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Proceedings Paper

Achieving safe autonomous landings on Mars using vision-based approaches
Author(s): Homer H. Pien
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Paper Abstract

Autonomous landing capabilities will be critical to the success of planetary exploration missions, and in particular to the exploration of Mars. Past studies have indicated that the probability of failure associated with open-loop landings is unacceptably high. Two approaches to achieving autonomous landings with higher probabilities of success are currently under analysis. If a landing site has been certified as hazard free, then navigational aids can be used to facilitate a precision landing. When only limited surface knowledge is available and landing areas cannot be certified as hazard free, then a hazard detection and avoidance approach can be used, in which the vehicle selects hazard free landing sites in real-time during its descent. Issues pertinent to both approaches, including sensors and algorithms, are presented. Preliminary results indicate that one promising approach to achieving high accuracy precision landing is to correlate optical images of the terrain acquired during the terminal descent phase with a reference image. For hazard detection scenarios, a sensor suite comprised of a passive intensity sensor and a laser ranging sensor appears promising as a means of achieving robust landings.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 March 1992
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 1612, Cooperative Intelligent Robotics in Space II, (1 March 1992); doi: 10.1117/12.56742
Show Author Affiliations
Homer H. Pien, Charles Stark Draper Lab., Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1612:
Cooperative Intelligent Robotics in Space II
William E. Stoney, Editor(s)

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