The New Millennium Program Space Technology 6 Project Autonomous Sciencecraft software implements an integrated system for autonomous planning and execution of scientific, engineering, and spacecraft- coordination actions. A prior version of this software was reported in "The TechSat 21 Autonomous Sciencecraft Experiment" (NPO-30784), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 28, No. 3 (March 2004), page 33. This software is now in continuous use aboard the Earth Orbiter 1 (EO-1) spacecraft mission and is being adapted for use in the Mars Odyssey and Mars Exploration Rovers missions. This software enables EO-1 to detect and respond to such events of scientific interest as volcanic activity, flooding, and freezing and thawing of water. It uses classification algorithms to analyze imagery onboard to detect changes, including events of scientific interest. Detection of such events triggers acquisition of follow-up imagery. The mission-planning component of the software develops a response plan that accounts for visibility of targets and operational constraints. The plan is then executed under control by a task-execution component of the software that is capable of responding to anomalies.

This program was written by Steve Chien, Robert Sherwood, Daniel Tran, Benjamin Cichy, Ashley Davies, Rebecca Castaño, Gregg Rabideau, Stuart Frye, Bruce Trout, Seth Shulman, Thomas Doggett, Felipe Ip, Ron Greeley, Victor Baker, James Dohn, and Darrell Boyer of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line at under the Software category.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393-2827. Refer to NPO-41993.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Integrated System for Autonomous Science

(reference NPO-41993) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

Don't have an account? Sign up here.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2006 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.