An improved data-labeling system provides for automatic association of data products of an exploratory robot (downlink information) with previously transmitted commands (uplink information) that caused the robot to gather the data. Such association is essential to correct and timely analysis of the data products — including, for example, association of the data with the correct targets. The system was developed for use on Mars Rover missions during the next few years. The system could also be adapted to terrestrial exploratory telerobots for which delays between commands and data returns are long enough to give rise to questions as to which commands resulted in which data returns. The main advantage of this system over prior data-labeling systems is that given a downlink data product, the uplink command and sequence hierarchy that produced it are automatically provided, and given an uplink sequence and command, the downlink data products that it produced are automatically provided.

The system was demonstrated during a field test using the Field Integrated Design and Operations (FIDO) rover, which is a prototype Mars-exploration mobile robot used as an operations test bed for the NASA 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission, which is scheduled to land two rovers on Mars in early 2004. A sequence identifier is uplinked along with each sequence of commands. Aboard the rover, a command is incremented each time a command is executed, and both the sequence identifier and the current command count are downlinked along with each data product generated pursuant to the command. Thereafter, sequence identifiers and command counts are used as indices for relating commands with data products in the processing and storage of the data products and in the automated generation of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) reports. An automatically-generated HTML report system allows a user to browse through and view the resulting data products as indexed by the sequence and command hierarchy that produced them. During the downlink processing step for each data product, the uplink sequence hierarchy, i.e., command, target, macro, request, and sequence, that produced it are stored with the data product. Then operations software tools can provide this uplink sequence information with each data product. This has been implemented in the Web Interface for Telescience (WITS) rover operations tool, which has been described in prior NASA Tech Briefs articles.

This work was done by Paul Backes, Jeffrey Norris, and Mark Powell of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at under the Computers/Electronics category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-3425. Refer to NPO-30416.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Realting Downlink Data Products to Uplink Commands

(reference NPO-30416) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2003 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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