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During the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) landings, the descent image motion estimation system (DIMES) was used for horizontal velocity estimation. The DIMES algorithm combined measurements from a descent camera, a radar altimeter, and an inertial measurement unit. To deal with large changes in scale and orientation between descent images, the algorithm used altitude and attitude measurements to rectify images to a level ground plane. Feature selection and tracking were employed in the rectified images to compute the horizontal motion between images. Differences of consecutive motion estimates were then compared to inertial measurements to verify correct feature tracking. DIMES combined sensor data from multiple sources in a novel way to create a low-cost, robust, and computationally efficient velocity estimation solution, and DIMES was the first use of computer vision to control a spacecraft during planetary landing. This paper presents the detailed implementation of the DIMES algorithm and the results from the two landings on Mars.
Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, 2005. CVPR 2005. IEEE Computer Society Conference on (Volume:1 )
Date of Conference: 20-25 June 2005