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Science Activity Planner for the MER Mission

The Maestro Science Activity Planner is a computer program that assists human users in planning operations of the Mars Explorer Rover (MER) mission and visualizing scientific data returned from the MER rovers. Relative to its predecessors, this program is more powerful and easier to use. This program is built on the Java Eclipse open-source platform around a Web-browser- based user-interface paradigm to provide an intuitive user interface to Mars rovers and landers.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences

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UAVSAR Flight-Planning System

A system of software partly automates planning of a flight of the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) — a polarimetric synthetic-aperture radar system aboard an unpiloted or minimally piloted airplane. The software constructs a flight plan that specifies not only the intended flight path but also the setup of the radar system at each point along the path.

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Schema for Spacecraft-Command Dictionary

An Extensible Markup Language (XML) schema was developed as a means of defining and describing a structure for capturing spacecraft command-definition and tracking information in a single location in a form readable by both engineers and software used to generate software for flight and ground systems. A structure defined within this schema is then used as the basis for creating an XML file that contains command definitions. The schema is divided into three sections:

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Self-Adjusting Hash Tables for Embedded Flight Applications

A common practice in computer science to associate a value with a key is to use a class of algorithms called a hash-table. These algorithms enable rapid storage and retrieval of values based upon a key. This approach assumes that many keys will need to be stored immediately. A new set of hash-table algorithms optimally uses system resources to ideally represent keys and values in memory such that the information can be stored and retrieved with a minimal amount of time and space. These hash-tables support the efficient addition of new entries. Also, for large data sets, the look-up time for large data-set searches is independent of the number of items stored, i.e., O(1), provided that the chance of collision is low.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Information Sciences

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Efficient Algorithm for Rectangular Spiral Search

The search pattern is automatically expanded as needed. An algorithm generates grid coordinates for a computationally efficient spiral search pattern covering an uncertain rectangular area spanned by a coordinate grid. The algorithm does not require that the grid be fixed; the algorithm can search indefinitely, expanding the grid and spiral, as needed, until the target of the search is found. The algorithm also does not require memory of coordinates of previous points on the spiral to generate the current point on the spiral.

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Algorithm-Based Fault Tolerance Integrated With Replication

In a proposed approach to programming and utilization of commercial off-the-shelf computing equipment, a combination of algorithm-based fault tolerance (ABFT) and replication would be utilized to obtain high degrees of fault tolerance without incurring excessive costs. The basic idea of the proposed approach is to integrate ABFT with replication such that the algorithmic portions of computations would be protected by ABFT, and the logical portions by replication.

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Targeting and Localization for Mars Rover Operations

A design and a partially developed application framework were presented for improving localization and targeting for surface spacecraft. The program has value for the Mars Science Laboratory mission, and has been delivered to support the Mars Exploration Rovers as part of the latest version of the Maestro science planning tool. It also has applications for future missions involving either surface-based or low-altitude atmospheric robotic vehicles.

Posted in: Briefs, Information Sciences

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