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Proceedings Paper

Computational experiments on super-resolution enhancement of flash lidar data
Author(s): Alexander Bulyshev; Glenn Hines; Michael Vanek; Farzin Amzajerdian; Robert Reisee; Diego Pierrottet
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Paper Abstract

In this paper a new image processing technique for flash LIDAR data is presented as a potential tool to enable safe and precise spacecraft landings in future robotic or crewed lunar and planetary missions. Flash LIDARs can generate, in real-time, range data that can be interpreted as a 3-dimensional (3-D) image and transformed into a corresponding digital elevation map (DEM). The NASA Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance (ALHAT) project is capitalizing on this new technology by developing, testing and analyzing flash LIDARs to detect hazardous terrain features such as craters, rocks, and slopes during the descent phase of spacecraft landings. Using a flash LIDAR for this application looks very promising, however through theoretical and simulation analysis the ALHAT team has determined that a single frame, or mosaic, of flash LIDAR data may not be sufficient to build a landing site DEM with acceptable spatial resolution, precision, size, or for a mosaic, in time, to meet current system requirements. One way to overcome this potential limitation is by enhancing the flash LIDAR output images. We propose a new super-resolution algorithm applicable to flash LIDAR range data that will create a DEM with sufficient accuracy, precision and size to meet current ALHAT requirements. The performance of our super-resolution algorithm is analyzed by processing data generated during a series of simulation runs by a high fidelity model of a flash LIDAR imaging a high resolution synthetic lunar elevation map. The flash LIDAR model is attached to a simulated spacecraft by a gimbal that points the LIDAR to a target landing site. For each simulation run, a sequence of flash LIDAR frames is recorded and processed as the spacecraft descends toward the landing site. Each run has a different trajectory profile with varying LIDAR look angles of the terrain. We process the output LIDAR frames using our SR algorithm and the results show that the achieved level of accuracy and precision of the SR generated landing site DEM is more than adequate for detecting hazardous terrain features and identifying safe areas.

Paper Details

Date Published: 7 May 2010
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 7684, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XV, 76840O (7 May 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.853194
Show Author Affiliations
Alexander Bulyshev, Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc. (United States)
Glenn Hines, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Michael Vanek, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Farzin Amzajerdian, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Robert Reisee, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Diego Pierrottet, Coherent Applications, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7684:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications XV
Monte D. Turner; Gary W. Kamerman, Editor(s)

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