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Doug Ellison

Europlanet : I'll hit that rock in one!

Posted by Doug Ellison

20-08-2007 10:11 CDT


by Doug Ellison in Potsdam

Part two of todays' afternoon session on Lunar Exploration and Robotics is about how to target a rock on Mars without having to jump through hoops to do it!

Dr David Barnes presented on the difficulties of getting a rover to reach a target, get its arm deployed and onto a science target. He didn't concede much ground in terms of the improvements to the MER software (which include systems such as 'go-and-touch') - but did explain what was true when Spirit and Opportunity first landed - that it could take as long as 3 days to identify, drive to, and deploy instruments on to a target.

He and his team at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, have been working on software that will hopefully run onboard spacecraft such as ExoMars to reduce that three-day timetable to less than a day. They worked on the software to simulated and calibrate the robotic arm for Beagle 2 - and with half a smile, he said that because it needed people in the loop so much, Beagle 2 was

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