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Mars navigation system utilizes GPS

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3 Author(s)
LeMaster, E.A. ; Stanford Univ., CA, USA ; Matsuoka, M. ; Rock, S.M.

Tasks envisioned for future generation Mars rovers - sample collection, area survey, resource mining, habitat construction, etc. - will require greatly enhanced navigational capabilities over those possessed by the Mars Sojourner rover. Many of these tasks will involve cooperative efforts by multiple rovers and other agents, adding further requirements both for accuracy and commonality between users. This paper presents a new navigation system a "Self-Calibrating Pseudolite Array" (SCPA) that can provide centimeter-level, drift-free localization to multiple rovers within a local area by utilizing GPS-based transceivers deployed in a ground-based array. Such a system of localized beacons can replace or augment a system based on orbiting satellite transmitters, and is capable of fully autonomous operations and calibration. This paper describes the prototype SCPA developed at Stanford to demonstrate these capabilities and then presents results from a set of field trials performed at NASA Ames Research Center. These experiments, which utilize the K9 Mars rover research platform, validate both the navigation and self-calibration capabilities of the system. By carrying an on-board GPS transceiver, K9 was successfully able to calibrate the system using no a priori position information and localized the pseudolite beacons to under 5 cm RMS.

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 4 )