The Mission Data System provides a framework for modeling complex systems in terms of system behaviors and goals that express intent. Complex activity plans can be represented as goal networks that express the coordination of goals on different state variables of the system. Real-time projection extends the ability of this system to verify plan achievability (all goals can be satisfied over the entire plan) into the execution domain so that the system is able to continuously re-verify a plan as it is executed, and as the states of the system change in response to goals and the environment.

Previous versions were able to detect and respond to goal violations when they actually occur during execution. This new capability enables the prediction of future goal failures; specifically, goals that were previously found to be achievable but are no longer achievable due to unanticipated faults or environmental conditions. Early detection of such situations enables operators or an autonomous fault response capability to deal with the problem at a point that maximizes the available options.

For example, this system has been applied to the problem of managing battery energy on a lunar rover as it is used to explore the Moon. Astronauts drive the rover to waypoints and conduct science observations according to a plan that is scheduled and verified to be achievable with the energy resources available. As the astronauts execute this plan, the system uses this new capability to continuously re-verify the plan as energy is consumed to ensure that the battery will never be depleted below safe levels across the entire plan.

In particular, this enables an execution system to predict problems such as resource exhaustion before they occur. The models are expressed and executed in a way that can be optimized for realtime use in an embedded system.

This work was done by David A. Wagner, Daniel L. Dvorak, Robert D. Rasmussen, Russell L. Knight, John R. Morris, Matthew B. Bennett, and Michel D. Ingham of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Daniel Broderick of the California Institute of Technology at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NPO-47734