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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Autonomous Selection of Mars Laser Targets

An example of autonomy for a complex system.  Here the Curiosity Rover on Mars.   At one level this is similar to closed loop process control, but with more complex sensor analysis being done in that loop.  

Assume this increases accuracy, speed in going through analysis goals ... and even decreases targeting labor required to enact,  thus decreasing cost.     So is  closed loop process control we did in manufacturing, though the adjustments here appear to start to arise to the strategic.   Article and image examples:

From the Jet Propulsion Lab: 
  " .... NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is now selecting rock targets for its laser spectrometer -- the first time autonomous target selection is available for an instrument of this kind on any robotic planetary mission.

Using software developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, Curiosity is now frequently choosing multiple targets per week for a laser and a telescopic camera that are parts of the rover's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument. Most ChemCam targets are still selected by scientists discussing rocks or soil seen in images the rover has sent to Earth, but the autonomous targeting adds a new capability. ... "

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