Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science

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Overview

The Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS) system enables automated data collection by planetary rovers. AEGIS software was uploaded to the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission’s Opportunity rover in December 2009 and continues to successfully demonstrate automated onboard targeting based on scientist-specified objectives. Prior to AEGIS, images were transmitted from the rover to the operations team on Earth; scientists manually analyzed the images, selected geological targets for the rover’s remote-sensing instruments, and then generated a command sequence to execute the new measurements. AEGIS represents a significant paradigm shift — by using onboard data analysis techniques, the AEGIS software uses scientist input to select high-quality science targets with no human in the loop. This approach allows the rover to autonomously select and sequence targeted observations in an opportunistic fashion, which is particularly applicable for narrow field-of-view instruments (such as the MER Mini-TES spectrometer, the MER Panoramic camera, and the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) ChemCam spectrometer). This site provides an overview of the AEGIS automated targeting capability and describes how it is currently being used onboard the MER mission Opportunity rover.

The MER AEGIS process consists of the following major steps: 1) Navcam Acquisition, 2) Target Detection, 3) Target Feature Extraction, 4) Target Prioritization, and 5) Follow-up Pancam Acquisition.

Images

Mars imaged by Opportunity

This view results from the first observation of a target selected autonomously by a spacecraft on Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University
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Mars imaged by Opportunity

This view results from the first observation of a target selected autonomously by a spacecraft on Mars. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University
› Full image and caption

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