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Human Research Program

Enhancement of Spatial Orientation Capability of Astronauts on the Lunar Surface

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The achievements over the third year have fulfilled the designated tasks in the proposal. 1. Data processing and sensor integration Based on the integrated sensor network established in the second year, we improved the approaches for processing and integrating spatial data and for turning the vast amount of data from the sensor network into spatial-orientation information usable by lunar astronauts in real-time scenarios. First, we improved the efficiency of the LASOIS software to collect and process data and display the spatial information in real time. Second, we improved the robustness of the vision-tracking algorithm. The situation where the vision system may lose its feature tracking ability was investigated and resolved. In addition, the sampling rate of the vision-sensor system was reduced for computational efficiency. Third, we studied a star-tracking technology for obtaining location and orientation information for astronaut navigation in emergency situations; several experiments were conducted to evaluate the performance of this star-tracking technology. Fourth, we developed an approach for locating and orienting the astronaut at the beginning of an EVA using geographic landmarks. Fifth, the psychological and cognitive influences on spatial orientation and navigation were studied and tested in field experiments. 2. Development and evaluation of the third LASOIS prototype First, we miniaturized the hardware system and optimized the placement of the instruments. Compared with the configuration of Prototype 2, the hardware system weighed less and took up less space when mounted on the suit. More importantly, the current configuration is more efficient for operations, allowing for real-time control on an arm-mounted display unit. Second, a seven-inch audiovisual display was developed to display the spatial information to the astronaut in real time. Third, we determined what spatial information to display on the interface according to results from multiple field experiments: these include optimal path (automated routing), current heading and trajectory, path deviation intensity (in different colors), time elapsed and remaining (oxygen supply simulation), distance to waypoints, and final target. 3. Field tests, database construction and management, training, and reporting A set of tests of the LASOIS prototype Version 3.0 were performed on the Ohio State University (OSU) campus and at Haleakala National Park in Hawaii in 2011. The volcanic formation of this national park forms an environment similar to the lunar surface. In addition, experiments were performed in Cesar E. Chavez Park, Berkeley, CA to test the interface displaying spatial information. A spatial database at our test sites (including indoor and outdoor sites on the OSU campus as well as analog field test sites) has been constructed including high-resolution satellite images, ground images and videos, measurements from multi-sensors, and ground truth measured by GPS and field survey. More »

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.