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Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2000 IEEE

Date 25-25 March 2000

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  • 2000 IEEE Aerospace Conference [front matter]

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 0_1 - xxviii
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  • Aerobots in planetary exploration

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 547 - 555 vol.7
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    Robotic balloons (aerobots) may significantly change the future of in situ planetary exploration. On Mars, the aerobots can fill the gap in resolution/coverage between the orbiters and rovers. Powered aerobots (airships) can make controlled global flights for high-resolution radar, visible, infrared, thermal, magnetic, and neutron mapping; they can be used for deployment of network of surface stations. Tethered balloons could provide ultra high-resolution imaging of local areas for navigation of rovers and data relay to the main lander station. Solar-heated balloons could be used as low atmospheric decelerators for low-speed landing. In the more distant future the airships could be used for human transportation. On Venus, aerobots may serve as the scientific platforms for the in situ atmospheric measurement and for study of atmospheric circulation. They can be used to drop imaging and deep sounding probes at sites of interest and to acquire and relay high-rate imaging data. Balloons technology is enabling for any Venus surface sample return mission. On Titan, powered aerobots can perform long duration low-altitude global flight for surface mapping, in situ atmospheric measurements, deployment of landers and rovers for in situ surface studies. Aerobots can also be used for long-duration atmospheric studies of the outer planets. Aerobot technologies have become more mature in recent years due to progress in development of envelope materials, and envelope design driven primarily by stratospheric applications. Technologies for deployment and inflation, navigation, control, communication and power are also developing rapidly in response to planetary applications View full abstract»

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  • Low-cost robotics for space exploration: a probabilistic trade space for biomorphic exploration devices

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 567 - 571 vol.7
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    Numerous in-situ sampling missions are planned to a variety of planets, moons, asteroids, and comets. Among the variety of new technologies needed for such exploration are small, highly mobile, autonomous and relatively inexpensive platforms known as biomorphic explorers. These miniaturized robotic devices will be particularly valuable for study and exploration of the surfaces of planets, moons, and small bodies. Large numbers of small, dexterous explorers could seek out and deploy sensors in places not accessible by larger rover vehicles or landers. The low cost of such microdevices would also enable the exploration of heretofore high-risk and dangerous landing sites excluded by large, more expensive systems. This paper addresses the problem of determining the tradeoff space between the likelihood of each device achieving its stated science goal and the number of units needed to obtain the minimum required mission probability of success. Probabilistically, to a first order, the paper addresses the question, “if the probability of a single unit achieving its goal is x%, what is the required number of units to achieve 95% probability of mission success?” The impacts of cost are discussed using a linear fixed and variable cost model to derive the optimum number of units for deployment. The issues relevant to the analysis and deployment of multiple, low cost, microelectronic and electromechanical devices (MEMs) biomorphic explorers and the corresponding risks are also presented. A simple decision tree is presented with a parametric cost model to illustrate the potential to address risk and cost trade-offs. Three-dimensional visualizations of the probabilistic trade space are presented to illustrate these issues View full abstract»

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  • Pseudolite augmented navigation for GEO communication satellite collocation

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 89 - 98 vol.7
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    This paper presents some of the technical and economic incentives for developing satellite communication systems based on clusters of spacecraft located in a single GEO orbit slot. Collocating multiple satellites in the same slot will require improved techniques for relative vehicle sensing of both position and velocity. Current ground based tracking of satellite positions requires a high level of ground operations support to provide this information, a burden which will become unmanageable as the number of GEO satellites increases in the future. As a result, autonomous navigation of GEO orbiting satellites has become highly desirable, and GPS ranging measurements are a key enabling technology for achieving this goal. Two different methods for augmenting the GPS constellation with additional ranging measurements are examined in this paper. One method is based on placing ground-based pseudolite transmitters at widely separated locations on the Earth to provide constantly visible ranging signals to the GEO satellite. The second method uses pseudolite transmitters onboard each satellite in the GEO cluster to directly measure the relative spacecraft range and range rate. Results from a simulation study of the relative position and velocity determination performance of these two methods are compared with the performance using measurements from the unaugmented NAVSTAR satellites. Also, the benefits and drawbacks of these two methods, in terms of cost and potential for interference, are briefly addressed View full abstract»

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  • Development of a radiation hardened 2 GHz acquisition system for space

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 557 - 565 vol.7
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    This paper presents a radiation hardened digital oscilloscope tailored for space applications. The waveform capture system (WCS) was designed as a data acquisition system for a time of flight instrument on the European Rosetta cometary mission. The WCS is a radiation hardened low power, single board solution, providing 11 bits of accuracy, sub-nanosecond resolution, and complete command and data handling. This paper details the design and evolution of the WCS, as well as presenting results from recent testing of the engineering qualification module with the time of flight instrument View full abstract»

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  • Large area sail design concepts

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 447 - 456 vol.7
    Cited by:  Patents (1)
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    Mission concepts to several hundred AU and beyond are under study at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The preliminary results of these mission studies have identified solar sails as one of the promising propulsion technologies for making these ambitious precursor and interstellar missions a reality. This paper presents solar and beamed energy sail design concepts to achieve the performance requirements identified in preliminary interstellar exploration technology roadmaps which include nearer-term interstellar precursor missions to several hundred AU and beamed power missions to Alpha Centauri and beyond. The baseline solar sail design for an interstellar probe (ISP) mission to the near-interstellar medium assumes an areal density of 1g/m2 (including film and structure), and a diameter of ~410 m. Missions to the stars will require very large sails with areal densities approaching 0.1 g/m2 View full abstract»

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  • Hard-real-time resource management for autonomous spacecraft

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 673 - 677 vol.7
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    This paper describes tickets, a computational mechanism for hard-real-time autonomous resource management. Autonomous spacecraft control can be considered abstractly as a computational process whose outputs are spacecraft commands. In order to make the engineering of such systems tractable, these computations an usually organized as multiple parallel threads of control. It is sometimes necessary, particularly in emergency situations, for one thread of control not only to issue certain commands, but to actively prevent the issuing of other commands by other threads of control. Tickets are software objects that act as intermediaries between control processes and low-level commands. In order to gain access to a low-level command a control process must be in possession of a valid ticket for that command. Tickets can be invalidated in constant time. This allows hard-real-time guarantees of performance for denying access to a particular low-level command or set of commands View full abstract»

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  • Issues in control of space membrane/inflatable structures

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 411 - 414 vol.7
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    Membrane/inflatable structures for space applications hold great promise. Their reduced launch mass and stowed volume suggests the possibility of large aperture antenna and reflectors for increased resolution, and solar sails and shades that can span great distances. However, their extreme flexibility provides for significant challenge with regard to the control of their deployment and shape. This paper reviews many of the issues involved with the control of membrane/inflatables for space applications, and suggests directions for future research activities View full abstract»

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  • ALFA: a constellation mission for low frequency radioastronomy

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 1 - 8 vol.7
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    The ALFA mission is proposed to be the first astronomical observatory to make high-resolution radio images in the vast region of the electromagnetic spectrum below Earth's ionospheric cutoff between 30 kHz and 30 MHz. The ALFA imaging interferometer consists of 16 identical small satellites with dipole antennas and low frequency radio receivers, distributed in a spherical array 100 km in diameter, yielding images with thousands of times the resolution previously available in this frequency range. The array will be placed in a nearly circular distant retrograde orbit about the Earth, with a typical range of 106 km. Each satellite communicates directly with a small (11 m.), low-cost antenna at each DSN site, providing parallel data paths and continuous coverage. As a result, the array is resilient to individual satellite failures; observing by the rest of the array will be unaffected View full abstract»

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  • The ALFA constellation communications and navigation support system

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 177 - 184 vol.7
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    The proposed ALFA space-based imaging interferometer mission consists of 16 identical small satellites with dipole antennas and low frequency radio receivers, distributed in a spherical array 100 km in diameter, and placed in a nearly circular distant retrograde orbit about the Earth, with a typical range of 106 km. Each satellite communicates directly with a small (11 m), low-cost antenna at each DSN site, providing parallel data paths and continuous coverage. The mission communications and navigation support system consists of an X-band frequency division multiplex (FDM) TT&C segment that uses a common 50 bps uplink channel and 17 downlink channels of 500 kbps each. The TT&C segment supports noncoherent precision Doppler ranging. Intersatellite ranging in the navigation support subsystem is accomplished by using the common four tone ranging technique over a UHF channel in the ISM (Industrial Scientific Medical) band View full abstract»

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  • Attitude determination of small spinning spacecraft using three axis magnetometer and solar panels data

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 127 - 133 vol.7
    Cited by:  Papers (1)  |  Patents (1)
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    An algorithm for attitude determination of a spinning spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit using three axis magnetometer and solar panels data is proposed. With this algorithm, the solar panels necessary for power generation are also used as a sensing system for attitude determination. The algorithm employs voltage, current and temperature measurements from all of the solar panels to reconstruct the sun direction, which is based on an accurate solar panels mathematical model and requires some data filtering, according to the motion of spinning spacecraft. The sun direction determination accuracy is improved by exploiting a known relationship between sun and magnetic field motion in the spacecraft reference frame. It is shown, by numerical simulation, that the spacecraft attitude can be determined within a few degrees of accuracy in a reasonable time (on the order of one min), which is usually adequate for small, low cost, missions View full abstract»

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  • Trade study of penetration and sampling devices for possible use on the Mars Sample Return missions

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 573 - 582 vol.7
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    This paper reviews the work completed on the compilation of a database containing viable penetrating and sampling devices, the performance of a system level trade study comparing selected devices to a set of prescribed parameters and the employment of a metric for the evaluation and ranking of the traded penetration and sampling devices, with respect to possible usage on the 03 and 05 Mars Sample Return missions. The trade study performed is based on a select set of scientific, engineering, programmatic and socio-political criteria. The use of a metric for the various penetration and sampling devices will act to expedite current and future device selection. Three sets of weights and scorings were developed to represent the application of loose requirements, tight requirements and actual conditions. Five alternative lander based sampling system concepts, including the current Mars Sample Return baseline, were evaluated based on the developed criteria and three sets of weights/scorings. It was found that the optimal lander based sampling system for the set of weights/scorings representing actual conditions, was the current Mars Sample Return baseline, due to the no cost condition, from NASA's perspective. However, if this condition is not met, the optimal sampling system may change, based on the selected criteria and weights. This is important in the event that an alternative is required to the current lander based sample acquisition baseline system View full abstract»

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  • A reusable state-based guidance, navigation and control architecture for planetary missions

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 269 - 275 vol.7
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    JPL has embarked on the Mission Data System (MDS) project to produce a reusable, integrated flight and ground software architecture. This architecture will then be adapted by future JPL planetary projects to form the basis of their flight and ground software. The architecture is based on identifying the states of the system under consideration. States include aspects of the system that must be controlled to accomplish mission objectives, as well as aspects that are uncontrollable but must be known. The architecture identifies methods to measure, estimate, model, and control some of these states. Some states are controlled by goals, and the natural hierarchy of the system is employed by recursively elaborating goals until primitive control actions are reached. Fault tolerance emerges naturally from this architecture. Failures are detected as discrepancies between state and model-based predictions of state. Fault responses are handled either by re-elaboration of goals, or by failures of goals invoking re-elaboration at higher levels. Failure modes an modelled as possible behaviors of the system, with corresponding state estimation processes. Architectural patterns are defined for concepts such as states, goals, and measurements. Aspects of state are captured in a state-analysis database. UML is used to capture mission requirements as Use Cases and Scenarios. Application of the state-based concepts to specific states is also captured in UML, achieving architectural consistency by adapting base classes for all architectural patterns View full abstract»

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  • New horizons in solar system exploration

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 323 - 328 vol.7
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    A revised and updated roadmap for the exploration of the solar system contains mission recommendations and has been provided as input to the NASA Office of Space Science strategic planning process. The recommended missions will continue the program's emphasis on understanding the origin and possible existence of life in the solar system. Missions are summarized as components of four exploration programs, three of which an continuing and one of which is a recommended new program. Key capabilities required for these new missions are also identified View full abstract»

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  • Wireless integrated network sensors (WINS): distributed in situ sensing for mission and flight systems

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 459 - 463 vol.7
    Cited by:  Papers (7)  |  Patents (17)
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    Wireless Integrated Network Sensors (WINS) form a new distributed information technology of combined sensor, actuator, and processing systems. WINS distributed nodes form autonomous, self-organized, wireless sensing and control networks. WINS nodes include microsensors, signal processing, computation and low power wireless networking. WINS enable distributed measurements for applications ranging from aerospace system condition monitoring to distributed environmental science monitoring. This paper will discuss the enabling technology advances of WINS for mission and flight system in situ sensing. This will include the complete set of technologies, from new MEMS devices through information technology. Finally, a new WINS generation, GlobalWINS, will be described. GlobalWINS has been developed for planetary-wide distribution of science instruments View full abstract»

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  • Hypothesis generation strategies for adaptive problem solving [spacecraft mission control]

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 641 - 648 vol.7
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    Proposed missions to explore comets and moons will encounter environments that are hostile and unpredictable. Any successful explorer must be able to adapt to a wide range of possible operating conditions in order to survive. The traditional approach of constructing special-purpose control methods would require information about the environment, which is not available a priori for these missions. An alternate approach is to utilize a general control approach with significant capability to adapt its behavior, a so called adaptive problem-solving methodology. Using adaptive problem-solving, a spacecraft can use reinforcement learning to adapt an environment-specific search strategy given the craft's general problem solver with a flexible control architecture. The resulting methods would enable the spacecraft to increase its performance with respect to the probability of survival and mission goals. We discuss an application of this approach to learning control strategies in planning and scheduling for three space mission models: Space Technologies 4, a Mars Rover, and Earth Observer One View full abstract»

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  • Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor (MVACS)

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 501 - 504 vol.7
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    The Mars Volatiles and Climate Surveyor (MVACS) is an integrated payload on the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) launched on January 3, 1999. The MPL will land on Mars on December 3, 1999. MVACS consists of Surface Stereo Imager (SSI), Robotic Arm (RA) including Robotic Arm Camera (RAC), Meteorology Package (MET) and Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA). The major science objective of MVACS is to study where the Mars volatiles are now and what determines the behavior of Mars volatiles over time. The MVACS will accomplish most science activities during 3 months primary mission and will conduct an extended mission if the Lander continues to function View full abstract»

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  • Behavior-based control systems for planetary autonomous robot outposts

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 679 - 686 vol.7
    Cited by:  Papers (3)
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    Current NASA studies are examining opportunities for the deployment of robot colonies or outposts on planetary surfaces within the solar system in the first few decades of the 21st century. This paper presents the results of some ongoing work in the Planetary Robotics Laboratory at JPL in the area of behavior-based control for cooperative multi-robot systems for a planetary robot outpost. We have recently developed a behavior-based system called BISMARC (Biologically Inspired System for Map-based Autonomous Rover Control) that uses a free flow hierarchy for its action selection mechanism. We report the results of numerous simulation studies of complicated multiple rover missions View full abstract»

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  • The Big Occulting Steerable Satellite (BOSS)

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 403 - 410 vol.7
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    The Big Occulting Steerable Satellite (BOSS) is a concept for a mission to improve the high contrast and high resolution capabilities of the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST). The objective of BOSS is to facilitate the separation of dim objects (such as planets) from nearby bright objects (such as stars) by occulting the bright source, and to improve the resolution of closely spaced objects of comparable brightness (e.g., binary stars, microlensing events, etc.) by slowly transiting the source. The authors describe the current design of the BOSS, its optical performance: and the outstanding technical issues. They show how NGST in conjunction with BOSS could detect Earth-like planets out to at least 5 pc, and Jovian planets well beyond 10 pc View full abstract»

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  • Discoverer II: a space architecture for information dominance

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 9 - 17 vol.7
    Cited by:  Papers (1)
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    Discoverer II is a space-based SAR, GMTI and DTED demonstration expected to launch in mid FY04. It is a risk reduction effort on the path to a global constellation of similar radar surveillance satellites that will provide near instantaneous access to and constant surveillance of Areas of Interest almost anywhere on the globe. Like the ubiquitous surveillance camera at the local Quickmart, always monitoring the store and its occupants, a system such as Discoverer II can constantly monitor fixed and moving objects of interest in all weather, anytime and anyplace. The omnipresence of such a capability has the fundamental capacity to change how our adversaries behave and to fundamentally alter how the US will react to threats to our national security. On the battlefield, the information provided by this omnipresent God's eye view will enable precision maneuver and strike. Constant surveillance allows the battlefield commander to understand an adversary's intentions and neutralize them before they place US forces in harm's way. The precision strike that a Discoverer II system brings to the battlefield enables smaller and more mobile forces with an accompanying reduction in logistics. The information dominance it provides embodies the tenets of Joint Vision 2010 and helps make it a reality. Knowledge is power View full abstract»

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  • Titech micro-satellite model: CanSat for sub-orbital flight

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 135 - 142 vol.7
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    We had the opportunity to launch prototype CanSats, small satellites the size of a soft drink can, on an amateur rocket in September 1999 (ARLISS: A Rocket Launched International Student Satellites). We developed four CanSats for ARLISS: CanSat Type1 and Type2 missions are experiments of two different types of mechanisms for tether applications, CanSat Type3, is a communications and electronic devices test satellite, and CanSat Type4 is equipped with CCD camera and transmits video images. The development period is less than 5 months. In this paper, we describe 4 CanSats missions, subsystem designs including the ground station and the results of ARLISS experiments View full abstract»

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  • Technology selection and validation: new millennium flight projects

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 583 - 596 vol.7
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    NASA's New Millennium Program (NMP) was created to accelerate the insertion of advanced space-related technologies into future science missions by validating these technologies on deep space and Earth-orbiting technology validation missions. The process by which technologies are chosen for validation on NMP flights is complex, because many factors have to be considered. This paper describes the currently approved NMP flight projects and the processes used to select and validate their associated technologies. In addition, the processes being developed to select and validate technologies for future NMP flight projects and the relationships of these processes to NASA technology and science roadmaps are described View full abstract»

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  • Machine vision for autonomous small body navigation

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 661 - 671 vol.7
    Cited by:  Papers (6)
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    This paper describes machine vision algorithms that enable precision guidance and hazard avoidance during small body exploration through onboard visual feature tracking and landmark recognition. These algorithms provide estimates of spacecraft relative motion and absolute position used to guide the spacecraft during autonomous landing and exploration. They also enable hazard avoidance by providing estimates of 3-D surface topography through processing of monocular image streams. This form of onboard autonomy is a critical enabling technology for multiple future missions including Comet Nucleus Sample Return, Large Asteroid Sample Return, Titan Organics Explorer and Europa Lander and Mars lander missions View full abstract»

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  • Extreme electronics for in situ robotic/sensing systems

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 539 - 546 vol.7
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    NASA's desire to study and characterize the solar system and small bodies like comets and asteroids will be done by in situ robotic systems in the near term. Work has already begun on the design of Mars and Europa mole penetrators, ultrasonic coring systems for Venus, and corers for comet nucleus sampling. Along with these in situ sampling systems come miniature science instruments that allow samples to be imaged microscopically, or sensor suites that break down and examine the chemical composition and DNA of samples. Both sample acquisition and instruments will be exposed to extreme radiation, temperatures, corrosion, or pressures. This paper describes these intended extreme mission environments, and discusses technologies being developed to enable systems to operate in extreme conditions View full abstract»

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  • Venus sample return. A hot topic

    Publication Year: 2000 , Page(s): 473 - 484 vol.7
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    Within the Solar System, Venus presents a set of unique challenges to obtaining samples and returning them to Earth. High temperatures, a thick corrosive atmosphere and poorly characterized terrain are some obvious examples. Our only knowledge of the surface and atmosphere is from Radar images and the data from Soviet probes. A point design now exists for a single launch mission to return Venusian samples massing about 100 g. This paper discusses this mission, addressing the science return, how some of Venus' attributes can be used to advantage and what technologies will be needed to make this mission a reality. It also explores possible future directions to make the mission more affordable View full abstract»

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