Multi-Rover Integrated Science Understanding System (MISUS) is a computer program designed to coordinate the activities of multiple small, instrumented robotic vehicles (rovers) engaged in autonomous scientific exploration of the surface of Mars. MISUS includes a component that utilizes machine-learning clustering methods to analyze scientific data (principally, image and spectral features of rocks) and, on the basis of analyses, to select new scientific activities. MISUS also includes a distributed-planning-and-scheduling component that determines the rover activities needed to achieve scientific goals, partly on the basis of initial rover conditions and an input set of goals. Plans are updated on the basis of the results of the scientific analyses and current information on the execution of commands and utilization of resources. Planning is distributed among the individual rovers, each rover being responsible for planning its own activities. A central planning system is responsible for dividing up the goals among the individual rovers in a fashion that minimizes the total time of traversal of all rovers. The software as described thus far is also integrated with a simulation program that simulates multiple-rover scientific operations on Mars-like terrain.

This program was written by Tara Estlin, Alexander Gray, Darren Mutz, Ashley Davies, Eric Mjolsness, Gregg Rabideau, John Lou, Rebecca Castaño, Steve Chien, and Tobias Mann of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Don Hart of the California Institute of Technology at (818) 393- 3425. Refer to NPO-30201.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Software for Scientific Exploration by Multiple Rovers

(reference NPO-30201) 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 September, 2002 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.