A software system has been developed for use in Earth operations centers communicating with a robotic exploratory vehicle (rover) on Mars. The software was designed for and field-tested on the Field Integrated Design and Operations rover — a prototype similar to rovers of the planned 2003 Mars Explorer Rover mission. The software subsystems and their functions include the following: (1) The Parallel Telemetry Processing (PTeP) system processes downlink data and stores data products in a database. (2) The Multi-mission Encrypted Communication System (MECS) provides communication between a primary terrestrial operations center and geographically distributed, Internet-based users. (3) The Web Interface for Telescience [WITS (aspects of which have been described in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles)] displays information downlinked from the rover — video images from several rover cameras and alphanumeric data. Data are coregistered, and uplink targets are coregistered with downlink data. The WITS enables geographically dispersed users to collaborate in the generation of a sequence of commands to be uplinked to the rover, assisting the collaboration by analyzing resources, checking for adherence to rules, automatically correcting errors in the sequence, and predicting (through simulation) the states of the rover at various points in the sequence.

This program was written by Paul Backes and Jeffrey Norris of Caltech for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free on-line atwww.nasatech.com/tsp  under the Software category.


This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Software for Ground Operations for a Prototype Mars Rover

(reference NPO-21235) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2001 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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