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Space Technology Research Grants

Autonomous Navigation for Exploration on Icy Moons

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Autonomous Navigation for Exploration on Icy Moons
The proposed program develops novel sensing, perceptual models, and energy-efficient exploration strategies to enable mobile autonomous systems to explore icy moons and identify high value science targets. The research program will yield: (1) a novel active illumination sensor that can selectively image certain types of light paths while blocking others with the capability to scan optically challenging materials such as ice; (2) a probabilistic sensor model that accurately captures sensor measurements and incorporates intensity, depth, and material information; and (3) an energy-efficient motion planning framework that yields maximally informative and energy efficient trajectories that generalize across multiple mobility platforms. Integrative experiments will validate the developments at sites in Pennsylvania that exhibit similar characteristics as the anticipated craggy, icy environments. Each field experiment will emphasize in-situ evaluation and validation of the proposed approach. More »

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