MSLICE (Mars Science Laboratory InterfaCE) is the tool used by scientists and engineers on the Mars Science Laboratory rover mission to visualize the data returned by the rover and collaboratively plan its activities. It enables users to efficiently and effectively search all mission data to find applicable products (e.g., images, targets, activity plans, sequences, etc.), view and plan the traverse of the rover in HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experi ment) images, visualize data acquired by the rover, and develop, model, and validate the activities the rover will perform. MSLICE enables users to securely contribute to the mission’s activity planning process from their home institutions using off-the-shelf laptop computers.

This software has made use of several plug-ins (software components) developed for previous missions [e.g., Mars Exploration Rover (MER), Phoenix Mars Lander (PHX)] and other technology tasks. It has a simple, intuitive, and powerful search capability. For any given mission, there is a huge amount of data and associated metadata that is generated. To help users sort through this information, MSLICE’s search interface is provided in a similar fashion as major Internet search engines.

With regard to the HiRISE visualization of the rover’s traverse, this view is a map of the mission that allows scientists to easily gauge where the rover has been and where it is likely to go. The map also provides the ability to correct or adjust the known position of the rover through the overlaying of images acquired from the rover on top of the HiRISE image. A user can then correct the rover’s position by collocating the visible features in the overlays with the same features in the underlying HiRISE image. MSLICE users can also rapidly search all mission data for images that contain a point specified by the user in another image or panoramic mosaic.

MSLICE allows the creation of targets, which provides a way for scientists to collaboratively name features on the surface of Mars. These targets can also be used to convey instrument-pointing information to the activity plan. The software allows users to develop a plan of what they would like the rover to accomplish for a given time period. When developing the plan, the user can input constraints between activities or groups of activities. MSLICE will enforce said constraints and ensure that all mission flight rules are satisfied.

This work was done by Mark W. Powell, Khawaja S. Shams, Michael N. Wallick, Jeffrey S. Norris, Joseph C. Joswig, Thomas M. Crockett, Jason M. Fox, Recaredo J. Torres of Caltech; James A. Kurien, Michael P. McCurdy, and Guy Pyrzak of NASA Ames Research Center; and Arash Aghevli and Andrew G. Bachmann of Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc. for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-45908.

Software Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2009 issue of Software Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from this issue here.

Read more articles from the archives here.