A report describes the Laser Mapper (LAMP) — a lightweight, compact, low-power lidar system under development for guidance of a spacecraft or exploratory robotic vehicle (rover) at Mars or another planet. The LAMP is intended especially for use during rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit, for mapping terrain during descent and landing of a spacecraft, for capturing a sample that has been launched into orbit, or navigation and avoidance of obstacles by a rover traversing terrain. The LAMP includes a laser that emits high-power, short light pulses. The laser beam is aimed in azimuth and elevation by use of a mirror on a two-axis gimbal, which scans the beam across a field of regard. Light reflected by a target is collected by a telescope, and the distance to the target is determined by measuring the round-trip travel time for reflected light pulses. The distance information is combined with directional information to construct a three-dimensional map of targets in the field of regard.

This work was done by Carl Christian Liebe, Robert Bunker, Sohrab Mobasser, Curtis Padgett, Jacob Chapsky, Gary Spiers, Randall Bartman, Michael Newell, Alexander Abramovici, Hemad Hemmati, Alejandro San Martin, Chengchih Chu, William Roberts, Malcolm Wright, James W. Dillon, Daniel S. Clouse, David M. Tratt, Zachary G. Warfield, Robert Calvet, and Robert W. Hausmann of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Electronics/ Computers category.

NPO-30887


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Lidar of Guidance of a Spacecraft or Exploratory Robot

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This article first appeared in the February, 2004 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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