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NASA's successful exploration of space has uncovered vast amounts of new knowledge about the Earth, the solar system and its other planets, and the stellar spaces beyond. To continue gaining new knowledge has required - and will continue to require - new capabilities in onboard processing hardware, system software, and applications such as autonomy. For example, initial robotic space exploration missions functioned, for the most part, as large flying cameras. These instruments have evolved over time to include more sophisticated imaging radar, multispectral imagers, spectrometers, gravity wave detectors, a host of prepositioned sensors and, most recently, rovers.
Date of Publication: Jan 2003