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Asteroid Modeling for Testing Spacecraft Approach and Landing

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4 Author(s)

Spacecraft exploration of asteroids presents autonomous-navigation challenges that can be aided by virtual models to test and develop guidance and hazard-avoidance systems. Researchers have extended and applied graphics techniques to create high-resolution asteroid models to simulate cameras and other spacecraft sensors approaching and descending toward asteroids. A scalable model structure with evenly spaced vertices simplifies terrain modeling, avoids distortion at the poles, and enables triangle-strip definition for efficient rendering. To create the base asteroid models, this approach uses two-phase Poisson faulting and Perlin noise. It creates realistic asteroid surfaces by adding both crater models adapted from lunar terrain simulation and multiresolution boulders. The researchers evaluated the virtual asteroids by comparing them with real asteroid images, examining the slope distributions, and applying a surface-relative feature-tracking algorithm to the models.

Published in:

Computer Graphics and Applications, IEEE  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 4 )