobility map based on the fast marching algorithm. Our system computes favorability maps of the entire planet to facilitate landing site selection and allows a definition of different configurations for rovers, science target priorities, landing ellipses, and other constraints. For a rover similar to NASA's Mars 2020 rover, we present results in form of a site favorability map as well as four derived exploration scenarios that depend on different prioritized scientific targets, all visualizing inherent tradeoffs. Our method uses the NASA PDS Geosciences Node and the NASA/ICA Integrated Database of Planetary Features. Under common assumptions, the data products reveal Eastern Margaritifer Terra and Meridiani Planum to be the most favorable sites due to a high concentration of scientific targets and a flat, easily navigable surface. Our method also allows mission designers to investigate which constraints have the highest impact on the mission exploration potential and to change parameter ranges. Increasing the elevation limit for landing, for example, provides access to many additional

  10. Solar and wind exergy potentials for Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Delgado-Bonal, Alfonso; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Vázquez-Martín, Sandra; Zorzano, María-Paz

    2016-01-01

    The energy requirements of the planetary exploration spacecrafts constrain the lifetime of the missions, their mobility and capabilities, and the number of instruments onboard. They are limiting factors in planetary exploration. Several missions to the surface of Mars have proven the feasibility and success of solar panels as energy source. The analysis of the exergy efficiency of the solar radiation has been carried out successfully on Earth, however, to date, there is not an extensive research regarding the thermodynamic exergy efficiency of in-situ renewable energy sources on Mars. In this paper, we analyse the obtainable energy (exergy) from solar radiation under Martian conditions. For this analysis we have used the surface environmental variables on Mars measured in-situ by the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station onboard the Curiosity rover and from satellite by the Thermal Emission Spectrometer instrument onboard the Mars Global Surveyor satellite mission. We evaluate the exergy efficiency from solar radiation on a global spatial scale using orbital data for a Martian year; and in a one single location in Mars (the Gale crater) but with an appreciable temporal resolution (1 h). Also, we analyse the wind energy as an alternative source of energy for Mars exploration and compare the results with those obtained on Earth. We study the viability of solar and wind energy station for the future exploration of Mars, showing that a small square solar cell of 0.30 m length could maintain a meteorological station on Mars. We conclude that the low density of the atmosphere of Mars is responsible of the low thermal exergy efficiency of solar panels. It also makes the use of wind energy uneffective. Finally, we provide insights for the development of new solar cells on Mars. - Highlights: • We analyse the exergy of solar radiation under Martian environment • Real data from in-situ instruments is used to determine the maximum efficiency of radiation • Wind

  11. Symbolic PathFinder v7

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Luckow, Kasper Søe; Păsăreanu, Corina

    2014-01-01

    We describe Symbolic PathFinder v7 in terms of its updated design addressing the changes of Java PathFinder v7 and of its new optimization when computing path conditions. Furthermore, we describe the Symbolic Execution Tree Extension; a newly added feature that allows for outputting the symbolic...... execution tree that characterizes the execution paths covered during symbolic execution. The new extension can be tailored to the needs of subsequent analyses/processing facilities, and we demonstrate this by presenting SPF-Visualizer, which is a tool for customizable visualization of the symbolic execution...

  12. From Mars to Media: The Phoenix Mars Mission and the Challenges of Real-Time, Multimedia Science Communication and Public Education

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buxner, S.; Bitter, C.

    2008-12-01

    Although the Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Mars Odyssey Missions set the standard for science communication and public education about Mars, the Phoenix Mission was presented with robust new communication challenges and opportunities. The new frontier includes Web 2.0, international forums, internal and external blogs, social networking sites, as well as the traditional media and education outlets for communicating science and information. We will explore the highlights and difficulties of managing the 'message from Mars' in our current multimedia saturated world while balancing authentic science discoveries, public expectations, and communication demands. Our goal is to create a more science savvy public and a more communication oriented science community for the future. The key issues are helping the public and our scientists distinguish between information and knowledge and managing the content that connects the two.

  13. Mars Mapping Technology Brings Main Street to Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-01-01

    The Red Planet has long held a particular hold on the human psyche. From the Roman god of war to Orson Welles infamous Halloween broadcast, our nearest planetary neighbor has been viewed with curiosity, suspicion, and awe. Pictures of Mars from 1965 to the present reveal familiar landscapes while also challenging our perceptions and revising our understanding of the processes at work in planets. Frequent discoveries have forced significant revisions to previous theories. Although Mars shares many familiar features with Earth, such as mountains, plains, valleys, and polar ice, the conditions on Mars can vary wildly from those with which we are familiar. The apparently cold, rocky, and dusty wasteland seen through the eyes of spacecraft and Martian probes hints at a dynamic past of volcanic activity, cataclysmic meteors, and raging waters. New discoveries continue to revise our view of our next-door neighbor, and further exploration is now paving the way for a human sortie to the fourth stone from the Sun. NASA s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration, utilizes wide-angle stereo cameras mounted on NASA s twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs), launched in 2003. The rovers, named "Spirit" and "Opportunity," celebrated 4 Earth years of exploration on January 3, 2008, and have sent back a wealth of information on the terrain and composition of the Martian surface. Their marathon performance has far outlasted the intended 90 days of operation, and the two intrepid explorers promise more images and data.

  14. Detection of Reduced Nitrogen Compounds at Rocknest Using the Sample Analysis At Mars (SAM) Instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Steele, A.; Brunner, A.; Coll, P.; Eigenbrode, J.; Franz, H. B.; Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D.; Jones, J. H.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; hide

    2013-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover detected nitrogen-bearing compounds during the pyrolysis of Rocknest material at Gale Crater. Hydrogen cyanide and acetonitrile were identified by the quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) both in direct evolved gas analysis (EGA). SAM carried out four separate analyses from Rocknest Scoop 5. A significant low temperature release was present in Rocknest runs 1-4, while a smaller high temperature release was also seen in Rocknest runs 1-3. Here we evaluate whether these compounds are indigenous to Mars or a pyrolysis product resulting from known terrestrial materials that are part of the SAM derivatization.

  15. Mineralogy of a mudstone at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vaniman, D.T.; Bish, D.L.; Ming, D.W.; Bristow, T.F.; Morris, R.V.; Blake, D.F.; Chipera, S.J.; Morrison, S.M.; Treiman, A.H.; Rampe, E.B.; Rice, M.; Achilles, C.N.; Grotzinger, J.P.; McLennan, S.M.; Williams, J.; Bell III, J.F.; Newsom, H.E.; Downs, R.T.; Maurice, S.; Sarrazin, P.; Yen, A.S.; Morookian, J.M.; Farmer, J.D.; Stack, K.; Milliken, R.E.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Sumner, D.Y.; Berger, G.; Crisp, J.A.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Anderson, R.; Des Marais, D.J.; Stolper, E.M.; Edgett, K.S.; Gupta, S.; Spanovich, N.; MSL Science Team, the|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/292012217

    2014-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay (Gale crater) on Mars include mudstone sampled by the Curiosity rover. The samples, John Klein and Cumberland, contain detrital basaltic minerals, calcium sulfates, iron oxide or hydroxides, iron sulfides, amorphous material, and trioctahedral smectites. The John

  16. ExoGeoLab Pilot Project for Landers, Rovers and Instruments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foing, Bernard

    2010-05-01

    We have developed a pilot facility with a Robotic Test Bench (ExoGeoLab) and a Mobile Lab Habitat (ExoHab). They can be used to validate concepts and external instruments from partner institutes. The ExoGeoLab research incubator project, has started in the frame of a collaboration between ILEWG (International Lunar Exploration working Group http://sci.esa.int/ilewg), ESTEC, NASA and academic partners, supported by a design and control desk in the European Space Incubator (ESI), as well as infrastructure. ExoGeoLab includes a sequence of technology and research pilot project activities: - Data analysis and interpretation of remote sensing and in-situ data, and merging of multi-scale data sets - Procurement and integration of geophysical, geo-chemical and astrobiological breadboard instruments on a surface station and rovers - Integration of cameras, environment and solar sensors, Visible and near IR spectrometer, Raman spectrometer, sample handling, cooperative rovers - Delivery of a generic small planetary lander demonstrator (ExoGeoLab lander, Sept 2009) as a platform for multi-instruments tests - Research operations and exploitation of ExoGeoLab test bench for various conceptual configurations, and support for definition and design of science surface packages (Moon, Mars, NEOs, outer moons) - Field tests of lander, rovers and instruments in analogue sites (Utah MDRS 2009 & 2010, Eifel volcanic park in Sept 2009, and future campaigns). Co-authors, ILEWG ExoGeoLab & ExoHab Team: B.H. Foing(1,11)*#, C. Stoker(2,11)*, P. Ehrenfreund(10,11), L. Boche-Sauvan(1,11)*, L. Wendt(8)*, C. Gross(8, 11)*, C. Thiel(9)*, S. Peters(1,6)*, A. Borst(1,6)*, J. Zavaleta(2)*, P. Sarrazin(2)*, D. Blake(2), J. Page(1,4,11), V. Pletser(5,11)*, E. Monaghan(1)*, P. Mahapatra(1)#, A. Noroozi(3), P. Giannopoulos(1,11) , A. Calzada(1,6,11), R. Walker(7), T. Zegers(1, 15) #, G. Groemer(12)# , W. Stumptner(12)#, B. Foing(2,5), J. K. Blom(3)#, A. Perrin(14)#, M. Mikolajczak(14)#, S. Chevrier(14

  17. The MARS2013 Mars analog mission.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Groemer, Gernot; Soucek, Alexander; Frischauf, Norbert; Stumptner, Willibald; Ragonig, Christoph; Sams, Sebastian; Bartenstein, Thomas; Häuplik-Meusburger, Sandra; Petrova, Polina; Evetts, Simon; Sivenesan, Chan; Bothe, Claudia; Boyd, Andrea; Dinkelaker, Aline; Dissertori, Markus; Fasching, David; Fischer, Monika; Föger, Daniel; Foresta, Luca; Fritsch, Lukas; Fuchs, Harald; Gautsch, Christoph; Gerard, Stephan; Goetzloff, Linda; Gołebiowska, Izabella; Gorur, Paavan; Groemer, Gerhard; Groll, Petra; Haider, Christian; Haider, Olivia; Hauth, Eva; Hauth, Stefan; Hettrich, Sebastian; Jais, Wolfgang; Jones, Natalie; Taj-Eddine, Kamal; Karl, Alexander; Kauerhoff, Tilo; Khan, Muhammad Shadab; Kjeldsen, Andreas; Klauck, Jan; Losiak, Anna; Luger, Markus; Luger, Thomas; Luger, Ulrich; McArthur, Jane; Moser, Linda; Neuner, Julia; Orgel, Csilla; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Paternesi, Roberta; Peschier, Jarno; Pfeil, Isabella; Prock, Silvia; Radinger, Josef; Ramirez, Barbara; Ramo, Wissam; Rampey, Mike; Sams, Arnold; Sams, Elisabeth; Sandu, Oana; Sans, Alejandra; Sansone, Petra; Scheer, Daniela; Schildhammer, Daniel; Scornet, Quentin; Sejkora, Nina; Stadler, Andrea; Stummer, Florian; Taraba, Michael; Tlustos, Reinhard; Toferer, Ernst; Turetschek, Thomas; Winter, Egon; Zanella-Kux, Katja

    2014-05-01

    We report on the MARS2013 mission, a 4-week Mars analog field test in the northern Sahara. Nineteen experiments were conducted by a field crew in Morocco under simulated martian surface exploration conditions, supervised by a Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria. A Remote Science Support team analyzed field data in near real time, providing planning input for the management of a complex system of field assets; two advanced space suit simulators, four robotic vehicles, an emergency shelter, and a stationary sensor platform in a realistic work flow were coordinated by a Flight Control Team. A dedicated flight planning group, external control centers for rover tele-operations, and a biomedical monitoring team supported the field operations. A 10 min satellite communication delay and other limitations pertinent to human planetary surface activities were introduced. The fields of research for the experiments were geology, human factors, astrobiology, robotics, tele-science, exploration, and operations research. This paper provides an overview of the geological context and environmental conditions of the test site and the mission architecture, in particular the communication infrastructure emulating the signal travel time between Earth and Mars. We report on the operational work flows and the experiments conducted, including a deployable shelter prototype for multiple-day extravehicular activities and contingency situations.

  18. Powered Flight Design and Reconstructed Performance Summary for the Mars Science Laboratory Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sell, Steven; Chen, Allen; Davis, Jody; San Martin, Miguel; Serricchio, Frederick; Singh, Gurkirpal

    2013-01-01

    The Powered Flight segment of Mars Science Laboratory's (MSL) Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) system extends from backshell separation through landing. This segment is responsible for removing the final 0.1% of the kinetic energy dissipated during EDL and culminating with the successful touchdown of the rover on the surface of Mars. Many challenges exist in the Powered Flight segment: extraction of Powered Descent Vehicle from the backshell, performing a 300m divert maneuver to avoid the backshell and parachute, slowing the descent from 85 m/s to 0.75 m/s and successfully lowering the rover on a 7.5m bridle beneath the rocket-powered Descent Stage and gently placing it on the surface using the Sky Crane Maneuver. Finally, the nearly-spent Descent Stage must execute a Flyaway maneuver to ensure surface impact a safe distance from the Rover. This paper provides an overview of the powered flight design, key features, and event timeline. It also summarizes Curiosity's as flown performance on the night of August 5th as reconstructed by the flight team.

  19. Wide Range Vacuum Pumps for the SAM Instrument on the MSL Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sorensen, Paul; Kline-Schoder, Robert; Farley, Rodger

    2014-01-01

    Creare Incorporated and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center developed and space qualified two wide range pumps (WRPs) that were included in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. This instrument was subsequently integrated into the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) "Curiosity Rover," launched aboard an Atlas V rocket in 2011, and landed on August 6, 2012, in the Gale Crater on Mars. The pumps have now operated for more than 18 months in the Gale Crater and have been evacuating the key components of the SAM instrument: a quadrupole mass spectrometer, a tunable laser spectrometer, and six gas chromatograph columns. In this paper, we describe the main design challenges and the ways in which they were solved. This includes the custom design of a miniaturized, high-speed motor to drive the turbo drag pump rotor, analysis of rotor dynamics for super critical operation, and bearing/lubricant design/selection.

  20. MER 1 MARS ALPHA PARTICLE X-RAY SPECTROMETER 2 XRAYSPEC V1.0

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This archive contains Mars Exploration Rover x-ray data products from the APXS instrument and ancillary files. Each product has a detached PDS label that describes...

  1. Updates from the MSL-RAD Experiment on the Mars Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeitlin, Cary

    2015-01-01

    The MSL-RAD instrument continues to operate flawlessly on Mars. As of this writing, some 1040 sols (Martian days) of data have been successfully acquired. Several improvements have been made to the instrument's configuration, particularly aimed at enabling the analysis of neutral-particle data. The dose rate since MSL's landing in August 2012 has remained remarkably stable, reflecting the unusual and very weak solar maximum of Cycle 24. Only a few small SEP events have been observed by RAD, which is shielded by the Martian atmosphere. Gale Crater, where Curiosity landed, is 4.4 km below the mean surface of Mars, and the column depth of atmosphere above is approximately 20 g/sq cm, which provides significant attenuation of GCR heavy ions and SEPs. Recent analysis results will be presented, including updated estimates of the neutron contributions to dose and dose equivalent in cruise and on the surface of Mars.

  2. Constructing an Educational Mars Simulation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henke, Stephen A.

    2004-01-01

    January 14th 2004, President George Bush announces his plans to catalyst the space program into a new era of space exploration and discovery. His vision encompasses a robotics program to explore our solar system, a return to the moon, the human exploration of Mars, and to promote international prosperity towards our endeavors. We at NASA now have the task of constructing this vision in a very real timeframe. I have been chosen to begin phase 1 of making this vision a reality. I will be working on creating an Educational Mars Simulation of human exploration of Mars to stimulate interest and involvement with the project from investors and the community. GRC s Computer Services Division (CSD) in collaboration with the Office of Education Programs will be designing models, constructing terrain, and programming this simulation to create a realistic portrayal of human exploration on mars. With recent and past technological breakthroughs in computing, my primary goal can be accomplished with only the aid of 3-4 software packages. Lightwave 3D is the modeling package we have selected to use for the creation of our digital objects. This includes a Mars pressurized rover, rover cockpit, landscape/terrain, and habitat. Once we have the models completed they need textured so Photoshop and Macromedia Fireworks are handy for bringing these objects to life. Before directly importing all of this data into a simulation environment, it is necessary to first render a stunning animation of the desired final product. This animation with represent what we hope to capture out of the simulation and it will include all of the accessories like ray-tracing, fog effects, shadows, anti-aliasing, particle effects, volumetric lighting, and lens flares. Adobe Premier will more than likely be used for video editing and adding ambient noises and music. Lastly, V-Tree is the real-time 3D graphics engine which will facilitate our realistic simulation. Additional information is included in the

  3. APXS on board Chandrayaan-2 Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shanmugam, M.; Sripada, V. S. Murty; Acharya, Y. B.; Goyal, S. K.

    2012-07-01

    Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) is a well proven instrument for quantitative in situ elemental analysis of the planetary surfaces and has been successfully employed for Mars surface exploration. Chandrayaan-2, ISRO's second lunar mission having an Orbiter, Lander and Rover has provided an opportunity to explore the lunar surface with superior detectors such as Silicon Drift Detector (SDD) with energy resolution of about 150eV @ 5.9keV. The objective of the APXS instrument is to analyse several soil/rock samples along the rover traverse for the major elements with characteristic X-rays in 1 to 25keV range. The working principle of APXS involves measuring the intensity of characteristic X-rays emitted from the sample due to Alpha Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE) and X-ray florescence (XRF) processes using suitable radioactive sources, allowing the determination of elements from Na to Br, spanning the energy range of 0.9 to 16keV. For this experiment ^{244}Cm radioactive source has been chosen which emits both Alpha particles (5.8MeV) and X-rays (14.1keV, 18keV). APXS uses six Alpha sources, each about 5mCi activity. Unlike Mars, lunar environment poses additional challenges due to the regolith and extreme surface temperature changes, to operate the APXS. Our APXS instrument consists of two packages namely APXS sensor head and APXS signal electronics. The sensor head assembly contains SDD, six alpha sources and front end electronic circuits such as preamplifier and shaper circuits and will be mounted on a robotic arm which on command brings the sensor head close to the lunar surface at a height of 35±10mm. SDD module to be used in the experiment has 30mm ^{2} active detector area with in-built peltier cooler and heat sink to maintain the detector at about -35°C. The detector is covered with 8 micron thick Be window which results in the low energy threshold of about 1keV. The size of the APXS sensor head is 70x70x70mm ^{3} (approx). APXS signal

  4. Elemental geochemistry of sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    McLennan, S.M.; Anderson, R.B.; Bell III, J.F.; Bridges, J.C.; Calef III, F.; Campbell, J.L.; Clark, B.C.; Clegg, S.; Conrad, P.; Cousin, A.; Des Marais, D.J.; Dromart, G.; Dyar, M.D.; Edgar, L.A.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fabre, C.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Gellert, R.; Gordon, S.; Grant, J.A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K.E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; King, P.L.; Mouélic, S.L.; Leshin, L.A.; Léveillé, R.; Lewis, K.W.; Mangold, N.; Maurice, S.; Ming, D.W.; Morris, R.V.; Nachon, M.; Newsom, H.E.; Ollila, A.M.; Perrett, G.M.; Rice, M.S.; Schmidt, M.E.; Schwenzer, S.P.; Stack, K.; Stolper, E.M.; Sumner, D.Y.; Treiman, A.H.; VanBommel, S.; Vaniman, D.T.; Vasavada, A.; Wiens, R.C.; Yingst, R.A.; ten Kate, Inge Loes|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/292012217

    2014-01-01

    Sedimentary rocks examined by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay, Mars, were derived from sources that evolved from an approximately average martian crustal composition to one influenced by alkaline basalts. No evidence of chemical weathering is preserved, indicating arid, possibly cold,

  5. Mars Atmosphere Resource Verification INsitu (MARVIN) - In Situ Resource Demonstration for the Mars 2020 Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanders, Gerald B.; Araghi, Koorosh; Ess, Kim M.; Valencia, Lisa M.; Muscatello, Anthony C.; Calle, Carlos I.; Clark, Larry; Iacomini, Christie

    2014-01-01

    The making of oxygen from resources in the Martian atmosphere, known as In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), has the potential to provide substantial benefits for future robotic and human exploration. In particular, the ability to produce oxygen on Mars for use in propulsion, life support, and power systems can provide significant mission benefits such as a reducing launch mass, lander size, and mission and crew risk. To advance ISRU for possible incorporation into future human missions to Mars, NASA proposed including an ISRU instrument on the Mars 2020 rover mission, through an announcement of opportunity (AO). The purpose of the the Mars Atmosphere Resource Verification INsitu or (MARVIN) instrument is to provide the first demonstration on Mars of oxygen production from acquired and stored Martian atmospheric carbon dioxide, as well as take measurements of atmospheric pressure and temperature, and of suspended dust particle sizes and amounts entrained in collected atmosphere gases at different times of the Mars day and year. The hardware performance and environmental data obtained will be critical for future ISRU systems that will reduce the mass of propellants and other consumables launched from Earth for robotic and human exploration, for better understanding of Mars dust and mitigation techniques to improve crew safety, and to help further define Mars global circulation models and better understand the regional atmospheric dynamics on Mars. The technologies selected for MARVIN are also scalable for future robotic sample return and human missions to Mars using ISRU.

  6. An ESA Robotic Package to Search for Life on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Westall, F.; Brack, A.; Clancy, P.; Hofmann, B.; Horneck, G.; Kurat, G.; Maxwell, J.; Ori, G. G.; Pillinger, C.; Raulin, F.

    1999-01-01

    Similarities in the early histories of Mars and Earth suggest that life may have arisen on Mars as it did on Earth. The early life forms on Mars were probably simple organisms, similar to terrestrial prokaryotes. In fact, given the early deterioration of the Martian climate, it is unlikely that life on Mars could ever have reached more sophisticated evolution. Based on the present knowledge of Mars, the possibility of extant life at the surface is small. However, given the adaptability of terrestrial prokaryotes under adverse conditions, it is not excluded. Any extant life is hypothesized to reside in the permafrost in a dormant state until "reanimated" by impact-caused hydrothermal activity. Using this rationale, a group of European scientists worked together to conceive a hypothetical strategy to search for life on Mars. A possible configuration for a lander/rover is outlined.

  7. Multijunction Solar Cell Technology for Mars Surface Applications

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stella, Paul M.; Mardesich, Nick; Ewell, Richard C.; Mueller, Robert L.; Endicter, Scott; Aiken, Daniel; Edmondson, Kenneth; Fetze, Chris

    2006-01-01

    Solar cells used for Mars surface applications have been commercial space qualified AM0 optimized devices. Due to the Martian atmosphere, these cells are not optimized for the Mars surface and as a result operate at a reduced efficiency. A multi-year program, MOST (Mars Optimized Solar Cell Technology), managed by JPL and funded by NASA Code S, was initiated in 2004, to develop tools to modify commercial AM0 cells for the Mars surface solar spectrum and to fabricate Mars optimized devices for verification. This effort required defining the surface incident spectrum, developing an appropriate laboratory solar simulator measurement capability, and to develop and test commercial cells modified for the Mars surface spectrum. This paper discusses the program, including results for the initial modified cells. Simulated Mars surface measurements of MER cells and Phoenix Lander cells (2007 launch) are provided to characterize the performance loss for those missions. In addition, the performance of the MER rover solar arrays is updated to reflect their more than two (2) year operation.

  8. VNIR Multispectral Observations of Rocks at Spirit of St. Louis Crater and Marathon Valley on Th Rim of Endeavour Crater Made by the Opportunity Rover Pancam

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farrand, W. H.; Johnson, J. R.; Bell, J. F., III; Mittlefehldt, D.W.

    2016-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has been exploring the western rim of the 22 km diameter Endeavour crater since August, 2011. Recently, Opportunity has reached a break in the Endeavour rim that the rover team has named Mara-thon Valley. This is the site where orbital observations from the MRO CRISM imaging spectrometer indicated the presence of iron smectites. On the outer western portion of Marathon Valley, Opportunity explored the crater-form feature dubbed Spirit of St. Louis (SoSL) crater. This presentation describes the 430 to 1009 nm (VNIR) reflectance, measured by the rover's Pancam, of rock units present both at Spirit of St. Louis and within Marathon Valley.

  9. ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter provides atmospheric data during Aerobraking into its final orbit

    Science.gov (United States)

    Svedhem, Hakan; Vago, Jorge L.; Bruinsma, Sean; Müller-Wodarg, Ingo; ExoMars 2016 Team

    2017-10-01

    After the arrival of the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) at Mars on 19 October 2016 a number of initial orbit change manoeuvres were executed and the spacecraft was put in an orbit with a 24 hour period and 74 degrees inclination. The spacecraft and its four instruments were thoroughly checked out after arrival and a few measurements and images were taken in November 2016 and in Feb-March 2017. The solar occultation observations have however not yet been possible due to lack of the proper geometry.On 15 March a long period of aerobraking to reach the final 400km semi-circular frozen orbit (370x430km, with a fixed pericentre latitude). This orbit is optimised for the payload observations and for the communication relay with the ExoMars Rover, due to arrive in 2021.The aerobraking is proceeding well and the final orbit is expected to be reached in April 2018. A large data set is being acquired for the upper atmosphere of Mars, from the limit of the sensitivity of the accelerometer, down to lowest altitude of the aerobraking at about 105km. Initial analysis has shown a highly variable atmosphere with a slightly lower density then predicted by existing models. Until the time of the abstract writing no dust storms have been observed.The ExoMars programme is a joint activity by the European Space Agency(ESA) and ROSCOSMOS, Russia. ESA is providing the TGO spacecraft and Schiaparelli (EDM) and two of the TGO instruments and ROSCOSMOS is providing the Proton launcher and the other two TGO instruments. After the arrival of the ExoMars 2020 mission, consisting of a Rover and a Surface platform also launched by a Proton rocket, the TGO will handle the communication between the Earth and the Rover and Surface Platform through its (NASA provided) UHF communication system.

  10. Mars Sample Return - Launch and Detection Strategies for Orbital Rendezvous

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woolley, Ryan C.; Mattingly, Richard L.; Riedel, Joseph E.; Sturm, Erick J.

    2011-01-01

    This study sets forth conceptual mission design strategies for the ascent and rendezvous phase of the proposed NASA/ESA joint Mars Sample Return Campaign. The current notional mission architecture calls for the launch of an acquisition/cache rover in 2018, an orbiter with an Earth return vehicle in 2022, and a fetch rover and ascent vehicle in 2024. Strategies are presented to launch the sample into a coplanar orbit with the Orbiter which facilitate robust optical detection, orbit determination, and rendezvous. Repeating ground track orbits exist at 457 and 572 km which provide multiple launch opportunities with similar geometries for detection and rendezvous.

  11. Mars Sample Return: Launch and Detection Strategies for Orbital Rendezvous

    Science.gov (United States)

    Woolley, Ryan C.; Mattingly, Richard L.; Riedel, Joseph E.; Sturm, Erick J.

    2011-01-01

    This study sets forth conceptual mission design strategies for the ascent and rendezvous phase of the proposed NASA/ESA joint Mars Sample Return Campaign. The current notional mission architecture calls for the launch of an acquisition/ caching rover in 2018, an Earth return orbiter in 2022, and a fetch rover with ascent vehicle in 2024. Strategies are presented to launch the sample into a nearly coplanar orbit with the Orbiter which would facilitate robust optical detection, orbit determination, and rendezvous. Repeating ground track orbits existat 457 and 572 km which would provide multiple launch opportunities with similar geometries for detection and rendezvous.

  12. Hypersonic and Supersonic Static Aerodynamics of Mars Science Laboratory Entry Vehicle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dyakonov, Artem A.; Schoenenberger, Mark; Vannorman, John W.

    2012-01-01

    This paper describes the analysis of continuum static aerodynamics of Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) entry vehicle (EV). The method is derived from earlier work for Mars Exploration Rover (MER) and Mars Path Finder (MPF) and the appropriate additions are made in the areas where physics are different from what the prior entry systems would encounter. These additions include the considerations for the high angle of attack of MSL EV, ablation of the heatshield during entry, turbulent boundary layer, and other aspects relevant to the flight performance of MSL. Details of the work, the supporting data and conclusions of the investigation are presented.

  13. Mars Science Laboratory Using Laser Instrument, Artist's Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    2007-01-01

    This artist's conception of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory portrays use of the rover's ChemCam instrument to identify the chemical composition of a rock sample on the surface of Mars. ChemCam is innovative for planetary exploration in using a technique referred to as laser breakdown spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of samples from distances of up to about 8 meters (25 feet) away. ChemCam is led by a team at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Centre d'Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements in Toulouse, France. Mars Science Laboratory, a mobile robot for investigating Mars' past or present ability to sustain microbial life, is in development at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a launch opportunity in 2009. The mission is managed by JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif., for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

  14. The Nitrate/Perchlorate Ratio on Mars as an Indicator for Habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Sutter, B.; McKay, C. P.; Navarro-Gonzalex, R.; Freissinet, C.; Conrad, P. G.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Archer, P. D., Jr.; Ming, D. W.; Niles, P. B.; hide

    2015-01-01

    Discovery of indigenous martian nitrogen in Mars surface materials has important implications for habitability and the potential development of a nitrogen cycle at some point in martian history. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover detected evolved nitric oxide (NO) gas during pyrolysis of scooped aeolian sediments and drilled mudstone acquired in Gale Crater. The detection of NO suggests an indigenous source of fixed N, and may indicate a mineralogical sink for atmospheric N2 in the form of nitrate. The ratio of nitrate to oxychlorine species (e.g. perchlorate) may provide insight into the extent of development of a nitrogen cycle on Mars.

  15. CO2 Insulation for Thermal Control of the Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhandari, Pradeep; Karlmann, Paul; Anderson, Kevin; Novak, Keith

    2011-01-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is sending a large (>850 kg) rover as part of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission to Mars in 2011. The rover's primary power source is a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) that generates roughly 2000 W of heat, which is converted to approximately 110 W of electrical power for use by the rover electronics, science instruments, and mechanism-actuators. The large rover size and extreme thermal environments (cold and hot) for which the rover is designed for led to a sophisticated thermal control system to keep it within allowable temperature limits. The pre-existing Martian atmosphere of low thermal conductivity CO2 gas (8 Torr) is used to thermally protect the rover and its components from the extremely cold Martian environment (temperatures as low as -130 deg C). Conventional vacuum based insulation like Multi Layer Insulation (MLI) is not effective in a gaseous atmosphere, so engineered gaps between the warm rover internal components and the cold rover external structure were employed to implement this thermal isolation. Large gaps would lead to more thermal isolation, but would also require more of the precious volume available within the rover. Therefore, a balance of the degree of thermal isolation achieved vs. the volume of rover utilized is required to reach an acceptable design. The temperature differences between the controlled components and the rover structure vary from location to location so each gap has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis to arrive at an optimal thickness. For every configuration and temperature difference, there is a critical thickness below which the heat transfer mechanism is dominated by simple gaseous thermal conduction. For larger gaps, the mechanism is dominated by natural convection. In general, convection leads to a poorer level of thermal isolation as compared to conduction. All these considerations play important roles in the

  16. Mars Science Laboratory Flight Software Internal Testing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Justin D.; Lam, Danny

    2011-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) team is sending the rover, Curiosity, to Mars, and therefore is physically and technically complex. During my stay, I have assisted the MSL Flight Software (FSW) team in implementing functional test scripts to ensure that the FSW performs to the best of its abilities. There are a large number of FSW requirements that have been written up for implementation; however I have only been assigned a few sections of these requirements. There are many stages within testing; one of the early stages is FSW Internal Testing (FIT). The FIT team can accomplish this with simulation software and the MSL Test Automation Kit (MTAK). MTAK has the ability to integrate with the Software Simulation Equipment (SSE) and the Mission Processing and Control System (MPCS) software which makes it a powerful tool within the MSL FSW development process. The MSL team must ensure that the rover accomplishes all stages of the mission successfully. Due to the natural complexity of this project there is a strong emphasis on testing, as failure is not an option. The entire mission could be jeopardized if something is overlooked.

  17. The Electrostatic Environments of Mars and the Moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calle, Carlos I.

    2011-01-01

    The electrical activity present in the environment near the surfaces of Mars and the moon has very different origins and presents a challenge to manned and robotic planetary exploration missions. Mars is covered with a layer of dust that has been redistributed throughout the entire planet by global dust storms. Dust, levitated by these storms as well as by the frequent dust devils, is expected to be electrostatically charged due to the multiple grain collisions in the dust-laden atmosphere. Dust covering the surface of the moon is expected to be electrostatically charged due to the solar wind, cosmic rays, and the solar radiation itself through the photoelectric effect. Electrostatically charged dust has a large tendency to adhere to surfaces. NASA's Mars exploration rovers have shown that atmospheric dust falling on solar panels can decrease their efficiency to the point of rendering the rover unusable. And as the Apollo missions to the moon showed, lunar dust adhesion can hinder manned and unmanned lunar exploration activities. Taking advantage of the electrical activity on both planetary system bodies, dust removal technologies are now being developed that use electrostatic and dielectrophoretic forces to produce controlled dust motion. This paper presents a short review of the theoretical and semiempirical models that have been developed for the lunar and Martian electrical environments.

  18. The electrostatic environments of Mars and the Moon

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Calle, C I

    2011-01-01

    The electrical activity present in the environment near the surfaces of Mars and the moon has very different origins and presents a challenge to manned and robotic planetary exploration missions. Mars is covered with a layer of dust that has been redistributed throughout the entire planet by global dust storms. Dust, levitated by these storms as well as by the frequent dust devils, is expected to be electrostatically charged due to the multiple grain collisions in the dust-laden atmosphere. Dust covering the surface of the moon is expected to be electrostatically charged due to the solar wind, cosmic rays, and the solar radiation itself through the photoelectric effect. Electrostatically charged dust has a large tendency to adhere to surfaces. NASA's Mars exploration rovers have shown that atmospheric dust falling on solar panels can decrease their efficiency to the point of rendering the rover unusable. And as the Apollo missions to the moon showed, lunar dust adhesion can hinder manned and unmanned lunar exploration activities. Taking advantage of the electrical activity on both planetary system bodies, dust removal technologies are now being developed that use electrostatic and dielectrophoretic forces to produce controlled dust motion. This paper presents a short review of the theoretical and semiempirical models that have been developed for the lunar and Martian electrical environments.

  19. JPL Project Information Management: A Continuum Back to the Future

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reiz, Julie M.

    2009-01-01

    This slide presentation reviews the practices and architecture that support information management at JPL. This practice has allowed concurrent use and reuse of information by primary and secondary users. The use of this practice is illustrated in the evolution of the Mars Rovers from the Mars Pathfinder to the development of the Mars Science Laboratory. The recognition of the importance of information management during all phases of a project life cycle has resulted in the design of an information system that includes metadata, has reduced the risk of information loss through the use of an in-process appraisal, shaping of project's appreciation for capturing and managing the information on one project for re-use by future projects as a natural outgrowth of the process. This process has also assisted in connection of geographically disbursed partners into a team through sharing information, common tools and collaboration.

  20. Investigation of small scale roughness properties of Martian terrains using Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ivanov, A. B.; Rossi, A.

    2009-04-01

    Studies of layered terrains in polar regions as well as inside craters and other areas on Mars often require knowledge of local topography at much finer resolution than global MOLA topography allows. For example, in the polar layered deposits spatial relationships are important to understand unconformities that are observed on the edges of the layered terrains [15,3]. Their formation process is not understood at this point, yet fine scale topography, joint with ground penetrating radar like SHARAD and MARSIS may shed light on their 3D structure. Landing site analysis also requires knowledge of local slopes and roughness at scales from 1 to 10 m [1,2]. Mars Orbiter Camera [13] has taken stereo images at these scales, however interpretation was difficult due to unstable behavior of the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft during image take (wobbling effect). Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) is much better stabilized, since it is required for optimal operation of its high resolution camera. In this work we have utilized data from MRO sensors (CTX camera [11] and HIRISE camera [12] in order to derive digital elevation models (DEM) from images targeted as stereo pairs. We employed methods and approaches utilized for the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) stereo data [4,5]. CTX data varies in resolution and stereo pairs analyzed in this work can be derived at approximately 10m scale. HIRISE images allow DEM post spacing at around 1 meter. The latter are very big images and our computer infrastructure was only able to process either reduced resolution images, covering larger surface or working with smaller patches at the original resolution. We employed stereo matching technique described in [5,9], in conjunction with radiometric and geometric image processing in ISIS3 [16]. This technique is capable of deriving tiepoint co-registration at subpixel precision and has proven itself when used for Pathfinder and MER operations [8]. Considerable part of this work was to accommodate CTX and

  1. Onboard calibration igneous targets for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Chemistry Camera laser induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fabre, C., E-mail: cecile.fabre@g2r.uhp-nancy.fr [G2R, Nancy Universite (France); Maurice, S.; Cousin, A. [IRAP, Toulouse (France); Wiens, R.C. [LANL, Los Alamos, NM (United States); Forni, O. [IRAP, Toulouse (France); Sautter, V. [MNHN, Paris (France); Guillaume, D. [GET, Toulouse (France)

    2011-03-15

    Accurate characterization of the Chemistry Camera (ChemCam) laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) on-board composition targets is of prime importance for the ChemCam instrument. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) science and operations teams expect ChemCam to provide the first compositional results at remote distances (1.5-7 m) during the in situ analyses of the Martian surface starting in 2012. Thus, establishing LIBS reference spectra from appropriate calibration standards must be undertaken diligently. Considering the global mineralogy of the Martian surface, and the possible landing sites, three specific compositions of igneous targets have been determined. Picritic, noritic, and shergottic glasses have been produced, along with a Macusanite natural glass. A sample of each target will fly on the MSL Curiosity rover deck, 1.56 m from the ChemCam instrument, and duplicates are available on the ground. Duplicates are considered to be identical, as the relative standard deviation (RSD) of the composition dispersion is around 8%. Electronic microprobe and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA ICP-MS) analyses give evidence that the chemical composition of the four silicate targets is very homogeneous at microscopic scales larger than the instrument spot size, with RSD < 5% for concentration variations > 0.1 wt.% using electronic microprobe, and < 10% for concentration variations > 0.01 wt.% using LA ICP-MS. The LIBS campaign on the igneous targets performed under flight-like Mars conditions establishes reference spectra for the entire mission. The LIBS spectra between 240 and 900 nm are extremely rich, hundreds of lines with high signal-to-noise, and a dynamical range sufficient to identify unambiguously major, minor and trace elements. For instance, a first LIBS calibration curve has been established for strontium from [Sr] = 284 ppm to [Sr] = 1480 ppm, showing the potential for the future calibrations for other major or minor

  2. Onboard calibration igneous targets for the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Chemistry Camera laser induced breakdown spectroscopy instrument

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fabre, C.; Maurice, S.; Cousin, A.; Wiens, R.C.; Forni, O.; Sautter, V.; Guillaume, D.

    2011-01-01

    Accurate characterization of the Chemistry Camera (ChemCam) laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) on-board composition targets is of prime importance for the ChemCam instrument. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) science and operations teams expect ChemCam to provide the first compositional results at remote distances (1.5-7 m) during the in situ analyses of the Martian surface starting in 2012. Thus, establishing LIBS reference spectra from appropriate calibration standards must be undertaken diligently. Considering the global mineralogy of the Martian surface, and the possible landing sites, three specific compositions of igneous targets have been determined. Picritic, noritic, and shergottic glasses have been produced, along with a Macusanite natural glass. A sample of each target will fly on the MSL Curiosity rover deck, 1.56 m from the ChemCam instrument, and duplicates are available on the ground. Duplicates are considered to be identical, as the relative standard deviation (RSD) of the composition dispersion is around 8%. Electronic microprobe and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA ICP-MS) analyses give evidence that the chemical composition of the four silicate targets is very homogeneous at microscopic scales larger than the instrument spot size, with RSD 0.1 wt.% using electronic microprobe, and 0.01 wt.% using LA ICP-MS. The LIBS campaign on the igneous targets performed under flight-like Mars conditions establishes reference spectra for the entire mission. The LIBS spectra between 240 and 900 nm are extremely rich, hundreds of lines with high signal-to-noise, and a dynamical range sufficient to identify unambiguously major, minor and trace elements. For instance, a first LIBS calibration curve has been established for strontium from [Sr] = 284 ppm to [Sr] = 1480 ppm, showing the potential for the future calibrations for other major or minor elements.

  3. Mimicking Martian dust: An in-vacuum dust deposition system for testing the ultraviolet sensors on the Curiosity rover

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sobrado, J. M.; Martín-Soler, J.; Martín-Gago, J. A.

    2015-01-01

    We have designed and developed an in-vacuum dust deposition system specifically conceived to simulate and study the effect of accumulation of Martian dust on the electronic instruments of scientific planetary exploration missions. We have used this device to characterize the dust effect on the UV sensor of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station in the Mars science Laboratory mission of NASA in similar conditions to those found on Mars surface. The UV sensor includes six photodiodes for measuring the radiation in all UV wavelengths (direct incidence and reflected); it is placed on the body of Curiosity rover and it is severely affected by the dust deposited on it. Our experimental setup can help to estimate the duration of reliable reading of this instrument during operation. We have used an analogous of the Martian dust in chemical composition (magnetic species), color, and density, which has been characterized by X-ray spectroscopy. To ensure a Brownian motion of the dust during its fall and a homogeneous coverage on the instrumentation, the operating conditions of the vacuum vessel, determined by partial pressures and temperature, have to be modified to account for the different gravities of Mars with respect to Earth. We propose that our designed device and operational protocol can be of interest to test optoelectronic instrumentation affected by the opacity of dust, as can be the degradation of UV photodiodes in planetary exploration

  4. Mimicking Martian dust: An in-vacuum dust deposition system for testing the ultraviolet sensors on the Curiosity rover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sobrado, J. M., E-mail: sobradovj@inta.es; Martín-Soler, J. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Martín-Gago, J. A. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM–CSIC), Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)

    2015-10-15

    We have designed and developed an in-vacuum dust deposition system specifically conceived to simulate and study the effect of accumulation of Martian dust on the electronic instruments of scientific planetary exploration missions. We have used this device to characterize the dust effect on the UV sensor of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station in the Mars science Laboratory mission of NASA in similar conditions to those found on Mars surface. The UV sensor includes six photodiodes for measuring the radiation in all UV wavelengths (direct incidence and reflected); it is placed on the body of Curiosity rover and it is severely affected by the dust deposited on it. Our experimental setup can help to estimate the duration of reliable reading of this instrument during operation. We have used an analogous of the Martian dust in chemical composition (magnetic species), color, and density, which has been characterized by X-ray spectroscopy. To ensure a Brownian motion of the dust during its fall and a homogeneous coverage on the instrumentation, the operating conditions of the vacuum vessel, determined by partial pressures and temperature, have to be modified to account for the different gravities of Mars with respect to Earth. We propose that our designed device and operational protocol can be of interest to test optoelectronic instrumentation affected by the opacity of dust, as can be the degradation of UV photodiodes in planetary exploration.

  5. Spacecraft navigation at Mars using earth-based and in situ radio tracking techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thurman, S. W.; Edwards, C. D.; Kahn, R. D.; Vijayaraghavan, A.; Hastrup, R. C.; Cesarone, R. J.

    1992-08-01

    A survey of earth-based and in situ radiometric data types and results from a number of studies investigating potential radio navigation performance for spacecraft approaching/orbiting Mars and for landed spacecraft and rovers on the surface of Mars are presented. The performance of Doppler, ranging and interferometry earth-based data types involving single or multiple spacecraft is addressed. This evaluation is conducted with that of in situ data types, such as Doppler and ranging measurements between two spacecraft near Mars, or between a spacecraft and one or more surface radio beacons.

  6. Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hurowitz, J A; Grotzinger, J P; Fischer, W W; McLennan, S M; Milliken, R E; Stein, N; Vasavada, A R; Blake, D F; Dehouck, E; Eigenbrode, J L; Fairén, A G; Frydenvang, J; Gellert, R; Grant, J A; Gupta, S; Herkenhoff, K E; Ming, D W; Rampe, E B; Schmidt, M E; Siebach, K L; Stack-Morgan, K; Sumner, D Y; Wiens, R C

    2017-06-02

    In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition from colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Finally, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  7. Mars entry-to-landing trajectory optimization and closed loop guidance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ilgen, Marc R.; Manning, Raymund A.; Cruz, Manuel I.

    1991-01-01

    The guidance strategy of the Mars Rover Sample Return mission is presented in detail. Aeromaneuver versus aerobrake trades are examined, and an aerobrake analysis is presented which takes into account targeting, guidance, flight control, trajectory profile, delivery accuracy. An aeromaneuver analysis is given which includes the entry corridor, maneuver footprint, guidance, preentry phase, constant drag phase, equilibrium guide phase, variable drag phase, influence of trajectory profile on the entry flight loads, parachute deployment conditions and strategies, and landing accuracy. The Mars terminal descent phase is analyzed.

  8. Searching for Life on Early Mars: Lessons from the Pilbara

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarke, J. D. A.; Stoker, C. R.

    2016-01-01

    Stromatolites in the Pilbara region of Western Australia constitute the earliest outcrop-scale evidence of life on Earth (Figure 1). The stromatolites in the 3.4 Ga Strelley Pool Formation (SPF) provide an important analog for searching for fossil evidence of early life on Mars, as Noachian aged sediments on Mars were formed under similar environmental conditions. Stromatolites represent possibly the best evidence that could be collected by a rover because they form recognizable macroscopic structures and are often associated with chemical and microscopic evidence.

  9. Volcanic lake systems as terrestrial analogue for sulphate-rich terrains on Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rodríguez, A.

    2016-01-01

    Remote-sensing observations and rover missions have documented the abundant presence of sulphate-rich mineral associations on the surface of Mars. Together with widespread occurrences of silica and frequent enrichments of chlorine and bromine in soils and rocks, the sulphate associations are

  10. Mineralogy of an active eolian sediment from the Namib dune, Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Achilles, C. N.; Downs, R. T.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Morris, R. V.; Treiman, A. H.; Morrison, S. M.; Blake, D. F.; Vaniman, D. T.; Ewing, R. C.; Chipera, S. J.; Yen, A. S.; Bristow, T. F.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Gellert, R.; Hazen, R. M.; Fendrich, K. V.; Craig, P. I.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Des Marais, D. J.; Farmer, J. D.; Sarrazin, P. C.; Morookian, J. M.

    2017-11-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, is using a comprehensive scientific payload to explore rocks and soils in Gale crater, Mars. Recent investigations of the Bagnold Dune Field provided the first in situ assessment of an active dune on Mars. The Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument on Curiosity performed quantitative mineralogical analyses of the history of the dune material and offers an important opportunity for ground truth of orbital observations. CheMin's analysis of the mineralogy and phase chemistry of modern and ancient Gale crater dune fields, together with other measurements by Curiosity's science payload, provides new insights into present and past eolian processes on Mars.

  11. Pathfinder-Plus on flight over Hawaiian Islands, with N'ihau and Lehua in the background

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-01-01

    Pathfinder-Plus on flight over Hawaiian Islands, with N'ihau and Lehua in the background. Pathfinder was a remotely controlled, solar-powered flying wing, designed and built as a proof-of-concept vehicle for a much larger aircraft capable of flying at extremely high altitudes for weeks at a time. It was built by AeroVironment, Inc., a California company that developed the human-powered Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross lightweight aircraft during the 1970s, and later made the solar-electric powered Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger. The basic configuration and concepts for Pathfinder were first realized with the HALSOL (High Altitude Solar) aircraft, built in 1983 by AeroVironment and the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. Pathfinder was constructed of advanced composites, plastics, and foam, and despite a wingspan of nearly 100 feet, it weighed only about 600 pounds. Pathfinder was one of several unpiloted prototypes under study by NASA's ERAST (Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology) program, a NASA-industry alliance which is helping develop advanced technologies that will enable aircraft to study the earth's environment during extremely long flights at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. (See project description below for Pathfinder's conversion to Pathfinder Plus.) In 1998, the Pathfinder solar-powered flying wing (see its photographs and project description) was modified into the longer-winged Pathfinder Plus configuration and on Aug. 6, 1998, Pathfinder Plus set an altitude record (for propeller-driven aircraft) of approximately 80,285 feet at the Pacific Missile Range Facility. The goal of the Pathfinder Plus flights was to validate new solar, aerodynamic, propulsion, and systems technology developed for its successor, the Centurion, which was designed to reach and sustain altitudes in the 100,000-foot range. The Centurion was succeeded by the Helios Prototype with a goal of reaching and sustaining flight at an altitude of 100,000 feet

  12. Radio Wave Propagation Handbook for Communication on and Around Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ho, Christian; Golshan, Nasser; Kliore, Arvydas

    2002-01-01

    This handbook examines the effects of the Martian environment on radio wave propagation on Mars and in the space near the planet. The environmental effects include these from the Martian atmosphere, ionosphere, global dust storms, aerosols, clouds, and geomorphologic features. Relevant Martian environmental parameters were extracted from the measurements of Mars missions during the past 30 years, especially from Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor. The results derived from measurements and analyses have been reviewed through an extensive literature search. The updated parameters have been theoretically analyzed to study their effects on radio propagation. This handbook also provides basic information about the entire telecommunications environment on and around Mars for propagation researchers, system engineers, and link analysts. Based on these original analyses, some important recommendations have been made, including the use of the Martian ionosphere as a reflector for Mars global or trans-horizon communication between future Martian colonies, reducing dust storm scattering effects, etc. These results have extended our wave propagation knowledge to a planet other than Earth; and the tables, models, and graphics included in this handbook will benefit telecommunication system engineers and scientific researchers.

  13. Feeding People's Curiosity: Leveraging the Cloud for Automatic Dissemination of Mars Images

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knight, David; Powell, Mark

    2013-01-01

    Smartphones and tablets have made wireless computing ubiquitous, and users expect instant, on-demand access to information. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) operations software suite, MSL InterfaCE (MSLICE), employs a different back-end image processing architecture compared to that of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) in order to better satisfy modern consumer-driven usage patterns and to offer greater server-side flexibility. Cloud services are a centerpiece of the server-side architecture that allows new image data to be delivered automatically to both scientists using MSLICE and the general public through the MSL website (http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/).

  14. Relay Telecommunications for the Coming Decade of Mars Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, C.; DePaula, R.

    2010-01-01

    Over the past decade, an evolving network of relay-equipped orbiters has advanced our capabilities for Mars exploration. NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, 2001 Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), as well as ESA's Mars Express Orbiter, have provided telecommunications relay services to the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, and to the 2007 Phoenix Lander. Based on these successes, a roadmap for continued Mars relay services is in place for the coming decade. MRO and Odyssey will provide key relay support to the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, including capture of critical event telemetry during entry, descent, and landing, as well as support for command and telemetry during surface operations, utilizing new capabilities of the Electra relay payload on MRO and the Electra-Lite payload on MSL to allow significant increase in data return relative to earlier missions. Over the remainder of the decade a number of additional orbiter and lander missions are planned, representing new orbital relay service providers and new landed relay users. In this paper we will outline this Mars relay roadmap, quantifying relay performance over time, illustrating planned support scenarios, and identifying key challenges and technology infusion opportunities.

  15. LISA Pathfinder: A Mission Status

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hewitson, Martin; LISA Pathfinder Team Team

    2016-03-01

    On December 3rd at 04:04 UTC, The European Space Agency launched the LISA Pathfinder satellite on board a VEGA rocket from Kourou in French Guiana. After a series of orbit raising manoeuvres and a 2 month long transfer orbit, LISA Pathfinder arrived at L1. Following a period of commissioning, the science operations commenced at the start of March, beginning the demonstration of technologies and methodologies which pave the way for a future large-scale gravitational wave observatory in space. This talk will present the scientific goals of the mission, discuss the technologies being tested, elucidate the link to a future space-based observatory, such as LISA, and present preliminary results from the in-orbit operations and experiments.

  16. Investigation of microbial diversity in a desert Mars-like environment: Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), Utah

    Science.gov (United States)

    Direito, Maria Susana; Staats, Martijn; Foing, Bernard H.; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Roling, Wilfred

    The Utah Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) harbours geo-morphology and geo-processes analogues to the planet Mars. Soil samples were collected during the EuroGeoMars campaign (from 24 January to 1 March 2009) from different locations and depths [1]. Samples were distributed among scientific collaborator institutes for analysis of microbial diversity, amino acid content and degradation, content of PAH or larger organic molecules, and respective soil properties. Our sample analysis had the objective of characterizing the microbial communities in this Mars analogue: DNA isolation, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) using primers for DNA amplification of Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene fragments, DGGE (Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis) and clone library construction with the final aim of sequencing. Results indicate that life is present in all the three domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria and Eukarya), while the most diversity was found in the domain Bacteria. Microorgan-isms are heterogeneously present and their identities are currently investigated. The obtained information will be later related to the other scientific analysis in order to obtain a better understanding of this Mars analogue site, which in turn will provide important information for the search for life on Mars. [1] Foing, B.H. et al . (2009). Exogeolab lander/rover instruments and EuroGeoMars MDRS campaign. LPI, 40, 2567.

  17. An Application of the "Virtual Spacecraft" Concept in Evaluation of the Mars Pathfinder Lander Low Gain Antenna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pogorzelski, R. J.; Beckon, R. J.

    1997-01-01

    The virtual spacecraft concept is embodied in a set of subsystems, either in the form of hardware or computational models, which together represent all, or a portion of, a spacecraft. For example, the telecommunications transponder may be a hardware prototype while the propulsion system may exist only as a simulation. As the various subsystems are realized in hardware, the spacecraft becomes progressively less virtual. This concept is enabled by JPL's Mission System Testbed which is a set of networked workstations running a message passing operating system called "TRAMEL" which stands for Task Remote Asynchronous Message Exchange Layer. Each simulation on the workstations, which may in fact be hardware controlled by the workstation, "publishes" its operating parameters on TRAMEL and other simulations requiring those parameters as input may "subscribe" to them. In this manner, the whole simulation operates as a single virtual system. This paper describes a simulation designed to evaluate a communications link between the earth and the Mars Pathfinder Lander module as it descends under a parachute through the Martian atmosphere toward the planet's surface. This link includes a transmitter and a low gain antenna on the spacecraft and a receiving antenna and receiver on the earth as well as a simulation of the dynamics of the spacecraft. The transmitter, the ground station antenna, the receiver and the dynamics are all simulated computationally while the spacecraft antenna is implemented in hardware on a very simple spacecraft mockup. The dynamics simulation is a record of one output of the ensemble of outputs of a Monte Carlo simulation of the descent. Additionally, the antenna/spacecraft mock-up system was simulated using APATCH, a shooting and bouncing ray code developed by Demaco, Inc. The antenna simulation, the antenna hardware, and the link simulation are all physically located in different facilities at JPL separated by several hundred meters and are linked via

  18. Integrated Results from Analysis of the Rocknest Aeolian Deposit by the Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leshin, L. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Blake, D. F.; Edgett, K. S.; Gellert, R.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Malin, M. C.; Wiens, R. C.; Treiman, A. H.; Ming, D. W.; hide

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover spent 45 sols (from sol 56-101) at an area called Rocknest (Fig. 1), characterizing local geology and ingesting its aeolian fines into the analytical instruments CheMin and SAM for mineralogical and chemical analysis. Many abstracts at this meeting present the contextual information and detailed data on these first solid samples analyzed in detail by Curiosity at Rocknest. Here, we present an integrated view of the results from Rocknest - the general agreement from discussions among the entire MSL Science Team.

  19. Implementing the Mars Science Laboratory Terminal Descent Sensor Field Test Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montgomery, James F.; Bodie, James H.; Brown, Joseph D.; Chen, Allen; Chen, Curtis W.; Essmiller, John C.; Fisher, Charles D.; Goldberg, Hannah R.; Lee, Steven W.; Shaffer, Scott J.

    2012-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) will deliver a 900 kg rover to the surface of Mars in August 2012. MSL will utilize a new pulse-Doppler landing radar, the Terminal Descent Sensor (TDS). The TDS employs six narrow-beam antennas to provide unprecedented slant range and velocity performance at Mars to enable soft touchdown of the MSL rover using a unique sky crane Entry, De-scent, and Landing (EDL) technique. Prior to use on MSL, the TDS was put through a rigorous verification and validation (V&V) process. A key element of this V&V was operating the TDS over a series of field tests, using flight-like profiles expected during the descent and landing of MSL over Mars-like terrain on Earth. Limits of TDS performance were characterized with additional testing meant to stress operational modes outside of the expected EDL flight profiles. The flight envelope over which the TDS must operate on Mars encompasses such a large range of altitudes and velocities that a variety of venues were neces-sary to cover the test space. These venues included an F/A-18 high performance aircraft, a Eurocopter AS350 AStar helicopter and 100-meter tall Echo Towers at the China Lake Naval Air Warfare Center. Testing was carried out over a five year period from July 2006 to June 2011. TDS performance was shown, in gen-eral, to be excellent over all venues. This paper describes the planning, design, and implementation of the field test campaign plus results and lessons learned.

  20. Low cost manned Mars mission based on indigenous propellant production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruckner, A. P.; Cinnamon, M.; Hamling, S.; Mahn, K.; Phillips, J.; Westmark, V.

    1993-01-01

    The paper describes a low-cost approach to the manned exploration of Mars (which involves an unmanned mission followed two years later by a manned mission) based on near-term technologies and in situ propellant production. Particular attention is given to the basic mission architecture and its major components, including the orbital analysis, the unmanned segment, the Earth Return Vehicle, the aerobrake design, life sciences, guidance, communications, power, propellant production, the surface rovers, and Mars science. Also discussed are the cost per mission over an assumed 8-yr initiative.

  1. Slope activity in Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dundas, Colin M.; McEwen, Alfred S.

    2015-01-01

    High-resolution repeat imaging of Aeolis Mons, the central mound in Gale crater, reveals active slope processes within tens of kilometers of the Curiosity rover. At one location near the base of northeastern Aeolis Mons, dozens of transient narrow lineae were observed, resembling features (Recurring Slope Lineae) that are potentially due to liquid water. However, the lineae faded and have not recurred in subsequent Mars years. Other small-scale slope activity is common, but has different spatial and temporal characteristics. We have not identified confirmed RSL, which Rummel et al. (Rummel, J.D. et al. [2014]. Astrobiology 14, 887–968) recommended be treated as potential special regions for planetary protection. Repeat images acquired as Curiosity approaches the base of Aeolis Mons could detect changes due to active slope processes, which could enable the rover to examine recently exposed material.

  2. A review of parameters and heuristics for guiding metabolic pathfinding.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Sarah M; Peña, Matthew I; Moll, Mark; Bennett, George N; Kavraki, Lydia E

    2017-09-15

    Recent developments in metabolic engineering have led to the successful biosynthesis of valuable products, such as the precursor of the antimalarial compound, artemisinin, and opioid precursor, thebaine. Synthesizing these traditionally plant-derived compounds in genetically modified yeast cells introduces the possibility of significantly reducing the total time and resources required for their production, and in turn, allows these valuable compounds to become cheaper and more readily available. Most biosynthesis pathways used in metabolic engineering applications have been discovered manually, requiring a tedious search of existing literature and metabolic databases. However, the recent rapid development of available metabolic information has enabled the development of automated approaches for identifying novel pathways. Computer-assisted pathfinding has the potential to save biochemists time in the initial discovery steps of metabolic engineering. In this paper, we review the parameters and heuristics used to guide the search in recent pathfinding algorithms. These parameters and heuristics capture information on the metabolic network structure, compound structures, reaction features, and organism-specificity of pathways. No one metabolic pathfinding algorithm or search parameter stands out as the best to use broadly for solving the pathfinding problem, as each method and parameter has its own strengths and shortcomings. As assisted pathfinding approaches continue to become more sophisticated, the development of better methods for visualizing pathway results and integrating these results into existing metabolic engineering practices is also important for encouraging wider use of these pathfinding methods.

  3. Multiple Smaller Missions as a Direct Pathway to Mars Sample Return

    Science.gov (United States)

    Niles, P. B.; Draper, D. S.; Evans, C. A.; Gibson, E. K.; Graham, L. D.; Jones, J. H.; Lederer, S. M.; Ming, D.; Seaman, C. H.; Archer, P. D.; hide

    2012-01-01

    Recent discoveries by the Mars Exploration Rovers, Mars Express, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft include multiple, tantalizing astrobiological targets representing both past and present environments on Mars. The most desirable path to Mars Sample Return (MSR) would be to collect and return samples from that site which provides the clearest examples of the variety of rock types considered a high priority for sample return (pristine igneous, sedimentary, and hydrothermal). Here we propose an MSR architecture in which the next steps (potentially launched in 2018) would entail a series of smaller missions, including caching, to multiple landing sites to verify the presence of high priority sample return targets through in situ analyses. This alternative architecture to one flagship-class sample caching mission to a single site would preserve a direct path to MSR as stipulated by the Planetary Decadal Survey, while permitting investigation of diverse deposit types and providing comparison of the site of returned samples to other aqueous environments on early Mars

  4. A Prototype Bucket Wheel Excavator for the Moon, Mars and Phobos

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muff, T.; Johnson, L.; King, R.; Duke, M. B.

    2004-02-01

    Excavation of surface regolith material is the first step in processes to extract volatile materials from planetary surface regolith for the production of propellant and life support consumables. Typically, concentrations of volatiles are low, so relatively large amounts of material must be excavated. A bucket wheel excavator is proposed, which has the capability of continuous excavation, which is readily adapted to granular regolith materials as found on the Moon, in drift deposits on Mars, and probably on the surface of asteroids and satellites, such as Phobos. The bucket wheel excavator is relatively simple, compared to machines such as front end loaders. It also has the advantage that excavation forces are principally horizontal rather than vertical, which minimizes the need for excavator mass and suits it to operations in reduced gravity fields. A prototype small bucket wheel excavator has been built at approximately the scale of the rovers that are carried to Mars on the Mars Exploration Rover Mission. The prototype allows the collection of data on forces exerted and power requirements for excavation and will provide data on which more efficient designs can be based. At excavation rates in the vicinity of one rover mass of material excavated per hour, tests of the prototype demonstrate that the power required is largely that needed to operate the excavator hardware and not related strongly to the amount of material excavated. This suggests that the excavation rate can be much larger for the same excavation system mass. Work on this prototype is continuing on the details of transfer of material from the bucket wheel to an internal conveyor mechanism, which testing demonstrated to be problematic in the current design.

  5. Hints of Habitable Environments on Mars Challenge Our Studies of Mars-Analog Sites on Earth

    Science.gov (United States)

    desMarais, David J

    2009-01-01

    Life as we know it requires water with a chemical activity (alpha) >or approx.0.6 and sources of nutrients and useful energy. Some biota can survive even if favorable conditions occur only intermittently, but the minimum required frequency of occurrences is poorly understood. Recent discoveries have vindicated the Mars exploration strategy to follow the water. Mars Global Surveyor s Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) found coarse-grained hematite at Meridiani Planum. Opportunity rover confirmed this and also found evidence of ancient sulfate-rich playa lakes and near-surface groundwater. Elsewhere, TES found evidence of evaporitic halides in topographic depressions. But alpha might not have approached 0.6 in these evaporitic sulfate- and halide-bearing waters. Mars Express (MEX) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found extensive sulfate evaporites in Meridiani and Valles Marineris. MEX found phyllosilicates at several sites, most notably Mawrth Valles and Nili Fossae. MRO's CRISM near-IR mapper extended the known diversity and geographic distribution of phyllosilicates to include numerous Noachian craters. Phyllosilicates typically occur at the base of exposed ancient rock sections or in sediments in early Hesperian craters. It is uncertain whether the phyllosilicates developed in surface or subsurface aqueous environments and how long aqueous conditions persisted. Spirit rover found remarkably pure ferric sulfate, indicating oxidation and transport of Fe and S, perhaps in fumaroles or hot springs. Spirit also found opaline silica, consistent with hydrothermal activity. CRISM mapped extensive silica deposits in the Valles Marineris region, consistent with aqueous weathering and deposition. CRISM also found ultramafic rocks and magnesite at Nili Fossae, consistent with serpentinization, a process that can sustain habitable environments on Earth. The report of atmospheric methane implies subsurface aqueous conditions. A working hypothesis is that aqueous

  6. Project Minerva: A low cost manned Mars mission based on indigenous propellant production

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beder, David; Bryan, Richard; Bui, Tuyen; Caviezel, Kelly; Cinnamon, Mark; Daggert, Todd; Folkers, Mike; Fornia, Mark; Hanks, Natasha; Hamilton, Steve

    1992-01-01

    Project Minerva is a low-cost manned Mars mission designed to deliver a crew of four to the Martian surface using only two sets of two launches from the Kennedy Space Center. Key concepts which make this mission realizable are the use of near-term technologies and in-situ propellant production, following the scenario originally proposed by R. Zubrin. The first set of launches delivers two unmanned payloads into low Earth orbit (LEO): the first payload consists of an Earth Return Vehicle (ERV), a propellant production plant, and a set of robotic vehicles; the second payload consists of the trans-Mars injection (TMI) upper stage. In LEO, the two payloads are docked and the configuration is injected into a Mars transfer orbit. The landing on Mars is performed with the aid of multiple aerobraking maneuvers. On the Martian surface, the propellant production plant uses a Sabatier/electrolysis type process to combine nine tons of hydrogen with carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere to produce over a hundred tons of liquid oxygen and liquid methane, which are later used as the propellants for the rover expeditions and the manned return journey of the ERV. The systems necessary for the flights to and from Mars, as well as those needed for the stay on Mars, are discussed. These systems include the transfer vehicle design, life support, guidance and communications, rovers and telepresence, power generation, and propellant manufacturing. Also included are the orbital mechanics, the scientific goals, and the estimated mission costs.

  7. Robotic Mission to Mars: Hands-on, minds-on, web-based learning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mathers, Naomi; Goktogen, Ali; Rankin, John; Anderson, Marion

    2012-11-01

    Problem-based learning has been demonstrated as an effective methodology for developing analytical skills and critical thinking. The use of scenario-based learning incorporates problem-based learning whilst encouraging students to collaborate with their colleagues and dynamically adapt to their environment. This increased interaction stimulates a deeper understanding and the generation of new knowledge. The Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC) uses scenario-based learning in its Mission to Mars, Mission to the Orbiting Space Laboratory and Primary Expedition to the M.A.R.S. Base programs. These programs utilize methodologies such as hands-on applications, immersive-learning, integrated technologies, critical thinking and mentoring to engage students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and highlight potential career paths in science and engineering. The immersive nature of the programs demands specialist environments such as a simulated Mars environment, Mission Control and Space Laboratory, thus restricting these programs to a physical location and limiting student access to the programs. To move beyond these limitations, VSSEC worked with its university partners to develop a web-based mission that delivered the benefits of scenario-based learning within a school environment. The Robotic Mission to Mars allows students to remotely control a real rover, developed by the Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR), on the VSSEC Mars surface. After completing a pre-mission training program and site selection activity, students take on the roles of scientists and engineers in Mission Control to complete a mission and collect data for further analysis. Mission Control is established using software developed by the ACRI Games Technology Lab at La Trobe University using the principles of serious gaming. The software allows students to control the rover, monitor its systems and collect scientific data for analysis. This program encourages

  8. Initial Results on the Mineralogy and Geochemistry of the Mar Exploration Rover Gusev Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christensen, P. R.

    2004-05-01

    The Spirit rover has investigated the geochemistry and mineralogy of the Gusev crater site using in situ Alpha Proton X-Ray, Mossbauer, visible, and infrared spectroscopy. The Gusev site is covered with angular to sub-rounded rocks that are typically less than 1 m in maximum dimension. More than 90 percent of these rocks are dark-toned, with the remainder being lighter-toned rocks that may predominantly be dark rocks with a thin (10's of microns) coating of easily removed fines. APXS analysis has been obtained of a rock (Adirondack) following the removal by grinding of the surface dust and the upper few mm of the rock surface. These data give a modal mineralogy corresponding to olivine basalt. High quality Mini-TES data have not been obtained of a completely dust-free rock surface. The Mini-TES data of Adirondack do show long wavelength (15-25 microns) absorptions due to olivine of composition ~Fo60. All of the rocks observed are very compositionally homogeneous in the Mini-TES spectra. These findings are consistent with the detection of olivine-bearing basalt at this site from orbital TES infrared spectroscopy. Mossbauer spectra of Adirondack show the presence of forsteritic olivine and magnetite, with possible pyroxene. The soils at Gusev are a mixture of reddish fine-grained to sandy materials, granular-sized particles that occur in ripple forms, and minor pebbles. Mini-TES spectra of the soil show an excellent match to the TES spectra of high-albedo, fine-grained material found in regional bright regions that is interpreted to be windblown dust. This agreement suggests at least the uppermost layer of the soil at Gusev has been accumulated from airfall dust. By analogy with prior analysis of TES data these materials contain several percent carbonate, minor bound water, and a framework silicate interpreted to be either feldspar or zeolite. APXS spectra show similar oxide abundances to those determined for the Pathfinder site, except for higher MgO, and lower

  9. Finding the right rocks on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hargraves, R. B.; Knudsen, J. M.; Madsen, M. B.; Bertelsen, P.

    Locating a rock on the surface of Mars that bears unambiguous evidence of the existence—prior or present—of life on that planet is, understandably, the “Holy Grail” of NASAs sample return missions. Remote recognition of such a rock on Mars will not be easy. We do know, however, that present in the Martian crust—especially in the “Southern highlands”—is rock carrying strong natural remanent magnetization (NRM). Characterization of such magnetized rock has profound implications for adding to our knowledge about the origin and early evolution of the Martian interior, lithosphere, atmosphere, and possibly even Martian life forms [Ward and Brownlee, 2000]. Moreover, it should be possible to recognize such rocks by use of a simple magnetic compass mounted on a Rover.

  10. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. Spirit acquired this mosaic with the panoramic camera's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters. The view presented here is an approximately true-color rendering.

  11. Chemical Evidence for Smectites and Zeolites on Mars: Criteria and Limitations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C.; Ming, D.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R.; Gellert, R.; Bridges, J. C.; Morris, D.

    2014-01-01

    Aqueous alteration on Mars can produce a range of tell-tale secondary minerals [1]. Surface missions typically obtain detailed and highly localized element compositional information, but not always mineralogical information, whereas orbital missions deduce mineralogy from relatively high spatial resolution IR spectral mapping (decameters scale, for CRISM), but obtain element data only over much larger areas of martian terrain (200 km). Surface missions have also discovered several occurrences of major geochemical alteration of igneous precursors, for many of which elemental compositional is the only diagnostic information available. Many types of clays and zeolites have quasi-unique element profiles which may be used to implicate their presence. In some cases, one or more candidate minerals are sufficiently close in their component elements and their stoichiometry that ambiguity must remain, unless other constraints can be brought to bear. Geochemical characteristics of alteration products most likely on Mars can be compared to results from MER and MSL rover missions (e.g. Independence [4] and Esperance samples). These considerations are needed for MER Opportunity rover now that Mini-TES is no longer operational. It also has importance for exploration by the MSL Curiosity rover because inferences and deductions available from ChemCam (CCAM) remote LIBS and/or in situ x-ray fluorescence (APXS) can be used as indicators for triage to select materials to sample for limited-resource instruments, SAM and Chemin.

  12. Soil Crystallinity As a Climate Indicator: Field Experiments on Earth and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horgan, Briony; Scudder, Noel; Rampe, Elizabeth; Rutledge, Alicia

    2016-01-01

    Soil crystallinity is largely determined by leaching rates, as high leaching rates favor the rapid precipitation of short order or poorly-crystalline phases like the aluminosilicate allophane. High leaching rates can occur due to high precipitation rates, seasonal monsoons, or weathering of glass, but are also caused by the rapid onset of seasonal melting of snow and ice in cold environments. Thus, cold climate soils are commonly dominated by poorly crystalline phases, which mature into kaolin minerals over time. Thus, we hypothesize that, in some contexts, soils with high abundances of poorly crystalline phases could indicate formation under cold climatic conditions. This model could be helpful in interpreting the poorly-constrained paleoclimate of ancient Mars, as the crystallinity of ancient soils and soil-derived sediments appears to be highly variable in time and space. While strong signatures of crystalline phyllosilicates have been identified in possible ancient paleosols on Mars, Mars Science Laboratory rover investigations of diverse ancient sediments at Gale Crater has shown that they can contain very high abundances (40-50 wt%) of poorly crystalline phases. We hypothesize that these poorly crystalline phases could be the result of weathering by ice/snow melt, perhaps providing support for sustained cold climates on early Mars punctuated by more limited warm climates. Furthermore, such poorly crystalline soils could be highly fertile growth media for future human exploration and colonization on Mars. To test this hypothesis, we are currently using rover-like instrumentation to investigate the mineralogy and chemistry of weathering products generated by snow and ice melt in a Mars analog alpine environment: the glaciated Three Sisters volcanic complex in central Oregon. Alteration in this glacial environment generates high abundances of poorly crystalline phases, many of which have compositions distinct from those identified in previous terrestrial

  13. Pathfinder Innovation Projects: Awardees 2015

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Pathfinder program supports high-risk, high-reward research ideas with funding and staff time. The goal is to feed a culture of innovation in the Agency and integrate innovative ideas in EPA research programs.

  14. Pathfinder Innovation Projects: Awardees 2016

    Science.gov (United States)

    The Pathfinder program supports high-risk, high-reward research ideas with funding and staff time. The goal is to feed a culture of innovation in the Agency and integrate innovative ideas in EPA research programs.

  15. Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars: Characterization and Analysis of the Rocknest Sand Shadow

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Kocurek, G.; Morrison, S. M.; Downs, R. T.; Bish, D.; Ming, D. W.; Edgett, K. S.; Rubin, D.; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M. B.; Sullivan, R.; Gellert, R.; Campbell, I.; Treiman, A. H.; McLennan, S. M.; Yen, A. S.; Grotzinger, J.; Vaniman, D. T.; Chipera, S. J.; Achilles, C. N.; Rampe, E. B.; Sumner, D.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Maurice, S.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Fisk, M.; Schmidt, M.; Mahaffy, P.; Leshin, L. A.; Glavin, D.; Steele, A.; Freissinet, C.; Navarro-González, R.; Yingst, R. A.; Kah, L. C.; Bridges, N.; Lewis, K. W.; Bristow, T. F.; Farmer, J. D.; Crisp, J. A.; Stolper, E. M.; Des Marais, D. J.; Sarrazin, P.; Agard, Christophe; Alves Verdasca, José Alexandre; Anderson, Robert; Anderson, Ryan; Archer, Doug; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Arvidson, Ray; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Atreya, Sushil; Aubrey, Andrew; Baker, Burt; Baker, Michael; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Baratoux, David; Baroukh, Julien; Barraclough, Bruce; Bean, Keri; Beegle, Luther; Behar, Alberto; Bell, James; Bender, Steve; Benna, Mehdi; Bentz, Jennifer; Berger, Gilles; Berger, Jeff; Berman, Daniel; Blanco Avalos, Juan Jose; Blaney, Diana; Blank, Jen; Blau, Hannah; Bleacher, Lora; Boehm, Eckart; Botta, Oliver; Böttcher, Stephan; Boucher, Thomas; Bower, Hannah; Boyd, Nick; Boynton, Bill; Breves, Elly; Bridges, John; Brinckerhoff, William; Brinza, David; Brunet, Claude; Brunner, Anna; Brunner, Will; Buch, Arnaud; Bullock, Mark; Burmeister, Sönke; Cabane, Michel; Calef, Fred; Cameron, James; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Carmosino, Marco; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Charpentier, Antoine; Choi, David; Clark, Benton; Clegg, Sam; Cleghorn, Timothy; Cloutis, Ed; Cody, George; Coll, Patrice; Conrad, Pamela; Coscia, David; Cousin, Agnès; Cremers, David; Cros, Alain; Cucinotta, Frank; d'Uston, Claude; Davis, Scott; Day, Mackenzie; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; DeFlores, Lauren; DeLapp, Dorothea; DeMarines, Julia; Dietrich, William; Dingler, Robert; Donny, Christophe; Drake, Darrell; Dromart, Gilles; Dupont, Audrey; Duston, Brian; Dworkin, Jason; Dyar, M. Darby; Edgar, Lauren; Edwards, Christopher; Edwards, Laurence; Ehlmann, Bethany; Ehresmann, Bent; Eigenbrode, Jen; Elliott, Beverley; Elliott, Harvey; Ewing, Ryan; Fabre, Cécile; Fairén, Alberto; Farley, Ken; Fassett, Caleb; Favot, Laurent; Fay, Donald; Fedosov, Fedor; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Flesch, Greg; Floyd, Melissa; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Fraeman, Abby; Francis, Raymond; François, Pascaline; Franz, Heather; French, Katherine Louise; Frydenvang, Jens; Gaboriaud, Alain; Gailhanou, Marc; Garvin, James; Geffroy, Claude; Genzer, Maria; Godber, Austin; Goesmann, Fred; Golovin, Dmitry; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Gondet, Brigitte; Gordon, Suzanne; Gorevan, Stephen; Grant, John; Griffes, Jennifer; Grinspoon, David; Guillemot, Philippe; Guo, Jingnan; Gupta, Sanjeev; Guzewich, Scott; Haberle, Robert; Halleaux, Douglas; Hallet, Bernard; Hamilton, Vicky; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Harpold, Daniel; Harri, Ari-Matti; Harshman, Karl; Hassler, Donald; Haukka, Harri; Hayes, Alex; Herkenhoff, Ken; Herrera, Paul; Hettrich, Sebastian; Heydari, Ezat; Hipkin, Victoria; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Hudgins, Judy; Huntress, Wesley; Hurowitz, Joel; Hviid, Stubbe; Iagnemma, Karl; Indyk, Steve; Israël, Guy; Jackson, Ryan; Jacob, Samantha; Jakosky, Bruce; Jensen, Elsa; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Johnson, Jeffrey; Johnson, Micah; Johnstone, Steve; Jones, Andrea; Jones, John; Joseph, Jonathan; Jun, Insoo; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kahre, Melinda; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kasprzak, Wayne; Kauhanen, Janne; Keely, Leslie; Kemppinen, Osku; Keymeulen, Didier; Kim, Myung-Hee; Kinch, Kjartan; King, Penny; Kirkland, Laurel; Koefoed, Asmus; Köhler, Jan; Kortmann, Onno; Kozyrev, Alexander; Krezoski, Jill; Krysak, Daniel; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Lacour, Jean Luc; Lafaille, Vivian; Langevin, Yves; Lanza, Nina; Lasue, Jeremie; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Lee, Ella Mae; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Lees, David; Lefavor, Matthew; Lemmon, Mark; Lepinette Malvitte, Alain; Léveillé, Richard; Lewin-Carpintier, Éric; Li, Shuai; Lipkaman, Leslie; Little, Cynthia; Litvak, Maxim; Lorigny, Eric; Lugmair, Guenter; Lundberg, Angela; Lyness, Eric; Maki, Justin; Malakhov, Alexey; Malespin, Charles; Malin, Michael; Mangold, Nicolas; Manning, Heidi; Marchand, Geneviève; Marín Jiménez, Mercedes; Martín García, César; Martin, Dave; Martin, Mildred; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Mauchien, Patrick; McAdam, Amy; McCartney, Elaina; McConnochie, Timothy; McCullough, Emily; McEwan, Ian; McKay, Christopher; McNair, Sean; Melikechi, Noureddine; Meyer, Michael; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Miller, Hayden; Miller, Kristen; Milliken, Ralph; Minitti, Michelle; Mischna, Michael; Mitrofanov, Igor; Moersch, Jeff; Mokrousov, Maxim; Molina Jurado, Antonio; Moores, John; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Morookian, John Michael; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Muller, Jan-Peter; Muñoz Caro, Guillermo; Nachon, Marion; Navarro López, Sara; Nealson, Kenneth; Nefian, Ara; Nelson, Tony; Newcombe, Megan; Newman, Claire; Newsom, Horton; Nikiforov, Sergey; Niles, Paul; Nixon, Brian; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Nolan, Thomas; Oehler, Dorothy; Ollila, Ann; Olson, Timothy; Owen, Tobias; Pablo, Hernández; Paillet, Alexis; Pallier, Etienne; Palucis, Marisa; Parker, Timothy; Parot, Yann; Patel, Kiran; Paton, Mark; Paulsen, Gale; Pavlov, Alex; Pavri, Betina; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pepin, Robert; Peret, Laurent; Perez, Rene; Perrett, Glynis; Peterson, Joe; Pilorget, Cedric; Pinet, Patrick; Pla-García, Jorge; Plante, Ianik; Poitrasson, Franck; Polkko, Jouni; Popa, Radu; Posiolova, Liliya; Pradler, Irina; Prats, Benito; Prokhorov, Vasily; Purdy, Sharon Wilson; Raaen, Eric; Radziemski, Leon; Rafkin, Scot; Ramos, Miguel; Raulin, François; Ravine, Michael; Reitz, Günther; Rennó, Nilton; Rice, Melissa; Richardson, Mark; Robert, François; Rodriguez Manfredi, José Antonio; Romeral-Planelló, Julio J.; Rowland, Scott; Saccoccio, Muriel; Salamon, Andrew; Sandoval, Jennifer; Sanin, Anton; Sans Fuentes, Sara Alejandra; Saper, Lee; Sautter, Violaine; Savijärvi, Hannu; Schieber, Juergen; Schmidt, Walter; Scholes, Daniel; Schoppers, Marcel; Schröder, Susanne; Sebastian Martinez, Eduardo; Sengstacken, Aaron; Shterts, Ruslan; Siebach, Kirsten; Siili, Tero; Simmonds, Jeff; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Slavney, Susie; Sletten, Ronald; Smith, Michael; Sobrón Sánchez, Pablo; Spanovich, Nicole; Spray, John; Squyres, Steven; Stack, Katie; Stalport, Fabien; Stein, Thomas; Stern, Jennifer; Stewart, Noel; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Stoiber, Kevin; Sucharski, Bob; Summons, Roger; Sun, Vivian; Supulver, Kimberley; Sutter, Brad; Szopa, Cyril; Tate, Christopher; Teinturier, Samuel; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Thomas, Peter; Thompson, Lucy; Tokar, Robert; Toplis, Mike; Torres Redondo, Josefina; Trainer, Melissa; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; VanBommel, Scott; Varenikov, Alexey; Vasavada, Ashwin; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Vicenzi, Edward; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Voytek, Mary; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Ward, Jennifer; Webster, Chris; Weigle, Eddie; Wellington, Danika; Westall, Frances; Wiens, Roger Craig; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Williams, Amy; Williams, Joshua; Williams, Rebecca; Williams, Richard B.; Wilson, Mike; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Wolff, Mike; Wong, Mike; Wray, James; Wu, Megan; Yana, Charles; Zeitlin, Cary; Zimdar, Robert; Zorzano Mier, María-Paz

    2013-09-01

    The Rocknest aeolian deposit is similar to aeolian features analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) Spirit and Opportunity. The fraction of sand Mars instrument and of the fine-grained nanophase oxide component first described from basaltic soils analyzed by MERs. The similarity between soils and aeolian materials analyzed at Gusev Crater, Meridiani Planum, and Gale Crater implies locally sourced, globally similar basaltic materials or globally and regionally sourced basaltic components deposited locally at all three locations.

  16. The new V8-Diesel engine for Land Rover; Der neue V8-Dieselmotor fuer Land Rover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Ernst, Roland [Ford Sued-Amerika (Brazil); Gruenert, Thomas; Turner, Paul [Ford Motor Company, Dagenham (United Kingdom)

    2007-04-15

    After the launch of the 2.7-l TDV6 diesel engine for Jaguar, Land Rover and PSA in the spring of 2004, here is a new member of the engine family. The new 3.6-l TDV8 Diesel engine was developed for Land Rover's Range Rover and Range Rover Sport models. The premium market segment positioning demands the best possible attributes from the engine, particularly torque as well as engine acoustics. According to the Land Rover specific requirements, the engine is fully off road capable and can be used in all world markets. The engine fulfills the Euro 4 emissions requirements and will be available with a regulated particle filter. (orig.)

  17. The New Mars Synthesis: A New Concept Of Mars Geo-Chemical History

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandenburg, J. E.

    2005-02-01

    A new concept of Mars climatic and geo-chemical evolution is proposed, called the NMS (New Mars Synthesis) drawing on the full spectrum of available Mars data. The proposed synthesis is that Mars and Earth, having begun with similar surface conditions, did not strongly diverge from their similar paths 4.0 Billion years ago, in the Early Noachian, instead, under the NMS, they diverged much more recently in geologic time, in the Early Amazonian. Under the NMS, biology strongly affected the geo-chemical evolution of Mars, and allowed a stable and persistent greenhouse by producing a large oxygen component in the atmosphere. The NMS assumes Mars held biology form early on, has been geologically active throughout its history, that it had a northern paleo-ocean, that it has high, approximately, 4xLunar, cratering rates and that its climate changed recently in geologic time from being basically terrestrial to its present conditions. The proposed mechanism for the stability of the Mars greenhouse was a large oxygen component in the atmosphere that created acidic and highly oxidized conditions that prevented formation of Carbonates, and the thermal and gas buffering of the paleo-ocean. The greenhouse was thus biologically and hydrologically stabilized. The greenhouse was terminated by a large atmospheric cooling event in the Early Amazonian that killed the biosphere and froze the ocean stabilizing the greenhouse. This cooling event was probably caused by the formation of the Lyot impact basin. Given the long duration of this terrestrial biosphere in this NMS, the possible appearance of fossils in some rover images is not to be unexpected and the colonization of Mars by humanity may be aided extensive fossil biomass to use as raw material.

  18. Exploring Mars for Evidence of Habitable Environments and Life

    Science.gov (United States)

    DesMarais, David J.

    2014-01-01

    The climate of Mars has been more similar to that of Earth than has the climate of any other planet in our Solar System. But Mars still provides a valuable alternative example of how planetary processes and environments can affect the potential presence of life elsewhere. For example, although Mars also differentiated very early into a core, mantle and crust, it then evolved mostly if not completely without plate tectonics and has lost most of its early atmosphere. The Martian crust has been more stable than that of Earth, thus it has probably preserved a more complete record of its earliest history. Orbital observations determined that near-surface water was once pervasive. Orbiters have identified the following diverse aqueous sedimentary deposits: layered phyllosilicates, phyllosilicates in intracrater fans, plains sediments potentially harboring evaporitic minerals, deep phyllosilicates, carbonate-bearing deposits, intracrater clay-sulfate deposits, Meridiani-type layered deposits, valles-type layered deposits, hydrated silica-bearing deposits, and gypsum plains. These features, together with evidence of more vigorous past geologic activity, indicate that early climates were wetter and perhaps also somewhat warmer. The denser atmosphere that was required for liquid water to be stable on the surface also provided more substantial protection from radiation. Whereas ancient climates might have favored habitable environments at least in some localities, clearly much of the Martian surface for most of its history has been markedly less favorable for life. The combination of dry conditions, oxidizing surface environments and typically low rates of sedimentation are not conducive to the preservation of evidence of ancient environments and any biota. Thus a strategy is required whereby candidate sites are first identified and then characterized for their potential to preserve evidence of past habitable environments. Rovers are then sent to explore the most promising

  19. Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars: Characterization and analysis of the rocknest sand shadow

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Blake, D.F.; Morris, R.V.; Kocurek, G.; Morrison, S.M.; Downs, R.T.; Bish, D.; Ming, D.W.; Edgett, K.S.; Rubin, D.; Goetz, W.; Madsen, M.B.; Sullivan, R.; Gellert, R.; Campbell, I.; Treiman, A.H.; McLennan, S.M.; Yen, A.S.; Grotzinger, J.; Vaniman, D.T.; Chipera, S.J.; Achilles, C.N.; Rampe, E.B.; Sumner, D.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Maurice, S.; Forni, O.; Gasnault, O.; Fisk, M.; Schmidt, M.; Mahaffy, P.; Leshin, L.A.; Glavin, D.; Steele, A.; Freissinet, C.; Navarro-González, R.; Yingst, R.A.; Kah, L.C.; Bridges, N.; Lewis, K.W.; Bristow, T.F.; Farmer, J.D.; Crisp, J.A.; Stolper, E.M.; Des Marais, D.J.; Sarrazin, P.; MSL Science Team, the|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/292012217

    2013-01-01

    The Rocknest aeolian deposit is similar to aeolian features analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) Spirit and Opportunity. The fraction of sand <150 micrometers in size contains ~55% crystalline material consistent with a basaltic heritage and ~45% x-ray amorphous material. The amorphous

  20. MAHLI on Mars: lessons learned operating a geoscience camera on a landed payload robotic arm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aileen Yingst, R.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian M.; McBride, Marie J.; Minitti, Michelle E.; Ravine, Michael A.; Williams, Rebecca M. E.

    2016-06-01

    The Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) is a 2-megapixel, color camera with resolution as high as 13.9 µm pixel-1. MAHLI has operated successfully on the Martian surface for over 1150 Martian days (sols) aboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity. During that time MAHLI acquired images to support science and science-enabling activities, including rock and outcrop textural analysis; sand characterization to further the understanding of global sand properties and processes; support of other instrument observations; sample extraction site documentation; range-finding for arm and instrument placement; rover hardware and instrument monitoring and safety; terrain assessment; landscape geomorphology; and support of rover robotic arm commissioning. Operation of the instrument has demonstrated that imaging fully illuminated, dust-free targets yields the best results, with complementary information obtained from shadowed images. The light-emitting diodes (LEDs) allow satisfactory night imaging but do not improve daytime shadowed imaging. MAHLI's combination of fine-scale, science-driven resolution, RGB color, the ability to focus over a large range of distances, and relatively large field of view (FOV), have maximized the return of science and science-enabling observations given the MSL mission architecture and constraints.

  1. Broadband Ground Penetrating Radar with conformal antennas for subsurface imaging from a rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stillman, D. E.; Oden, C. P.; Grimm, R. E.; Ragusa, M.

    2015-12-01

    Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) allows subsurface imaging to provide geologic context and will be flown on the next two martian rovers (WISDOM on ExoMars and RIMFAX on Mars 2020). The motivation of our research is to minimize the engineering challenges of mounting a GPR antenna to a spacecraft, while maximizing the scientific capabilities of the GPR. The scientific capabilities increase with the bandwidth as it controls the resolution. Furthermore, ultra-wide bandwidth surveys allow certain mineralogies and rock units to be discriminated based on their frequency-dependent EM or scattering properties. We have designed and field-tested a prototype GPR that utilizes bi-static circularly polarized spiral antennas. Each antenna has a physical size of 61 x 61 x 4 cm, therefore two antennas could be mounted to the underbelly of a MSL-class rover. Spiral antennas were chosen because they have an inherent broadband response and provide a better low frequency response compared with similarly sized linearly polarized antennas. A horizontal spiral radiator emits energy both upward and downward directions. After the radiator is mounted to a metal surface (i.e. the underside of a rover), a cavity is formed that causes the upward traveling energy to reverberate and cause unwanted interference. This interference is minimized by 1) using a high metallization ratio on the spiral to reduce cavity emissions, and 2) placing absorbing material inside the cavity. The resulting antennas provide high gain (0 to 8 dBi) from 200 to 1000 MHz. The low frequency response can be improved by increasing the antenna thickness (i.e., cavity depth). In an initial field test, the antennas were combined with impulse GPR electronics that had ~140 dB of dynamic range (not including antennas) and a sand/clay interface 7 feet deep was detected. To utilize the full bandwidth the antennas, a gated Frequency Modulated Continuous Waveform system will be developed - similar to RIMFAX. The goal is to reach a

  2. Measurements of the neutron spectrum in transit to Mars on the Mars Science Laboratory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Köhler, J; Ehresmann, B; Zeitlin, C; Wimmer-Schweingruber, R F; Hassler, D M; Reitz, G; Brinza, D E; Appel, J; Böttcher, S; Böhm, E; Burmeister, S; Guo, J; Lohf, H; Martin, C; Posner, A; Rafkin, S

    2015-04-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft, containing the Curiosity rover, was launched to Mars on 26 November 2011. Although designed for measuring the radiation on the surface of Mars, the Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measured the radiation environment inside the spacecraft during most of the 253-day, 560-million-kilometer cruise to Mars. An important factor for determining the biological impact of the radiation environment inside the spacecraft is the specific contribution of neutrons with their high biological effectiveness. We apply an inversion method (based on a maximum-likelihood estimation) to calculate the neutron and gamma spectra from the RAD neutral particle measurements. The measured neutron spectrum (12-436 MeV) translates into a radiation dose rate of 3.8±1.2 μGy/day and a dose equivalent of 19±5 μSv/day. Extrapolating the measured spectrum (0.1-1000 MeV), we find that the total neutron-induced dose rate is 6±2 μGy/day and the dose equivalent rate is 30±10 μSv/day. For a 360 day round-trip from Earth to Mars with comparable shielding, this translates into a neutron induced dose equivalent of about 11±4 mSv. Copyright © 2015 The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, M G; Ewing, R C; Lamb, M P; Fischer, W W; Grotzinger, J P; Rubin, D M; Lewis, K W; Ballard, M; Day, Mitch D.; Gupta, S.; Banham, S G; Bridges, N T; Des Marais, D J; Fraeman, A A; Grant, J A; Herkenhoff, Kenneth E.; Ming, D W; Mischna, M A; Rice, M S; Sumner, D A; Vasavada, A R; Yingst, R A

    2016-01-01

    Wind blowing over sand on Earth produces decimeter-wavelength ripples and hundred-meter– to kilometer-wavelength dunes: bedforms of two distinct size modes. Observations from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal that Mars hosts a third stable wind-driven bedform, with meter-scale wavelengths. These bedforms are spatially uniform in size and typically have asymmetric profiles with angle-of-repose lee slopes and sinuous crest lines, making them unlike terrestrial wind ripples. Rather, these structures resemble fluid-drag ripples, which on Earth include water-worked current ripples, but on Mars instead form by wind because of the higher kinematic viscosity of the low-density atmosphere. A reevaluation of the wind-deposited strata in the Burns formation (about 3.7 billion years old or younger) identifies potential wind-drag ripple stratification formed under a thin atmosphere.

  4. Large wind ripples on Mars: A record of atmospheric evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lapotre, M. G. A.; Ewing, R. C.; Lamb, M. P.; Fischer, W. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Rubin, D. M.; Lewis, K. W.; Ballard, M. J.; Day, M.; Gupta, S.; Banham, S. G.; Bridges, N. T.; Des Marais, D. J.; Fraeman, A. A.; Grant, J. A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Ming, D. W.; Mischna, M. A.; Rice, M. S.; Sumner, D. A.; Vasavada, A. R.; Yingst, R. A.

    2016-07-01

    Wind blowing over sand on Earth produces decimeter-wavelength ripples and hundred-meter- to kilometer-wavelength dunes: bedforms of two distinct size modes. Observations from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter reveal that Mars hosts a third stable wind-driven bedform, with meter-scale wavelengths. These bedforms are spatially uniform in size and typically have asymmetric profiles with angle-of-repose lee slopes and sinuous crest lines, making them unlike terrestrial wind ripples. Rather, these structures resemble fluid-drag ripples, which on Earth include water-worked current ripples, but on Mars instead form by wind because of the higher kinematic viscosity of the low-density atmosphere. A reevaluation of the wind-deposited strata in the Burns formation (about 3.7 billion years old or younger) identifies potential wind-drag ripple stratification formed under a thin atmosphere.

  5. Radiative transfer modeling of dust-coated Pancam calibration target materials: Laboratory visible/near-infrared spectrogoniometry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, J. R.; Sohl-Dickstein, J.; Grundy, W.M.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J.F.; Christensen, P.R.; Graff, T.; Guinness, E.A.; Kinch, K.; Morris, Robert; Shepard, M.K.

    2006-01-01

    Laboratory visible/near-infrared multispectral observations of Mars Exploration Rover Pancam calibration target materials coated with different thicknesses of Mars spectral analog dust were acquired under variable illumination geometries using the Bloomsburg University Goniometer. The data were fit with a two-layer radiative transfer model that combines a Hapke formulation for the dust with measured values of the substrate interpolated using a He-Torrance approach. We first determined the single-scattering albedo, phase function, opposition effect width, and amplitude for the dust using the entire data set (six coating thicknesses, three substrates, four wavelengths, and phase angles 3??-117??). The dust exhibited single-scattering albedo values similar to other Mars analog soils and to Mars Pathfinder dust and a dominantly forward scattering behavior whose scattering lobe became narrower at longer wavelengths. Opacity values for each dust thickness corresponded well to those predicted from the particles sizes of the Mars analog dust. We then restricted the number of substrates, dust thicknesses, and incidence angles input to the model. The results suggest that the dust properties are best characterized when using substrates whose reflectances are brighter and darker than those of the deposited dust and data that span a wide range of dust thicknesses. The model also determined the dust photometric properties relatively well despite limitations placed on the range of incidence angles. The model presented here will help determine the photometric properties of dust deposited on the MER rovers and to track the multiple episodes of dust deposition and erosion that have occurred at both landing sites. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.

  6. Acid Sulfate Alteration on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.

    2016-01-01

    A variety of mineralogical and geochemical indicators for aqueous alteration on Mars have been identified by a combination of surface and orbital robotic missions, telescopic observations, characterization of Martian meteorites, and laboratory and terrestrial analog studies. Acid sulfate alteration has been identified at all three landing sites visited by NASA rover missions (Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity). Spirit landed in Gusev crater in 2004 and discovered Fe-sulfates and materials that have been extensively leached by acid sulfate solutions. Opportunity landing on the plains of Meridiani Planum also in 2004 where the rover encountered large abundances of jarosite and hematite in sedimentary rocks. Curiosity landed in Gale crater in 2012 and has characterized fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine sediments. Jarosite and hematite were discovered in some of the lacustrine sediments. The high elemental abundance of sulfur in surface materials is obvious evidence that sulfate has played a major role in aqueous processes at all landing sites on Mars. The sulfate-rich outcrop at Meridiani Planum has an SO3 content of up to 25 wt.%. The interiors of rocks and outcrops on the Columbia Hills within Gusev crater have up to 8 wt.% SO3. Soils at both sites generally have between 5 to 14 wt.% SO3, and several soils in Gusev crater contain around 30 wt.% SO3. After normalization of major element compositions to a SO3-free basis, the bulk compositions of these materials are basaltic, with a few exceptions in Gusev crater and in lacustrine mudstones in Gale crater. These observations suggest that materials encountered by the rovers were derived from basaltic precursors by acid sulfate alteration under nearly isochemical conditions (i.e., minimal leaching). There are several cases, however, where acid sulfate alteration minerals (jarosite and hematite) formed in open hydrologic systems, e.g., in Gale crater lacustrine mudstones. Several hypotheses have been suggested for the

  7. Overview of the Atmosphere and Environment within Gale Crater on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vasavada, A. R.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Crisp, J. A.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Webster, C. R.

    2012-12-01

    Curiosity's mission at Gale Crater places a number of highly capable atmospheric and environmental sensors within a dynamic setting: next to a 5-km mountain within a 150-km diameter impact crater whose floor is -4.5 km. Curiosity's scientific payload was chosen primarily to allow a geologic and geochemical investigation of Mars' environmental history and habitability, as preserved in the layered sediments on the crater floor and mound. Atmospheric and environmental sensors will contribute by measuring the bulk atmospheric chemical and isotopic composition, the flux of high-energy particle and ultraviolet radiation after modification by the atmosphere, and modern processes related to meteorology and climate over at least one Mars year. The Sample Analysis at Mars instrument will analyze the atmosphere with its mass spectrometer and tunable laser spectrometer. The former is capable of providing bulk composition and isotopic ratios of relevance to planetary evolution, such as nitrogen and noble gases. The latter is designed to acquire high-precision measurements of atmospheric species including CH4, CO2, and H2O, and key isotope ratios in H, C, and O. An important goal will be to compare CH4 abundance and time variability over the mission with the reported detections from the Mars Express orbiter and ground-based observations. The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD) measures a broad spectrum of high-energy radiation incident at the surface, including secondary particles created via interactions of galactic cosmic rays and solar protons with Mars' atmospheric constituents. Curiosity's Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) carries six ultraviolet sensors, spanning 200-380 nm. For the first time, both the high-energy and ultraviolet radiation measured at the surface can be compared with measurements above the atmosphere, acquired by other platforms. Modern meteorology and the climatology of dust and water will be studied using the rover's cameras and REMS

  8. Preliminary analysis of the MER magnetic properties experiment using a computational fluid dynamics model

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kinch, K.M.; Merrison, J.P.; Gunnlaugsson, H.P.

    2006-01-01

    Motivated by questions raised by the magnetic properties experiments on the NASA Mars Pathfinder and Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions, we have studied in detail the capture of airborne magnetic dust by permanent magnets using a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model supported by laboratory...... simulations. The magnets studied are identical to the capture magnet and filter magnet on MER, though results are more generally applicable. The dust capture process is found to be dependent upon wind speed, dust magnetization, dust grain size and dust grain mass density. Here we develop an understanding...... of how these parameters affect dust capture rates and patterns on the magnets and set bounds for these parameters based on MER data and results from the numerical model. This results in a consistent picture of the dust as containing varying amounts of at least two separate components with different...

  9. A Risk-Constrained Multi-Stage Decision Making Approach to the Architectural Analysis of Mars Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuwata, Yoshiaki; Pavone, Marco; Balaram, J. (Bob)

    2012-01-01

    This paper presents a novel risk-constrained multi-stage decision making approach to the architectural analysis of planetary rover missions. In particular, focusing on a 2018 Mars rover concept, which was considered as part of a potential Mars Sample Return campaign, we model the entry, descent, and landing (EDL) phase and the rover traverse phase as four sequential decision-making stages. The problem is to find a sequence of divert and driving maneuvers so that the rover drive is minimized and the probability of a mission failure (e.g., due to a failed landing) is below a user specified bound. By solving this problem for several different values of the model parameters (e.g., divert authority), this approach enables rigorous, accurate and systematic trade-offs for the EDL system vs. the mobility system, and, more in general, cross-domain trade-offs for the different phases of a space mission. The overall optimization problem can be seen as a chance-constrained dynamic programming problem, with the additional complexity that 1) in some stages the disturbances do not have any probabilistic characterization, and 2) the state space is extremely large (i.e, hundreds of millions of states for trade-offs with high-resolution Martian maps). To this purpose, we solve the problem by performing an unconventional combination of average and minimax cost analysis and by leveraging high efficient computation tools from the image processing community. Preliminary trade-off results are presented.

  10. Present Status and Near Term Activities for the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Svedhem, H.; Vago, J. L.

    2017-12-01

    The ExoMars 2016 mission was launched on a Proton rocket from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, on 14 March 2016 and arrived at Mars on 19 October 2016. The spacecraft is now performing aerobraking to reduce its orbital period from initial post-insertion orbital period of one Sol to the final science orbit with a 2 hours period. The orbital inclination will be 74 degrees. During the aerobraking a wealth of data has been acquired on the state of the atmosphere along the tracks between 140km and the lowest altitude at about 105 km. These data are now being analysed and compared with existing models. In average TGO measures a lower atmospheric density than predicted, but the numbers lay within the expected variability. ExoMars is a joint programme of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos, Russia. It consists of the ExoMars 2016 mission with the Trace Gas Orbiter, TGO, and the Entry Descent and Landing Demonstrator, EDM, named Schiaparelli, and the ExoMars 2020 mission, which carries a lander and a rover. The TGO scientific payload consists of four instruments: ACS and NOMAD, both infrared spectrometers for atmospheric measurements in solar occultation mode and in nadir mode, CASSIS, a multichannel camera with stereo imaging capability, and FREND, an epithermal neutron detector to search for subsurface hydrogen (as proxy for water ice and hydrated minerals). The launch mass of the TGO was 3700 kg, including fuel. In addition to its scientific measurements TGO will act as a relay orbiter for NASA's landers on Mars and as from 2021 for the ESA-Roscosmos Rover and Surface Station.

  11. Salt Attack on Rocks and Expansion of Soils on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D. T.; Bish, D. L.; Chipera, S. J.; Carey, J. W.

    2004-12-01

    Salt-rich sediments observed by the MER rover Opportunity at Meridiani Planum show that brines have been present on Mars in the past, but a role for groundwater in widespread rock weathering and soil formation is uncertain. Experiments by several groups suggest instead the action of acid fog over long time spans, with episodic input of volcanic gases, as a more significant agent of Mars weathering. Salt minerals formed in these acid weathering experiments consistently include gypsum and alunogen, with epsomite or hexahydrite forming where olivine provides a source of Mg. Analogous to the martian acid fog scenario are terrestrial acid rain or acid fog attacks on building and monument stone by chemical action and mechanical wedging through growth of gypsum, anhydrite, epsomite, hexahydrite, kieserite, and other sulfate minerals. Physical effects can be aggressive, operating by both primary salt growth and hydration of anhydrous or less-hydrous primary salts. In contrast, soils evolve to states where chemical attack is lessened and salt mineral growth leads to expansion with cementation; in this situation the process becomes constructive rather than destructive. We have made synthetic salt-cemented soils (duricrusts) from clays, zeolites, palagonites and other media mixed with ultrapure Mg-sulfate solutions. Although near-neutral in pH, these solutions still exchange or leach Ca from the solids to form cements containing gypsum as well as hexahydrite. At low total P (1 torr) and low RH (duricrust expands by formation of a complex mixture of Mg-sulfate phases with various hydration states. The expanded form is retained even if the duricrust is again dehydrated, suggesting that soil porosity thus formed is difficult to destroy. These processes can be considered in the context of Viking, Pathfinder, and MER evidence for differing salt components in the weathered surfaces of rocks versus duricrust-like materials in soils. The divergent chemical trends indicate that soil

  12. Photovoltaic Power for Mars Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bailey, Sheila G.; Landis, Geoffrey A.

    1997-01-01

    Mars is a challenging environment for the use of solar power. The implications of the low temperatures and low light intensity, solar spectrum modified by dust and changing with time of day and year, indirect sunlight, dust storms, deposited dust, wind, and corrosive peroxide-rich soil are discussed with respect to potential photovoltaic power systems. The power systems addressed include a solar-powered rover vehicle and a human base. High transportation costs dictate high efficiency solar cells or alternatively, a 'thin film' solar cell deposited on a lightweight plastic or thin metal foil.

  13. Solar-Electrochemical Power System for a Mars Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Withrow, Colleen A.; Morales, Nelson

    1994-01-01

    This report documents a sizing study of a variety of solar electrochemical power systems for the intercenter NASA study known as 'Mars Exploration Reference Mission'. Power systems are characterized for a variety of rovers, habitation modules, and space transport vehicles based on requirements derived from the reference mission. The mission features a six-person crew living on Mars for 500 days. Mission power requirements range from 4 kWe to 120 kWe. Primary hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells, regenerative hydrogen and oxygen fuel cells, sodium sulfur batteries advanced photovoltaic solar arrays of gallium arsenide on germanium with tracking and nontracking mechanisms, and tent solar arrays of gallium arsenide on germanium are evaluated and compared.

  14. Characterization of Rock Types at Meridiani Planum, Mars using MER 13-Filter Pancam Spectra

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nuding, D. L.; Cohen, B. A.

    2009-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has traversed more than 13 km across Meridiani Planum, finding evidence of ancient aqueous environments that, in the past, may have been suitable for life. Meridiani bedrock along the rover traverse is a mixture in composition and bulk mineralogy between a sulfate-rich sedimentary rock and hematite spherules ("blueberries"). On top of the bedrock, numerous loose rocks exist. These rocks consist of both local bedrock and "cobbles" of foreign origin. The cobbles provide a window into lithologic diversity and a chance to understand other types of martian rocks and meteorites. This study was also an attempt to establish a method to expand upon those of Mini-TES to remotely identify rocks of interest to make efficient use of the rover s current resources.

  15. The Mars Science Laboratory Organic Check Material

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, Pamela G.; Eigenbrode, J. E.; Mogensen, C. T.; VonderHeydt, M. O.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. M.; Johnson, J. A.

    2011-01-01

    The Organic Check Material (OCM) has been developed for use on the Mars Science Laboratory mission to serve as a sample standard for verification of organic cleanliness and characterization of potential sample alteration as a function of the sample acquisition and portioning process on the Curiosity rover. OCM samples will be acquired using the same procedures for drilling, portioning and delivery as are used to study martian samples with The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite during MSL surface operations. Because the SAM suite is highly sensitive to organic molecules, the mission can better verify the cleanliness of Curiosity's sample acquisition hardware if a known material can be processed through SAM and compared with the results obtained from martian samples.

  16. Unmanned systems to support the human exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gage, Douglas W.

    2010-04-01

    Robots and other unmanned systems will play many critical roles in support of a human presence on Mars, including surveying candidate landing sites, locating ice and mineral resources, establishing power and other infrastructure, performing construction tasks, and transporting equipment and supplies. Many of these systems will require much more strength and power than exploration rovers. The presence of humans on Mars will permit proactive maintenance and repair, and allow teleoperation and operator intervention, supporting multiple dynamic levels of autonomy, so the critical challenges to the use of unmanned systems will occur before humans arrive on Mars. Nevertheless, installed communications and navigation infrastructure should be able to support structured and/or repetitive operations (such as excavation, drilling, or construction) within a "familiar" area with an acceptable level of remote operator intervention. This paper discusses some of the factors involved in developing and deploying unmanned systems to make humans' time on Mars safer and more productive, efficient, and enjoyable.

  17. In Situ Detection of Organic Molecules on the Martian Surface With the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) on Exomars 2018

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xiang; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Pinnick, Veronica T; van Amerom, Friso H. W.; Danell, Ryan M.; Arevalo, Ricardo D., Jr.; Getty, Stephanie; Mahaffy, Paul R.

    2015-01-01

    The Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) investigation on the 2018 ExoMars rover will examine the chemical composition of samples acquired from depths of up to two meters below the martian surface, where organics may be protected from radiative and oxidative degradation. The MOMA instrument is centered around a miniaturized linear ion trap (LIT) that facilitates two modes of operation: i) pyrolysisgas chromatography mass spectrometry (pyrGC-MS); and, ii) laser desorptionionization mass spectrometry (LDI-MS) at ambient Mars pressures. The LIT also enables the structural characterization of complex molecules via complementary analytical capabilities, such as multi-frequency waveforms (i.e., SWIFT) and tandem mass spectrometry (MSMS). When combined with the complement of instruments in the rovers Pasteur Payload, MOMA has the potential to reveal the presence of a wide range of organics preserved in a variety of mineralogical environments, and to begin to understand the structural character and potential origin of those compounds.

  18. Mid-Lift-to-Drag Ratio Rigid Vehicle Control System Design and Simulation for Human Mars Entry

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Breanna J.; Cerimele, Christopher J.; Stachowiak, Susan J.; Sostaric, Ronald R.; Matz, Daniel A.; Lu, Ping

    2018-01-01

    The Mid-Lift-to-Drag Ratio Rigid Vehicle (MRV) is a proposed candidate in the NASA Evolvable Mars Campaign's (EMC) Pathfinder Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) architecture study. The purpose of the study is to design a mission and vehicle capable of transporting a 20mt payload to the surface of Mars. The MRV is unique in its rigid, asymmetrical lifting-body shape which enables a higher lift-to-drag ratio (L/D) than the typical robotic Mars entry capsule vehicles that carry much less mass. This paper presents the formulation and six-degree-of-freedom (6DOF) performance of the MRV's control system, which uses both aerosurfaces and a propulsive reaction control system (RCS) to affect longitudinal and lateral directional behavior.

  19. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Vertical)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. The image is presented here as a vertical projection, as if looking straight down, and in false color, which brings out subtle color differences.

  20. Detection of Organics at Mars: How Wet Chemistry Onboard SAM Helps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buch, A.; Freissinet, Caroline; Szopa, C.; Glavin, D.; Coll, P.; Cabane, M.; Eigenbrode, J.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Coscia, D.; Teinturier, S.; hide

    2013-01-01

    For the first time in the history of space exploration, a mission of interest to astrobiology could be able to analyze refractory organic compounds in the soil of Mars. Wet chemistry experiment allow organic components to be altered in such a way that improves there detection either by releasing the compounds from sample matricies or by changing the chemical structure to be amenable to analytical conditions. The latter is particular important when polar compounds are present. Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), on the Curiosity rover of the Mars Science Laboratory mission, has onboard two wet chemistry experiments: derivatization and thermochemolysis. Here we report on the nature of the MTBSTFA derivatization experiment on SAM, the detection of MTBSTFA in initial SAM results, and the implications of this detection.

  1. An Efficient Approach for Mars Sample Return Using Emerging Commercial Capabilities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonzales, Andrew A; Stoker, Carol R

    2016-06-01

    Mars Sample Return is the highest priority science mission for the next decade as recommended by the 2011 Decadal Survey of Planetary Science [1]. This article presents the results of a feasibility study for a Mars Sample Return mission that efficiently uses emerging commercial capabilities expected to be available in the near future. The motivation of our study was the recognition that emerging commercial capabilities might be used to perform Mars Sample Return with an Earth-direct architecture, and that this may offer a desirable simpler and lower cost approach. The objective of the study was to determine whether these capabilities can be used to optimize the number of mission systems and launches required to return the samples, with the goal of achieving the desired simplicity. All of the major element required for the Mars Sample Return mission are described. Mission system elements were analyzed with either direct techniques or by using parametric mass estimating relationships. The analysis shows the feasibility of a complete and closed Mars Sample Return mission design based on the following scenario: A SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle places a modified version of a SpaceX Dragon capsule, referred to as "Red Dragon", onto a Trans Mars Injection trajectory. The capsule carries all the hardware needed to return to Earth Orbit samples collected by a prior mission, such as the planned NASA Mars 2020 sample collection rover. The payload includes a fully fueled Mars Ascent Vehicle; a fueled Earth Return Vehicle, support equipment, and a mechanism to transfer samples from the sample cache system onboard the rover to the Earth Return Vehicle. The Red Dragon descends to land on the surface of Mars using Supersonic Retropropulsion. After collected samples are transferred to the Earth Return Vehicle, the single-stage Mars Ascent Vehicle launches the Earth Return Vehicle from the surface of Mars to a Mars phasing orbit. After a brief phasing period, the Earth Return

  2. SST, Pathfinder Ver 5.0, Night, 4.4 km, Global, Science Quality

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — AVHRR Pathfinder Oceans Project seeks to create a long-term, continuous sea surface temperature data series for use in climate research. The Pathfinder SST data...

  3. SST, Pathfinder Ver 5.0, Day, 4.4 km, Global, Science Quality

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — AVHRR Pathfinder Oceans Project seeks to create a long-term, continuous sea surface temperature data series for use in climate research. The Pathfinder SST data...

  4. Atmosphere Assessment for MARS Science Laboratory Entry, Descent and Landing Operations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cianciolo, Alicia D.; Cantor, Bruce; Barnes, Jeff; Tyler, Daniel, Jr.; Rafkin, Scot; Chen, Allen; Kass, David; Mischna, Michael; Vasavada, Ashwin R.

    2013-01-01

    On August 6, 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, successfully landed on the surface of Mars. The Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) sequence was designed using atmospheric conditions estimated from mesoscale numerical models. The models, developed by two independent organizations (Oregon State University and the Southwest Research Institute), were validated against observations at Mars from three prior years. In the weeks and days before entry, the MSL "Council of Atmospheres" (CoA), a group of atmospheric scientists and modelers, instrument experts and EDL simulation engineers, evaluated the latest Mars data from orbiting assets including the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's Mars Color Imager (MARCI) and Mars Climate Sounder (MCS), as well as Mars Odyssey's Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). The observations were compared to the mesoscale models developed for EDL performance simulation to determine if a spacecraft parameter update was necessary prior to entry. This paper summarizes the daily atmosphere observations and comparison to the performance simulation atmosphere models. Options to modify the atmosphere model in the simulation to compensate for atmosphere effects are also presented. Finally, a summary of the CoA decisions and recommendations to the MSL project in the days leading up to EDL is provided.

  5. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (False Color)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. The image is presented here in false color that is used to bring out subtle differences in color.

  6. Circolo enogastronomico "Della Rovere" = The Della Rovere Club

    Index Scriptorium Estoniae

    2012-01-01

    Della Rovere Klubist, mis on Itaalia Önogastronoomiliste Ühenduste Föderatsiooni ja Euroopa Önogastronoomia Vennaskondade Nõukogu liige ja mille missiooniks on kohalike traditsioonide säilitamine, erinevate toiduainete omaduste tutvustamine, veinikultuuri õpetamine jne

  7. Surface navigation on Mars with a Navigation Satellite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vijayaraghavan, A.; Thurman, Sam W.; Kahn, Robert D.; Hastrup, Rolf C.

    Radiometric navigation data from the Deep Space Network (DSN) stations on the earth to transponders and other surface elements such as rovers and landers on Mars, can determine their positions to only within a kilometer in inertial space. The positional error is mostly in the z-component of the surface element parallel to the Martian spin-axis. However, with Doppler and differenced-Doppler data from a Navigation Satellite in orbit around Mars to two or more of such transponders on the planetary surface, their positions can be determined to within 15 meters (or 20 meters for one-way Doppler beacons on Mars) in inertial space. In this case, the transponders (or other vehicles) on Mars need not even be capable of directly communicating to the earth. When the Navigation Satellite data is complemented by radiometric observations from the DSN stations also, directly to the surface elements on Mars, their positions can be determined to within 3 meters in inertial space. The relative positions of such surface elements on Mars (relative to one another) in Mars-fixed coordinates, however, can be determined to within 5 meters from simply range and Doppler data from the DSN stations to the surface elements. These results are obtained from covariance studies assuming X-band data noise levels and data-arcs not exceeding 10 days. They are significant in the planning and deployment of a Mars-based navigation network necessary to support real-time operations during critical phases of manned exploration of Mars.

  8. Searching for brine on Mars using Raman spectroscopy

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Fischer, E.

    2016-07-01

    In the last few years, water ice and perchlorate salts capable of melting this ice and producing liquid solutions have been discovered at the surface and shallow subsurface of Mars. In addition to via melting of ice, perchlorate salts may also form liquid solutions by absorbing water vapor when the relative humidity is above a certain threshold in a process known as deliquescence. Formed either by melting or deliquescence, liquid solutions (brine) are the most likely way of liquid water activity on the Martian surface and in the shallow subsurface and are therefore important to understand the habitability of Mars. Using Raman spectroscopy, we provide reference spectra of various mixing states of liquid water, water ice and calcium perchlorate, all of which can occur during brine formation. We focus on the perchlorate symmetric stretching band and the O-H stretching vibrational band to distinguish brine from crystalline salt and water ice. We show that perchlorate brines can be identified by analyzing the peaks and their widths in the decomposed Raman spectra of the investigated samples. This serves as an important reference for future in-situ Raman spectrometers on Mars, such as those on the ExoMars and Mars 2020 rovers and can aid in the detection of brine formation on Mars. (Author)

  9. The Status of the Ultra Fast Flash Observatory – Pathfinder

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nam, J.W.; Ahmad, S.; Ahn, K.B.; Barrillon, P.; Brandt, S.; Budtz-Jrgensen, C.; Castro-Tirado, A.J.; Chang, C.-H.; Chang, C.-Y.; Chang, Y.Y.; Chen, C.R.; Chen, P.; Cho, M.; Choi, H.S.; Choi, Y.J.; Connel, P.; Dagoret-Campagne, S.; Eyles, C.; Grossan, B.; Huang, J.J.

    2014-01-01

    The Ultra Fast Flash Observatory (UFFO) is a project to study early optical emissions from Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs). The primary scientific goal of UFFO is to see if GRBs can be calibrated with their rising times, so that they could be used as new standard candles. In order to minimize delay in optical follow-up measurements, which is now about 100 sec after trigger from the Swift experiment, we rotate a mirror to redirect light path so that optical measurement can be performed within a second after the trigger. We have developed a pathfinder mission, UFFO-pathfinder to launch on board the Lomonosov satellite in 2012. In this talk, I will present scientific motivations and descriptions of the design and development of UFFO-pathfinder

  10. METEO-P/H: Measuring ambient pressure and relative humidity on the ExoMars 2020 landing site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nikkanen, T. T.; Genzer, M.; Hieta, M.; Harri, A.-M.; Haukka, H.; Polkko, J.; Kynkäänniemi, T.

    2017-09-01

    Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has designed and is in the process of building and testing a pressure and humidity measurement device for the ExoMars 2020 lander. The ExoMars 2020 mission consists of the Russian Roscosmos Surface Platform (SP) and the European Space Agency (ESA) Rover. The Surface Platform will perform the Entry, Descent and Landing for the lander combo and start stationary science operations after landing, while the Rover will drive off the SP to explore the landing site surroundings and soil. The FMI measurement device is installed on the Surface Platform to give continuous measurements from a stationary location. The METEO-P pressure device and METEO-H humidity device are part of the METEO meteorological science package, which also includes a thermometer and an anemometer from IKI, Russia, as well as the RDM Radiation and dust sensors, and the AMR magnetic field sensors from INTA, Spain.

  11. Science applications of a multispectral microscopic imager for the astrobiological exploration of Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Núñez, Jorge I; Farmer, Jack D; Sellar, R Glenn; Swayze, Gregg A; Blaney, Diana L

    2014-02-01

    Future astrobiological missions to Mars are likely to emphasize the use of rovers with in situ petrologic capabilities for selecting the best samples at a site for in situ analysis with onboard lab instruments or for caching for potential return to Earth. Such observations are central to an understanding of the potential for past habitable conditions at a site and for identifying samples most likely to harbor fossil biosignatures. The Multispectral Microscopic Imager (MMI) provides multispectral reflectance images of geological samples at the microscale, where each image pixel is composed of a visible/shortwave infrared spectrum ranging from 0.46 to 1.73 μm. This spectral range enables the discrimination of a wide variety of rock-forming minerals, especially Fe-bearing phases, and the detection of hydrated minerals. The MMI advances beyond the capabilities of current microimagers on Mars by extending the spectral range into the infrared and increasing the number of spectral bands. The design employs multispectral light-emitting diodes and an uncooled indium gallium arsenide focal plane array to achieve a very low mass and high reliability. To better understand and demonstrate the capabilities of the MMI for future surface missions to Mars, we analyzed samples from Mars-relevant analog environments with the MMI. Results indicate that the MMI images faithfully resolve the fine-scale microtextural features of samples and provide important information to help constrain mineral composition. The use of spectral endmember mapping reveals the distribution of Fe-bearing minerals (including silicates and oxides) with high fidelity, along with the presence of hydrated minerals. MMI-based petrogenetic interpretations compare favorably with laboratory-based analyses, revealing the value of the MMI for future in situ rover-mediated astrobiological exploration of Mars. Mars-Microscopic imager-Multispectral imaging-Spectroscopy-Habitability-Arm instrument.

  12. Rover deployment system for lunar landing mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sutoh, Masataku; Hoshino, Takeshi; Wakabayashi, Sachiko

    2017-09-01

    For lunar surface exploration, a deployment system is necessary to allow a rover to leave the lander. The system should be as lightweight as possible and stored retracted when launched. In this paper, two types of retractable deployment systems for lunar landing missions, telescopic- and fold-type ramps, are discussed. In the telescopic-type system, a ramp is stored with the sections overlapping and slides out during deployment. In the fold-type system, it is stored folded and unfolds for the deployment. For the development of these ramps, a design concept study and structural analysis were conducted first. Subsequently, ramp deployment and rover release tests were performed using the developed ramp prototypes. Through these tests, the validity of their design concepts and functions have been confirmed. In the rover release test, it was observed that the developed lightweight ramp was sufficiently strong for a 50-kg rover to descend. This result suggests that this ramp system is suitable for the deployment of a 300-kg-class rover on the Moon, where the gravity is about one-sixth that on Earth. The lightweight and sturdy ramp developed in this study will contribute to both safe rover deployment and increase of lander/rover payload.

  13. Mars atmospheric water vapor abundance: 1996-1997

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sprague, A. L.; Hunten, D. M.; Doose, L. R.; Hill, R. E.

    2003-05-01

    Measurements of martian atmospheric water vapor made throughout Ls = 18.0°-146.4° (October 3, 1996-July 12, 1997) show changes in Mars humidity on hourly, daily, and seasonal time scales. Because our observing program during the 1996-1997 Mars apparition did not include concomitant measurement of nearby CO 2 bands, high northern latitude data were corrected for dust and aerosol extinction assuming an optical depth of 0.8, consistent with ground-based and HST imaging of northern dust storms. All other measurements with airmass greater than 3.5 were corrected using a total optical depth of 0.5. Three dominant results from this data set are as follows: (1) pre- and post-opposition measurements made with the slit crossing many hours of local time on Mars' Earth-facing disk show a distinct diurnal pattern with highest abundances around and slightly after noon with low abundances in the late afternoon, (2) measurements of water vapor over the Mars Pathfinder landing site (Carl Sagan Memorial Station) on July 12, 1997, found 21 ppt μm in the spatial sector centered near 19° latitude, 36° longitude while abundances around the site varied from as low as 6 to as high as 28 ppt μm, and (3) water vapor abundance is patchy on hourly and daily time scales but follows the usual seasonal trends.

  14. Methane Seepage on Mars: Where to Look and Why.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oehler, Dorothy Z; Etiope, Giuseppe

    2017-12-01

    Methane on Mars is a topic of special interest because of its potential association with microbial life. The variable detections of methane by the Curiosity rover, orbiters, and terrestrial telescopes, coupled with methane's short lifetime in the martian atmosphere, may imply an active gas source in the planet's subsurface, with migration and surface emission processes similar to those known on Earth as "gas seepage." Here, we review the variety of subsurface processes that could result in methane seepage on Mars. Such methane could originate from abiotic chemical reactions, thermogenic alteration of abiotic or biotic organic matter, and ancient or extant microbial metabolism. These processes can occur over a wide range of temperatures, in both sedimentary and igneous rocks, and together they enhance the possibility that significant amounts of methane could have formed on early Mars. Methane seepage to the surface would occur preferentially along faults and fractures, through focused macro-seeps and/or diffuse microseepage exhalations. Our work highlights the types of features on Mars that could be associated with methane release, including mud-volcano-like mounds in Acidalia or Utopia; proposed ancient springs in Gusev Crater, Arabia Terra, and Valles Marineris; and rims of large impact craters. These could have been locations of past macro-seeps and may still emit methane today. Microseepage could occur through faults along the dichotomy or fractures such as those at Nili Fossae, Cerberus Fossae, the Argyre impact, and those produced in serpentinized rocks. Martian microseepage would be extremely difficult to detect remotely yet could constitute a significant gas source. We emphasize that the most definitive detection of methane seepage from different release candidates would be best provided by measurements performed in the ground or at the ground-atmosphere interface by landers or rovers and that the technology for such detection is currently available. Key

  15. In Situ Measurement of Atmospheric Krypton and Xenon on Mars with Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, P. G.; Malespin, C. A.; Franz, H. B.; Pepin, R. O.; Trainer, M. G.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Atreya, S. K.; Freissinet, C.; Jones, J. H.; Manning, H.; hide

    2016-01-01

    Mars Science Laboratorys Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation has measured all of the stable isotopes of the heavy noble gases krypton and xenon in the martian atmosphere, in situ, from the Curiosity Rover at Gale Crater, Mars. Previous knowledge of martian atmospheric krypton and xenon isotope ratios has been based upon a combination of the Viking missions krypton and xenon detections and measurements of noble gas isotope ratios in martian meteorites. However, the meteorite measurements reveal an impure mixture of atmospheric, mantle, and spallation contributions. The xenon and krypton isotopic measurements reported here include the complete set of stable isotopes, unmeasured by Viking. The new results generally agree with Mars meteorite measurements but also provide a unique opportunity to identify various non-atmospheric heavy noble gas components in the meteorites. Kr isotopic measurements define a solar-like atmospheric composition, but deviating from the solar wind pattern at 80Kr and 82Kr in a manner consistent with contributions originating from neutron capture in Br. The Xe measurements suggest an intriguing possibility that isotopes lighter than 132Xe have been enriched to varying degrees by spallation and neutron capture products degassed to the atmosphere from the regolith, and a model is constructed to explore this possibility. Such a spallation component, however, is not apparent in atmospheric Xe trapped in the glassy phases of martian meteorites.

  16. Field reconnaissance geologic mapping of the Columbia Hills, Mars, based on Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and MRO HiRISE observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crumpler, L.S.; Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; McCoy, T.; Yingst, A.; Ruff, S.; Farrand, W.; McSween, Y.; Powell, M.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R.V.; Bell, J.F.; Grant, J.; Greeley, R.; DesMarais, D.; Schmidt, M.; Cabrol, N.A.; Haldemann, A.; Lewis, K.W.; Wang, A.E.; Schroder, C.; Blaney, D.; Cohen, B.; Yen, A.; Farmer, J.; Gellert, Ralf; Guinness, E.A.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhfer, G.; McEwen, A.; Rice, J.W.; Rice, M.; deSouza, P.; Hurowitz, J.

    2011-01-01

    Chemical, mineralogic, and lithologic ground truth was acquired for the first time on Mars in terrain units mapped using orbital Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (MRO HiRISE) image data. Examination of several dozen outcrops shows that Mars is geologically complex at meter length scales, the record of its geologic history is well exposed, stratigraphic units may be identified and correlated across significant areas on the ground, and outcrops and geologic relationships between materials may be analyzed with techniques commonly employed in terrestrial field geology. Despite their burial during the course of Martian geologic time by widespread epiclastic materials, mobile fines, and fall deposits, the selective exhumation of deep and well-preserved geologic units has exposed undisturbed outcrops, stratigraphic sections, and structural information much as they are preserved and exposed on Earth. A rich geologic record awaits skilled future field investigators on Mars. The correlation of ground observations and orbital images enables construction of a corresponding geologic reconnaissance map. Most of the outcrops visited are interpreted to be pyroclastic, impactite, and epiclastic deposits overlying an unexposed substrate, probably related to a modified Gusev crater central peak. Fluids have altered chemistry and mineralogy of these protoliths in degrees that vary substantially within the same map unit. Examination of the rocks exposed above and below the major unconformity between the plains lavas and the Columbia Hills directly confirms the general conclusion from remote sensing in previous studies over past years that the early history of Mars was a time of more intense deposition and modification of the surface. Although the availability of fluids and the chemical and mineral activity declined from this early period, significant later volcanism and fluid convection enabled additional, if localized, chemical activity

  17. Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia and life in the Atacama: Environmental physics and analogies to Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hock, Andrew Nelson

    Although there is no perfect environmental analog to Mars on Earth, quantitative study of relevant terrestrial field sites can serve as the basis for physical models and technology development to aid future exploration. This dissertation describes original field and laboratory research on two terrestrial analog sites: Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia, and the Atacama Desert, Chile. Atop Licancabur, at an elevation of nearly 6,000 meters above sea level, sits the highest volcanic lake on Earth. Prior to this work, little was known about the lake, its waters, the role of volcanism or its potential relationship to locales on Mars. In the first part of this work, I describe observations of the lake resulting from several years of field study, including data on meteorological conditions and solar irradiance. These and other measurements provide the basis for (1) the first quantitative mass and energy balance model of the lake, and (2) the first determination of the altitude effect on solar visible and ultraviolet flux from the high altitude summit. Under the observed conditions, model results indicate: lake waters are primarily meteoric in origin and evaporating rapidly; volcanic input is not required to explain observations of lake water temperature or year-end model results. Nearby, Chile's Atacama Desert is known to be one of the driest, most inhospitable environments on Earth. There, environmental similarities to Mars provide an apt testing ground for new astrobiological exploration technologies. In the latter part of this work, I present results from my work with the Life In The Atacama (LITA) Mars rover field experiment. In particular, I report on the development of a new data analysis tool named the LITA Data Scoring System (DSS). Subject to the user-defined constraints, the DSS was used to facilitate targeting, analysis and mapping of rover science results relevant to potential habitability and evidence for life at three desert field sites. Although experimental in

  18. Rim Structure, Stratigraphy, and Aqueous Alteration Exposures Along Opportunity Rover's Traverse of the Noachian Endeavour Crater

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crumpler, L.S.; Arvidson, R. E.; Golombek, M.; Grant, J. A.; Jolliff, B. L.; Mittlefehldt, D. W.

    2017-01-01

    The Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has traversed 10.2 kilometers along segments of the west rim of the 22-kilometer-diameter Noachian Endeavour impact crater as of sol 4608 (01/09/17). The stratigraphy, attitude of units, lithology, and degradation state of bedrock outcrops exposed on the crater rim have been examined in situ and placed in geologic context. Structures within the rim and differences in physical properties of the identified lithologies have played important roles in localizing outcrops bearing evidence of aqueous alteration.

  19. Bringing a Chemical Laboratory Named Sam to Mars on the 2011 Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, P. R.; Bleacher, L.; Jones, A.; Atreya, S. K.; Manning, H. L.; Cabane, M.; Webster, C. R.; Sam Team

    2010-12-01

    Introduction: An important goal of upcoming missions to Mars is to understand if life could have developed there. The task of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments [1] and the other Curiosity investigations [2] is to move us steadily toward that goal with an assessment of the habitability of our neighboring planet through a series of chemical and geological measurements. SAM is designed to search for organic compounds and inorganic volatiles and measure isotope ratios. Other instruments on Curiosity will provide elemental analysis and identify minerals. SAM will analyze both atmospheric samples and gases evolved from powdered rocks that may have formed billions of years ago with Curiosity providing access to interesting sites scouted by orbiting cameras and spectrometers. SAM Instrument Suite: SAM’s instruments are a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS), a 6-column Gas Chromatograph (GC), and a 2-channel Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). SAM can identify organic compounds in Mars rocks to sub-ppb sensitivity and secure precise isotope ratios for C, H, and O in carbon dioxide and water and measure trace levels of methane and its carbon 13 isotope. The SAM gas processing system consists of valves, heaters, pressure sensors, gas scrubbers and getters, traps, and gas tanks used for calibration or combustion experiments [2]. A variety of calibrant compounds interior and exterior to SAM will allow the science and engineering teams to assess SAM’s performance. SAM has been calibrated and tested in a Mars-like environment. Keeping Educators and the Public Informed: The Education and Public Outreach (EPO) goals of the SAM team are to make this complex chemical laboratory and its data widely available to educators, students, and the public. Formal education activities include developing templates for professional development workshops for educators to teach them about SAM and Curiosity, incorporating data into Mars Student Data Teams, and writing articles

  20. APXS Data from Mars and MSR Samples: How Can They Be Combined and Benefit from Each Other?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gellert, R.

    2018-04-01

    The APXS has returned the chemical composition of more than 1000 samples on four rover missions along the combined traverse of >70km. Combining Mars data with terrestrial lab results of martian samples will be important, but it has to be done right.

  1. Electroactive Polymers as Artificial Muscles: Capabilities, Potentials and Challenges

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bar-Cohen, Yoseph

    2000-01-01

    The low density and the relative ease of shaping made polymers highly attractive materials and they are increasingly being chosen for aerospace applications. Polymer matrix composite materials significantly impacted the construction of high performance aircraft components and structures. In recent years, the resilience characteristics of polymers made them attractive to the emerging field of inflatable structures. Balloons were used to cushion the deployment of the Mars Pathfinder lander on July 4, 1997, paving the way for the recent large number of related initiatives. Inflatable structures are now being used to construct a rover, aerial vehicles, telescopes, radar antennas, and others. Some of these applications have reached space flight experiments, whereas others are now at advanced stages of development.

  2. Implementing Strategic Planning Capabilities Within the Mars Relay Operations Service

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hy, Franklin; Gladden, Roy; Allard, Dan; Wallick, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Since the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), Spirit and Opportunity, began their travels across the Martian surface in January of 2004, orbiting spacecraft such as the Mars 2001 Odyssey orbiter have relayed the majority of their collected scientific and operational data to and from Earth. From the beginning of those missions, it was evident that using orbiters to relay data to and from the surface of Mars was a vastly more efficient communications strategy in terms of power consumption and bandwidth compared to direct-to-Earth means. However, the coordination between the various spacecraft, which are largely managed independently and on differing commanding timelines, has always proven to be a challenge. Until recently, the ground operators of all these spacecraft have coordinated the movement of data through this network using a collection of ad hoc human interfaces and various, independent software tools. The Mars Relay Operations Service (MaROS) has been developed to manage the evolving needs of the Mars relay network, and specifically to standardize and integrate the relay planning and coordination data into a centralized infrastructure. This paper explores the journey of developing the MaROS system, from inception to delivery and acceptance by the Mars mission users.

  3. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Stereo)

    Science.gov (United States)

    2009-01-01

    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. Multiple images taken with Spirit's panoramic camera are combined here into a stereo view that appears three-dimensional when seen through red-blue glasses, with the red lens on the left.

  4. Implementing a Science-driven Mars Exploration Program

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garvin, J. B.

    2001-12-01

    NASA's newly restructured Mars Exploration Program (MEP) was developed on the basis of the goals, objectives, investigations, and prioritizations established by the Mars Exploration Payload Analysis Group (as summarized previously by Greeley et al., 2001). The underlying scientific strategy is linked to common threads which include the many roles water has played on and within Mars as a "system". The implementation strategy that has been adopted relies heavily on an ever-sharpening program of reconnaissance, beginning with the legacy of the Mars Global Surveyor, continuing with the multispectral and compositional observations of the Mars Odyssey orbiter, and extending to a first step in surface-based reconnaissance with the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers. The results of MGS and Odyssey will serve to focus the trade space of localities where the record, for example, of persistent surface water may have been preserved in a mineralogical sense. The 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will further downselect the subset of sites on Mars where evidence of depositional patterns and aqueous mineralogies (i.e., diagenetic minerals) are most striking at scales as fine as tens to hundreds of meters. Reconnaissance will move to the surface and shallow subsurface in 2007 with the Mars "Smart Lander" (MSL), at which time an extensive array of mobile scientific exploration tools will be used to examine a locality at 10km traverse scales, ultimately asking scientific questions which can be classed as paleobiological (i.e., life inference). Further orbital reconnaissance may be undertaken in 2009, perhaps involving targeted multi-wavelength SAR imaging, in anticipation of a precisely targeted Mars Sample Return mission as early as 2011. This sequence of core program MEP missions will be amplified by the selection of PI-led SCOUT missions, starting in 2007, and continuing every other Mars launch opportunity.

  5. Autonomous Vision-Based Tethered-Assisted Rover Docking

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsai, Dorian; Nesnas, Issa A.D.; Zarzhitsky, Dimitri

    2013-01-01

    Many intriguing science discoveries on planetary surfaces, such as the seasonal flows on crater walls and skylight entrances to lava tubes, are at sites that are currently inaccessible to state-of-the-art rovers. The in situ exploration of such sites is likely to require a tethered platform both for mechanical support and for providing power and communication. Mother/daughter architectures have been investigated where a mother deploys a tethered daughter into extreme terrains. Deploying and retracting a tethered daughter requires undocking and re-docking of the daughter to the mother, with the latter being the challenging part. In this paper, we describe a vision-based tether-assisted algorithm for the autonomous re-docking of a daughter to its mother following an extreme terrain excursion. The algorithm uses fiducials mounted on the mother to improve the reliability and accuracy of estimating the pose of the mother relative to the daughter. The tether that is anchored by the mother helps the docking process and increases the system's tolerance to pose uncertainties by mechanically aligning the mating parts in the final docking phase. A preliminary version of the algorithm was developed and field-tested on the Axel rover in the JPL Mars Yard. The algorithm achieved an 80% success rate in 40 experiments in both firm and loose soils and starting from up to 6 m away at up to 40 deg radial angle and 20 deg relative heading. The algorithm does not rely on an initial estimate of the relative pose. The preliminary results are promising and help retire the risk associated with the autonomous docking process enabling consideration in future martian and lunar missions.

  6. Integrated Navigation System Design for Micro Planetary Rovers: Comparison of Absolute Heading Estimation Algorithms and Nonlinear Filtering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ilyas, Muhammad; Hong, Beomjin; Cho, Kuk; Baeg, Seung-Ho; Park, Sangdeok

    2016-01-01

    This paper provides algorithms to fuse relative and absolute microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) navigation sensors, suitable for micro planetary rovers, to provide a more accurate estimation of navigation information, specifically, attitude and position. Planetary rovers have extremely slow speed (~1 cm/s) and lack conventional navigation sensors/systems, hence the general methods of terrestrial navigation may not be applicable to these applications. While relative attitude and position can be tracked in a way similar to those for ground robots, absolute navigation information is hard to achieve on a remote celestial body, like Moon or Mars, in contrast to terrestrial applications. In this study, two absolute attitude estimation algorithms were developed and compared for accuracy and robustness. The estimated absolute attitude was fused with the relative attitude sensors in a framework of nonlinear filters. The nonlinear Extended Kalman filter (EKF) and Unscented Kalman filter (UKF) were compared in pursuit of better accuracy and reliability in this nonlinear estimation problem, using only on-board low cost MEMS sensors. Experimental results confirmed the viability of the proposed algorithms and the sensor suite, for low cost and low weight micro planetary rovers. It is demonstrated that integrating the relative and absolute navigation MEMS sensors reduces the navigation errors to the desired level. PMID:27223293

  7. Rover waste assay system

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Akers, D.W.; Stoots, C.M.; Kraft, N.C.; Marts, D.J.

    1997-01-01

    The Rover Waste Assay System (RWAS) is a nondestructive assay system designed for the rapid assay of highly-enriched 235 U contaminated piping, tank sections, and debris from the Rover nuclear rocket fuel processing facility at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant. A scanning system translates a NaI(Tl) detector/collimator system over the structural components where both relative and calibrated measurements for 137 Cs are made. Uranium-235 concentrations are in operation and is sufficiently automated that most functions are performed by the computer system. These functions include system calibration, problem identification, collimator control, data analysis, and reporting. Calibration of the system was done through a combination of measurements on calibration standards and benchmarked modeling. A description of the system is presented along with the methods and uncertainties associated with the calibration and analysis of the system for components from the Rover facility. 4 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs

  8. Volatile and organic compositions of sedimentary rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ming, D.W.; Archer Jr., P.D.; Glavin, D.P.; Eigenbrode, J.L.; Franz, H.B.; Sutter, B.; Brunner, A.E.; Stern, J.C.; Freissinet, C.; McAdam, A.C.; Mahaffy, P.R.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Campbell, J.L.; Atreya, S.K.; Niles, P.B.; Bell III, J.F.; Bish, D.L.; Brinckerhoff, W.B.; Buch, A.; Conrad, P.G.; Des Marais, D.J.; Ehlmann, B.L.; Fairén, A.G.; Farley, K.; Flesch, G.J.; Francois, P.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J.A.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K.E.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Leshin, L.A.; Lewis, K.W.; McLennan, S.M.; Miller, K.E.; Moersch, J.; Morris, R.V.; Navarro-González, R.; Pavlov, A.A.; Perrett, G.M.; Pradler, I.; Squyres, S.W.; Summons, R.E.; Steele, A.; Stolper, E.M.; Sumner, D.Y.; Szopa, C.; Teinturier, S.; Trainer, M.G.; Treiman, A.H.; Vaniman, D.T.; Vasavada, A.R.; Webster, C.R.; Wray, J.J.; Yingst, R.A.; MSL Science Team, the|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/292012217

    2014-01-01

    H2O, CO2, SO2, O2, H2, H2S, HCl, chlorinated hydrocarbons, NO, and other trace gases were evolved during pyrolysis of two mudstone samples acquired by the Curiosity rover at Yellowknife Bay within Gale crater, Mars. H2O/OH-bearing phases included 2:1 phyllosilicate(s), bassanite, akaganeite, and

  9. Laser-Induced Fluorescence Emission (L.I.F.E.): searching for Mars organics with a UV-enhanced PanCam.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Storrie-Lombardi, Michael C; Muller, Jan-Peter; Fisk, Martin R; Cousins, Claire; Sattler, Birgit; Griffiths, Andrew D; Coates, Andrew J

    2009-12-01

    The European Space Agency will launch the ExoMars mission in 2016 with a primary goal of surveying the martian subsurface for evidence of organic material. We have recently investigated the utility of including either a 365 nm light-emitting diode or a 375 nm laser light source in the ExoMars rover panoramic camera (PanCam). Such a modification would make it feasible to monitor rover drill cuttings optically for the fluorescence signatures of aromatic organic molecules and map the distribution of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as a function of depth to the 2 m limit of the ExoMars drill. The technique described requires no sample preparation, does not consume irreplaceable resources, and would allow mission control to prioritize deployment of organic detection experiments that require sample destruction, expenditure of non-replaceable consumables, or both. We report here for the first time laser-induced fluorescence emission (L.I.F.E.) imaging detection limits for anthracene, pyrene, and perylene targets doped onto a Mars analog granular peridotite with a 375 nm Nichia laser diode in optically uncorrected wide-angle mode. Data were collected via the Beagle 2 PanCam backup filter wheel fitted with original blue (440 nm), green (530 nm), and red (670 nm) filters. All three PAH species can be detected with the PanCam green (530 nm) filter. Detection limits in the green band for signal-to-noise ratios (S/N) > 10 are 49 parts per million (ppm) for anthracene, 145 ppm for pyrene, and 20 ppm for perylene. The anthracene detection limit improves to 7 ppm with use of the PanCam blue filter. We discuss soil-dependent detection limit constraints; use of UV excitation with other rover cameras, which provides higher spatial resolution; and the advantages of focused and wide-angle laser modes. Finally, we discuss application of L.I.F.E. techniques at multiple wavelengths for exploration of Mars analog extreme environments on Earth, including Icelandic hydrothermally

  10. Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Efforts and Observations at the Rocknest Eolian Sand Shadow in Curiosity's Gale Crater Field Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edgett, K. S.; Yingst, R. A.; Minitti, M. E.; Goetz, W.; Kah, L. C.; Kennedy, M. R.; Lipkaman, L. J.; Jensen, E. H.; Anderson, R. C.; Beegle, L. W.; hide

    2013-01-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission is focused on assessing the past or present habitability of Mars, through interrogation of environment and environmental records at the Curiosity rover field site in Gale crater. The MSL team has two methods available to collect, process and deliver samples to onboard analytical laboratories, the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite. One approach obtains samples by drilling into a rock, the other uses a scoop to collect loose regolith fines. Scooping was planned to be first method performed on Mars because materials could be readily scooped multiple times and used to remove any remaining, minute terrestrial contaminants from the sample processing system, the Collection and Handling for In-Situ Martian Rock Analysis (CHIMRA). Because of this cleaning effort, the ideal first material to be scooped would consist of fine to very fine sand, like the interior of the Serpent Dune studied by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) Spirit team in 2004 [1]. The MSL team selected a linear eolian deposit in the lee of a group of cobbles they named Rocknest (Fig. 1) as likely to be similar to Serpent Dune. Following the definitions in Chapter 13 of Bagnold [2], the deposit is termed a sand shadow. The scooping campaign occurred over approximately 6 weeks in October and November 2012. To support these activities, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) acquired images for engineering support/assessment and scientific inquiry.

  11. Diagenetic Features Analyzed by ChemCam/Curiosity at Pahrump Hills, Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nachon, M.; Mangold, N.; Cousin, A.; Forni, O.; Anderson, R. B.; Blank, J. G.; Calef, F.; Clegg, S.; Fabre, C.; Fisk, M.; hide

    2015-01-01

    Onboard the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover, the ChemCam instrument consists of : (1) a Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectrometer (LIBS) for elemental analysis of targets and (2) a Remote Micro Imager (RMI), which provides imaging context for the LIBS. The LIBS/ChemCam performs analysis typically of spot sizes 350-550 micrometers in diameter, up to 7 meters from the rover. Within Gale crater, Curiosity traveled from Bradbury Landing toward the base of Mount Sharp, reaching Pahrump Hills outcrop circa sol 750. This region, as seen from orbit, represents the first exposures of lower Mount Sharp. In this abstract we focus on two types of features present within the Pahrump Hills outcrop: concretion features and light-toned veins.

  12. Agriculture on Mars: Soils for Plant Growth

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ming, D. W.

    2016-01-01

    Robotic rovers and landers have enabled the mineralogical, chemical, and physical characterization of loose, unconsolidated materials on the surface of Mars. Planetary scientists refer to the regolith material as "soil." NASA is currently planning to send humans to Mars in the mid 2030s. Early missions may rely on the use of onsite resources to enable exploration and self-sufficient outposts on Mars. The martian "soil" and surface environment contain all essential plant growth elements. The study of martian surface materials and how they might react as agricultural soils opens a new frontier for researchers in the soil science community. Other potential applications for surface "soils" include (i) sources for extraction of essential plant-growth nutrients, (ii) sources of O2, H2, CO2, and H2O, (iii) substrates for microbial populations in the degradation of wastes, and (iv) shielding materials surrounding outpost structures to protect humans, plants, and microorganisms from radiation. There are many challenges that will have to be addressed by soil scientists prior to human exploration over the next two decades.

  13. Experimental simulations of oxidizing conditions and organic decomposition on the surface of Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stoker, C.R.; Mancinelli, R.L.; Mckay, C.P.

    1988-01-01

    One important scientific objective of a Mars Rover Sample Return mission would be to look for traces of living and extinct life on Mars. An instrument to search for organic carbon may be the simplest instrument that could screen samples which are interesting from a biological point of view. An experimental program is described which would help to understand the nature of the oxidizing soil on Mars and the mechanism responsible for organic degradation on the Martian surface. This is approached by lab simulations of the actual conditions that occur on Mars, particularly the oxidant production by atmospheric photochemistry, and the combined effects of UV light and oxidants in decomposing organic compounds. The results will be used to formulate models of the photochemistry of the atmospheric, the atmosphere-soil interaction, and the diffusion of reactive compounds into the soils. This information will provide insights and constraints on the design of a sampling strategy to search for organic compounds on Mars

  14. Experimental Alteration of Basalt to Support Interpretation of Remote Sensing and In Situ Meausrements from Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, M. S.

    2014-01-01

    Major occurrences of hydrous alteration minerals on Mars have been found in Noachian impact craters formed in basaltic targets and detected using visible/near infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy. Until recently phyllosilicates were detected only in craters in the southern hemisphere [1, 2]. However, it has been reported that at least nine craters in the northern plains apparently excavated thick layers of lava and sediment to expose phyllosilicates [3] as well. The MER (Mars Exploration Rovers) rovers previously reported results of in situ measurement indicating the presence of alteration minerals on Mars [4,5] and it was recently reported that the Mars Curiosity rover has detected alteration phases in situ at Yellowknife Bay in Gale crater as well [6,7]. An important discovery for Mars geochronology is that the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) x-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument on Curiosity detected phyllosilicates indicating that phyllosilicate formation on Mars extended beyond the Noachian Epoch [8]. These discoveries indicate that Mars was globally altered by water in the past but does not constrain formation conditions for alteration phase occurrences, which have important implications for the evolution of the surface and the biological potential on Mars. Understanding the alteration assemblages produced by a range of conditions is vital for the interpretation of phyllosilicate spectral signatures as well as in situ measurements and to decipher the environment and evolution of early Mars. The martian surface has been intensely altered by meteorite impacts whose effects include brecciation and melting of target materials as well as the initiation of hydrothermal circulation in a hydrous target [9,10,11,12]. Impact effects may facilitate aqueous alteration of a basaltic target because the rate of silicate dissolution is a function of the degree of crystallinity, surface area, and temperature. The resultant alteration mineralogies from shocked basaltic target material

  15. Rover waste assay system

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Akers, D.W.; Stoots, C.M.; Kraft, N.C.; Marts, D.J. [Idaho National Engineering Lab., Idaho Falls, ID (United States)

    1997-11-01

    The Rover Waste Assay System (RWAS) is a nondestructive assay system designed for the rapid assay of highly-enriched {sup 235}U contaminated piping, tank sections, and debris from the Rover nuclear rocket fuel processing facility at the Idaho Chemical Processing Plant. A scanning system translates a NaI(Tl) detector/collimator system over the structural components where both relative and calibrated measurements for {sup 137}Cs are made. Uranium-235 concentrations are in operation and is sufficiently automated that most functions are performed by the computer system. These functions include system calibration, problem identification, collimator control, data analysis, and reporting. Calibration of the system was done through a combination of measurements on calibration standards and benchmarked modeling. A description of the system is presented along with the methods and uncertainties associated with the calibration and analysis of the system for components from the Rover facility. 4 refs., 2 figs., 4 tabs.

  16. Magnesium Sulfate as a Key Mineral for the Detection of Organic Molecules on Mars Using Pyrolysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Francois, P.; Szopa, C.; Buch, A.; Coll, P.; McAdam, A. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D. P.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Cabane, M.

    2016-01-01

    Pyrolysis of soil or rock samples is the preferred preparation technique used on Mars to search for organic molecules up today. During pyrolysis, oxichlorines present in the soil of Mars release oxidant species that alter the organic molecules potentially contained in the samples collected by the space probes.This process can explain the difficulty experienced by in situ exploration probes to detect organic materials in Mars soil samples until recently. Within a few months, the Curiosity rover should reach and analyze for the first time soils rich in sulfates which could induce a different behavior of the organics during the pyrolysis compared with the types of soils analyzed up today. For this reason, we systematically studied the pyrolysis of organic molecules trapped in magnesium sulfate, in the presence or absence of calcium perchlorate. Our results show that organics trapped in magnesium sulfate can undergo some oxidation and sulfuration during the pyrolysis. But these sulfates are also shown to protect organics trapped inside the crystal lattice and/or present in fluid inclusions from the oxidation induced by the decomposition of calcium perchlorate and probably other oxychlorine phases currently detected on Mars. Trapped organics may also be protected from degradation processes induced by other minerals present in the sample, at least until these organics are released from the pyrolyzed sulfate mineral (700C in our experiment). Hence, we suggest magnesium sulfate as one of the minerals to target in priority for the search of organic molecules by the Curiosity and ExoMars 2018 rovers.

  17. LISA Pathfinder: An important first step towards a space-based gravitational wave observatory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thorpe, James

    2017-08-01

    ESA's LISA Pathfinder mission was launched on Dec 3rd, 2015 and completed earlier this Summer. During this relatively short mission, Pathfinder at its two science payloads, Europe's LISA Technology Package and NASA's Disturbance Reduction System, demonstrated several techniques and technologies that enable development of a future space-based gravitational wave observatory. Most notably, Pathfinder demonstrated that the technique of drag-free flight could be utilized to place a test mass in near-perfect free-fall, with residual accelerations at the femto-g level in the milliHertz band. Additionally, technologies such as precision bonded optical structures for metrology, micropropulsion systems, and non-contact charge control, were successfully tested, retiring risk for LISA. In this talk, I will present an overview of Pathfinder's results to date and some perspective on how this success will be leveraged into realizing LISA.

  18. Plans for Selection and In-Situ Investigation of Return Samples by the Supercam Instrument Onboard the Mars 2020 Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, R. C.; Maurice, S.; Mangold, N.; Anderson, R.; Beyssac, O.; Bonal, L.; Clegg, S.; Cousin, A.; DeFlores, L.; Dromart, G.; Fisher, W.; Forni, O.; Fouchet, T.; Gasnault, O.; Grotzinger, J.; Johnson, J.; Martinez-Frias, J.; McLennan, S.; Meslin, P.-Y.; Montmessin, F.; Poulet, F.; Rull, F.; Sharma, S.

    2018-04-01

    The SuperCam instrument onboard Rover 2020 still provides a complementary set of analyses with IR reflectance and Raman spectroscopy for mineralogy, LIBS for chemistry, and a color imager in order to investigate in-situ samples to return.

  19. Tale of Terrestrial Orgins: Hypothesis for Water on the Primordial Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, Cole; Williams, Darren M.

    2018-06-01

    It is clear from evidence obtained by Martian orbiters and rovers that the surface of Mars once had flowing water approximately 3.8 Gyr ago. At this time, however, the Sun was approximately 30% less luminous – indicating the Martian surface should not have had a temperature appropriate to explain the existence of liquid water. We investigate a potential solution to this Faint Young Sun Paradox of Mars. We show that Mars could have once been in a circumplanetary orbit about Venus where it would have had a surface temperature conducive to support liquid water given a less luminous Sun. We then model how Mars could have tidally evolved away from Venus until it eventually escaped and migrated to its present orbit. We show that, given the right initial conditions, Mars tends toward an orbit in the vicinity of its present orbit (1.52AU) after escaping Venus and that the rest of the solar system is changed insignificantly from its present configuration. Furthermore, we are working to show that the timescale of the tidal evolution is ~ 108 to 109 years -- long enough to explain the observed geological evidence of water on Mars.

  20. Science Applications of a Multispectral Microscopic Imager for the Astrobiological Exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Farmer, Jack D.; Sellar, R. Glenn; Swayze, Gregg A.; Blaney, Diana L.

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Future astrobiological missions to Mars are likely to emphasize the use of rovers with in situ petrologic capabilities for selecting the best samples at a site for in situ analysis with onboard lab instruments or for caching for potential return to Earth. Such observations are central to an understanding of the potential for past habitable conditions at a site and for identifying samples most likely to harbor fossil biosignatures. The Multispectral Microscopic Imager (MMI) provides multispectral reflectance images of geological samples at the microscale, where each image pixel is composed of a visible/shortwave infrared spectrum ranging from 0.46 to 1.73 μm. This spectral range enables the discrimination of a wide variety of rock-forming minerals, especially Fe-bearing phases, and the detection of hydrated minerals. The MMI advances beyond the capabilities of current microimagers on Mars by extending the spectral range into the infrared and increasing the number of spectral bands. The design employs multispectral light-emitting diodes and an uncooled indium gallium arsenide focal plane array to achieve a very low mass and high reliability. To better understand and demonstrate the capabilities of the MMI for future surface missions to Mars, we analyzed samples from Mars-relevant analog environments with the MMI. Results indicate that the MMI images faithfully resolve the fine-scale microtextural features of samples and provide important information to help constrain mineral composition. The use of spectral endmember mapping reveals the distribution of Fe-bearing minerals (including silicates and oxides) with high fidelity, along with the presence of hydrated minerals. MMI-based petrogenetic interpretations compare favorably with laboratory-based analyses, revealing the value of the MMI for future in situ rover-mediated astrobiological exploration of Mars. Key Words: Mars—Microscopic imager—Multispectral imaging

  1. Science applications of a multispectral microscopic imager for the astrobiological exploration of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nunez, Jorge; Farmer, Jack; Sellar, R. Glenn; Swayze, Gregg A.; Blaney, Diana L.

    2014-01-01

    Future astrobiological missions to Mars are likely to emphasize the use of rovers with in situ petrologic capabilities for selecting the best samples at a site for in situ analysis with onboard lab instruments or for caching for potential return to Earth. Such observations are central to an understanding of the potential for past habitable conditions at a site and for identifying samples most likely to harbor fossil biosignatures. The Multispectral Microscopic Imager (MMI) provides multispectral reflectance images of geological samples at the microscale, where each image pixel is composed of a visible/shortwave infrared spectrum ranging from 0.46 to 1.73 μm. This spectral range enables the discrimination of a wide variety of rock-forming minerals, especially Fe-bearing phases, and the detection of hydrated minerals. The MMI advances beyond the capabilities of current microimagers on Mars by extending the spectral range into the infrared and increasing the number of spectral bands. The design employs multispectral light-emitting diodes and an uncooled indium gallium arsenide focal plane array to achieve a very low mass and high reliability. To better understand and demonstrate the capabilities of the MMI for future surface missions to Mars, we analyzed samples from Mars-relevant analog environments with the MMI. Results indicate that the MMI images faithfully resolve the fine-scale microtextural features of samples and provide important information to help constrain mineral composition. The use of spectral endmember mapping reveals the distribution of Fe-bearing minerals (including silicates and oxides) with high fidelity, along with the presence of hydrated minerals. MMI-based petrogenetic interpretations compare favorably with laboratory-based analyses, revealing the value of the MMI for future in situ rover-mediated astrobiological exploration of Mars.

  2. Indigenous Fixed Nitrogen on Mars: Implications for Habitability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Sutter, B.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; McKay, C. P.; Freissinet, C.; Archer, D., Jr.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Conrad, P. G.

    2015-12-01

    Nitrate has been detected in Mars surface sediments and aeolian deposits by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover (Stern et al., 2015). This detection is significant because fixed nitrogen is necessary for life, a requirement that drove the evolution of N-fixing metabolism in life on Earth. The question remains as to the extent to which a primitive N cycle ever developed on Mars, and whether N is currently being deposited on the martian surface at a non-negligible rate. It is also necessary to consider processes that could recycle oxidized N back into the atmosphere, and how these processes may have changed the soil inventory of N over time. The abundance of fixed nitrogen detected as NO from thermal decomposition of nitrate is consistent with both delivery of nitrate via impact generated thermal shock early in martian history and dry deposition from photochemistry of thermospheric NO, occurring in the present. Processes that could recycle N back into the atmosphere may include nitrate reduction by Fe(II) in aqueous environments on early Mars, impact decomposition, and/or UV photolysis. In order to better understand the history of nitrogen fixation on Mars, we look to cycling of N in Mars analog environments on Earth such as the Atacama Desert and the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. In particular, we examine the ratio of nitrate to perchlorate (NO3-/ClO4-) in these areas compared to those calculated from data acquired on Mars.

  3. Astrobiological Field Campaign to a Volcanosedimentary Mars Analogue Methane Producing Subsurface Protected Ecosystem: Imuruk Lake (Alaska

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    F. Gómez

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Viking missions reported adverse conditions for life in Mars surface. High hydrogen signal obtained by Mars orbiters has increased the interest in subsurface prospection as putative protected Mars environment with life potential. Permafrost has attracted considerable interest from an astrobiological point of view due to the recently reported results from the Mars exploration rovers. Considerable studies have been developed on extreme ecosystems and permafrost in particular, to evaluate the possibility of life on Mars and to test specific automated life detection instruments for space missions. The biodiversity of permafrost located on the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve has been studied as an example of subsurface protected niche of astrobiological interest. Different conventional (enrichment and isolation and molecular ecology techniques (cloning, fluorescence “in situ” probe hybridization, FISH have been used for isolation and bacterial identification.

  4. Detection of Micrometeoroids with LISA Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thorpe, Ira; Littenberg, Tyson; Janchez, Diego; Baker, John; The LISA Pathfinder Team Team

    2017-01-01

    The LISA Pathfinder mission (LPF), a joint ESA/NASA technology demonstration mission currently operating at the Sun-Earth L1 point, contains the most precise accelerometry system ever flown. Analysis suggests that LPF should have sufficient sensitivity to detect impacts of small micrometeoroids and dust through their transfer of momentum to the spacecraft. Moreover, LPF's ability to fully resolve both the linea