Jump to content

Gloomy moonscape for rover test


Recommended Posts

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Similar Topics

    • By NASA
      6 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video
      In this time-lapse video of a test conducted at JPL in June 2023, an engineering model of the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry (PIXL) instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover places itself against a rock to collect data. NASA/JPL-Caltech Artificial intelligence is helping scientists to identify minerals within rocks studied by the Perseverance rover.
      Some scientists dream of exploring planets with “smart” spacecraft that know exactly what data to look for, where to find it, and how to analyze it. Although making that dream a reality will take time, advances made with NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover offer promising steps in that direction.
      For almost three years, the rover mission has been testing a form of artificial intelligence that seeks out minerals in the Red Planet’s rocks. This marks the first time AI has been used on Mars to make autonomous decisions based on real-time analysis of rock composition.
      PIXL, the white instrument at top left, is one of several science tools located on the end of the robotic arm aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover. The Mars rover’s left navcam took the images that make up this composite on March 2, 2021NASA/JPL-Caltech The software supports PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), a spectrometer developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. By mapping the chemical composition of minerals across a rock’s surface, PIXL allows scientists to determine whether the rock formed in conditions that could have been supportive of microbial life in Mars’ ancient past.
      Called “adaptive sampling,” the software autonomously positions the instrument close to a rock target, then looks at PIXL’s scans of the target to find minerals worth examining more deeply. It’s all done in real time, without the rover talking to mission controllers back on Earth.
      “We use PIXL’s AI to home in on key science,” said the instrument’s principal investigator, Abigail Allwood of JPL. “Without it, you’d see a hint of something interesting in the data and then need to rescan the rock to study it more. This lets PIXL reach a conclusion without humans examining the data.”
      This image of a rock target nicknamed “Thunderbolt Peak” was created by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using PIXL, which determines the mineral composition of rocks by zapping them with X-rays. Each blue dot in the image represents a spot where an X-ray hit.NASA/JPL-Caltech/DTU/QUT Data from Perseverance’s instruments, including PIXL, helps scientists determine when to drill a core of rock and seal it in a titanium metal tube so that it, along with other high-priority samples, could be brought to Earth for further study as part of NASA’s Mars Sample Return campaign.
      Adaptive sampling is not the only application of AI on Mars. About 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) from Perseverance is NASA’s Curiosity, which pioneered a form of AI that allows the rover to autonomously zap rocks with a laser based on their shape and color. Studying the gas that burns off after each laser zap reveals a rock’s chemical composition. Perseverance features this same ability, as well as a more advanced form of AI that enables it to navigate without specific direction from Earth. Both rovers still rely on dozens of engineers and scientists to plan each day’s set of hundreds of individual commands, but these digital smarts help both missions get more done in less time.
      “The idea behind PIXL’s adaptive sampling is to help scientists find the needle within a haystack of data, freeing up time and energy for them to focus on other things,” said Peter Lawson, who led the implementation of adaptive sampling before retiring from JPL. “Ultimately, it helps us gather the best science more quickly.”
      Using AI to Position PIXL
      AI assists PIXL in two ways. First, it positions the instrument just right once the instrument is in the vicinity of a rock target. Located at the end of Perseverance’s robotic arm, the spectrometer sits on six tiny robotic legs, called a hexapod. PIXL’s camera repeatedly checks the distance between the instrument and a rock target to aid with positioning.
      Temperature swings on Mars are large enough that Perseverance’s arm will expand or contract a microscopic amount, which can throw off PIXL’s aim. The hexapod automatically adjusts the instrument to get it exceptionally close without coming into contact with the rock.
      “We have to make adjustments on the scale of micrometers to get the accuracy we need,” Allwood said. “It gets close enough to the rock to raise the hairs on the back of an engineer’s neck.”
      Making a Mineral Map
      Once PIXL is in position, another AI system gets the chance to shine. PIXL scans a postage-stamp-size area of a rock, firing an X-ray beam thousands of times to create a grid of microscopic dots. Each dot reveals information about the chemical composition of the minerals present.
      Minerals are crucial to answering key questions about Mars. Depending on the rock, scientists might be on the hunt for carbonates, which hide clues to how water may have formed the rock, or they may be looking for phosphates, which could have provided nutrients for microbes, if any were present in the Martian past.
      There’s no way for scientists to know ahead of time which of the hundreds of X-ray zaps will turn up a particular mineral, but when the instrument finds certain minerals, it can automatically stop to gather more data — an action called a “long dwell.” As the system improves through machine learning, the list of minerals on which PIXL can focus with a long dwell is growing.
      “PIXL is kind of a Swiss army knife in that it can be configured depending on what the scientists are looking for at a given time,” said JPL’s David Thompson, who helped develop the software. “Mars is a great place to test out AI since we have regular communications each day, giving us a chance to make tweaks along the way.”
      When future missions travel deeper into the solar system, they’ll be out of contact longer than missions currently are on Mars. That’s why there is strong interest in developing more autonomy for missions as they rove and conduct science for the benefit of humanity.
      More About the Mission
      A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
      Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.
      The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.
      JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.
      For more about Perseverance:
      mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/
      News Media Contacts
      Andrew Good
      Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
      818-393-2433
      andrew.c.good@jpl.nasa.gov
      Karen Fox / Alana Johnson
      NASA Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600 / 202-358-1501
      karen.c.fox@nasa.gov / alana.r.johnson@nasa.gov
      2024-099
      Share
      Details
      Last Updated Jul 16, 2024 Related Terms
      Perseverance (Rover) Astrobiology High-Tech Computing Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Mars 2020 Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) Robotics Science-enabling Technology Explore More
      1 min read NASA Science Activation Teams Present at National Rural STEM Summit
      NASA Science Activation (SciAct) teams participated in the National Rural STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, &…
      Article 2 weeks ago 4 min read NASA’s Planetary Radar Tracks Two Large Asteroid Close Approaches
      Article 2 weeks ago 3 min read NASA’s ECOSTRESS Maps Burn Risk Across Phoenix Streets
      Article 2 weeks ago Keep Exploring Discover Related Topics
      Missions
      Humans in Space
      Climate Change
      Solar System
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft, with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams aboard, approaches the International Space Station for an autonomous docking as it orbited 257 miles above the South Pacific Ocean. Leadership from NASA and Boeing will participate in a media briefing at 12:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 10, to discuss the agency’s Crew Flight Test at the International Space Station.
      Audio of the media teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website:
      https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
      Participants include:
      Steve Stich, manager, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager, Commercial Crew Program, Boeing Media interested in participating must contact the newsroom at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida no later than one hour prior to the start of the call at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov. A copy of NASA’s media accreditation policy is online.
      NASA and Boeing continue to evaluate Starliner’s propulsion system performance and five small helium leaks in the spacecraft’s service module, gathering as much data as possible while docked to the International Space Station. Once all the necessary ground testing and associated data analysis is complete, leaders from NASA and Boeing will conduct an agency-level review before returning from the orbiting complex.
      As part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams lifted off on June 5, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on an end-to-end test of the Starliner system. The crew docked to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module on June 6.
      Since their arrival on June 6, Wilmore and Williams have completed half of all hands-on research time conducted aboard the space station, allowing their crewmates to prepare for the departure of Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft. NASA also will hold an Earth to space news conference at 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 10, with the Crew Flight Test astronauts to discuss the mission.
      NASA’s Commercial Crew Program is delivering on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry. This partnership is opening access to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, science, and commercial opportunities. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon under Artemis, and ultimately, to Mars.
      For NASA’s blog and more information about the mission, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew
      -end-
      Josh Finch / Jimi Russell
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / james.j.russell@nasa.gov
      Steve Siceloff / Danielle Sempsrott / Stephanie Plucinsky
      Kennedy Space Center, Florida
      321-867-2468
      steven.p.siceloff@nasa.gov / danielle.c.sempsrott@nasa.gov / stephanie.n.plucinsky@nasa.gov
      Leah Cheshier / Sandra Jones
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      leah.d.cheshier@nasa.gov / sandra.p.jones@nasa.gov
      View the full article
    • By SpaceX
      Starship | Fourth Flight Test
    • By European Space Agency
      Image: Eye test for lunar impact surveyor View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts (from top) Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams inside the vestibule between the forward port on the International Space Station’s Harmony module and the Starliner spacecraft (Credits: NASA). Media are invited to hear from NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test astronauts discussing their mission during an Earth to space call at 11 a.m. EDT Wednesday, July 10. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams will participate in the news conference from aboard the International Space Station in low Earth orbit.
      NASA will stream the event on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.
      Media interested in participating must RSVP no later than 5 p.m., Tuesday, July 9, to the newsroom at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston at 281-483-5111 or jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov. To ask questions, reporters must dial into the news conference no later than 10 minutes before the start of the call.
      Wilmore and Williams have been living and working aboard the station since docking on June 6, contributing to the expedition crew’s research and maintenance activities, while helping ground teams collect critical data for long-duration Starliner flights to the orbiting complex.
      Learn more about space station operations at:
      https://www.nasa.gov/station
      -end-
      Josh Finch / Jimi Russell
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / james.j.russell@nasa.gov
      Courtney Beasley
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      courtney.m.beasley@nasa.gov
      View the full article
  • Check out these Videos

×
×
  • Create New...