These notes are fragmentary but I will rework them.
First, various awards
Discussions of the rovers on Mars
- Discussion of the composition of Mars.
- Robots sent to Mars
- Software for driving not written before launch
- Parachute.. Lander too heavy. Parachute redesign.
- Airbags used as terminal velocity still 200kmh. Hard to design such that didn’t rip on rocks. Downwards pointing camera to check horizontal velocity
- Petals of rover. Flat pack rover
- Risk of rover falling over when leaving lander. Needed ramps
- Programming movement due to time lag (at least ten mins each way). Vehicle needed to be somewhat autonomous. Computer 10MIPS so slow.
- Working out driven path. Complex, wheel slip. Need to use vision. But when few features? Use own tracks, but make additional features when driving
- Getting stuck. Use spare vehicles to test. Slip checks.
- Dust devils. Dust devil recognition algorithm
- 50Mb per Martian day transfer
- Vision. Aegis. Edge detection, etc. Send minimum info to guide next day’s decisions.
- Science. Layered rocks. Indicates there was once water on Mars.
- Wheel failure at day 800 of the 90 day mission, but scratched surface and revealed science. That Mars was once, in places, wet and warm.
- Reduced power output from dust, then hot blown clean.
- Lasted 2000 days in the end.
- Looking for haemetite
- Fell into a crater, but fortuitous as saw bedrock. Sedimentary rock. Little balls of haematite… Formed in water.
- Rover lasted fourteen years. Killed by massive dust storm.
Questions from audience
- Data: 15 mb engineering data per sol
- Simulating Martian gravity? Use a lightweight version on rover
- Had to use old tech that was very reliable and radiation proved, hence not the newest tech.
- HPC to simulate vehicle? Thermal, FEA. CFD to model in atmosphere flight, but not the parachute.