The Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program (RSVP) is the software tool for use in the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission for planning rover operations and generating command sequences for accomplishing those operations. RSVP combines three-dimensional (3D) visualization for immersive exploration of the operations area, stereoscopic image display for high-resolution examination of the downlinked imagery, and a sophisticated command-sequence editing tool for analysis and completion of the sequences. RSVP is linked with actual flight-code modules for operations rehearsal to provide feedback on the expected behavior of the rover prior to committing to a particular sequence. Playback tools allow for review of both rehearsed rover behavior and downlinked results of actual rover operations. These can be displayed simultaneously for comparison of rehearsed and actual activities for verification.

The primary inputs to RSVP are downlink data products from the Operations Storage Server (OSS) and activity plans generated by the science team. The activity plans are high-level goals for the next day’s activities. The downlink data products include imagery, terrain models, and telemetered engineering data on rover activities and state. The Rover Sequence Editor (RoSE) component of RSVP performs activity expansion to command sequences, command creation and editing with setting of command parameters, and viewing and management of rover resources. The HyperDrive component of RSVP performs 2D and 3D visualization of the rover’s environment, graphical and animated review of rover-predicted and telemetered state, and creation and editing of command sequences related to mobility and Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) operations. Additionally, RoSE and HyperDrive together evaluate command sequences for potential violations of flight and safety rules. The products of RSVP include command sequences for uplink that are stored in the Distributed Object Manager (DOM) and predicted rover state histories stored in the OSS for comparison and validation of downlinked telemetry.

The majority of components comprising RSVP utilize the MER command and activity dictionaries to automatically customize the system for MER activities. Thus, RSVP, being highly data driven, may be tailored to other missions with minimal effort. In addition, RSVP uses a distributed, message-passing architecture to allow multitasking, and collaborative visualization and sequence development by scattered team members.

This tool was developed by Brian Cooper, Frank Hartman, Scott Maxwell, Jeng Yen, John Wright, and Carlos Balacuit of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online 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-30845.

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program

(reference NPO-30845) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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This article first appeared in the April, 2005 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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