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This paper describes a system design concept to enable automated sample acquisition on planetary surfaces without the use of additional sensor information such as cameras and force/torque sensors. A simple and robust solution is presented to the unique problems encountered in in situ science applications with its tight constraints on mass, power, computing resources and lack of flight-qualified hardware. Problems addressed include end-effector contact detection, trajectory generation, hardware fault monitoring and autonomous determination of terrain profile.
Date of Conference: Oct. 29 2007-Nov. 2 2007