A report provides additional information about two major sub- systems of the software system described in “Software for Ground Operations for a Prototype Mars Rover” (NPO-21235), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 25, No. 11 (November 2001), page 46. The software system 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 addressed in the report are the Web Interface for Telescience (WITS) and the Multi-mission Encrypted Communication System (MECS). The WITS (aspects of which have been described in several prior NASA Tech Briefs articles) displays information downlinked from the rover (principally, images from several rover cameras) along with alphanumeric data and annotations registered with terrain features. The MECS enables secure communication between a primary terrestrial operations center and geographically distributed, Internet-based users. The emphasis in the report is on the capability, afforded by the WITS and the MECS acting together, to enable geographically dispersed users to communicate with each other and to collaborate in the generation of a sequence of commands to be uplinked to the rover.
This work was done by Jeffrey Norris and Paul Backes of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.