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Overview: Precision landing/hazard avoidance concepts and MEMS technology insertion for human Mars lander missions

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5 Author(s)
Benjamin, A.L. ; NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, USA ; Bolen, S.M. ; Smit, G.N. ; Cuseo, J.A.
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Recent images from the Hubble Space Telescope offer conclusive evidence that the presence of clouds and dust storms can impair hazard detection and pose a threat to safe landing of planetary exploration spacecraft. It is also well documented that current technology and planetary landing methodologies that use the Deep Space Network (DSN) are inadequate to support all human Mars mission phases. The Mars Pathfinder 98 mission design produced landing errors in excess of 150 kilometers. Revolutionary concepts and technologies will need to be explored, developed, and incorporated to meet the challenges of the Human Mars Exploration Initiative Program. A stringent navigation accuracy requirement for the human Mars mission is to land autonomously in a small footprint free of surface hazards. The safety and survivability of the landing spacecraft depend on selecting safe landing sites, precisely targeting the lander, and performing terminal guidance for pin-point landing. Human lander missions to Mars will require highly accurate and precise landing of crew and equipment to successfully achieve the desired scientific objectives. Split mission deployment and the desire to land close to sites with scientific value will drive precision landing technology needs. This paper presents precision landing concepts, candidate approaches, and a technology development plan. It also identifies high payoff avionic technology development needs including micro/nano satellites, advanced sensors, and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)

Published in:

Digital Avionics Systems Conference, 1997. 16th DASC., AIAA/IEEE  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

26-30 Oct 1997

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