Mission to Mars: robotics

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Mission to Mars: robotics

Mission to Mars:Robotics

Communicating and Maneuvering Curiosity

NASA Deep Space Network NASA's international array of giant radio antennas. It supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and some that orbit earth. Telemetry data is transmitted to earth through radio signals from spacecraft. The DSN acquires, processes, decodes, and distributes the data. Spacecraft Command are commands that are sent to robotic probes as coded computer files which the craft executes in a series of actions. Tracking provides two-way communication between Earth-based equipment and a spacecraft. Radio Science uses radio signals from Earth to the spacecraft by some space missions to perform science experiments.

Rover AntennaeLow-gain antenna sends and receives information in every direction. It transmits radio waves at a low rate to the Deep Space Network antennas on Earth.High-gain antenna can send a "beam" of information in a specific direction and it is steerable. The antenna can move to point itself directly to any antenna on Earth. It is beneficial to have a steerable antenna because the whole rover doesn't have to turn to communicate with earth.

Sending DataThe amount of data sent from the rover to earth varies from 12,000 bits per second to 3,500 bits per second. 128,000 bits per second is the constant data rate to the orbiters. An orbiter passes by a rover in the sky and can communicate with it 8 minutes at a time per sol. The rover can then transmit about 60 megabits of data to the orbiter. And the data would then take about 1.5 to 5 hours to transmit directly to earth. Due to power and thermal limitations, a rover can only transmit directly to earth 3 hours a day at the most.

Autonomous Planetary MobilityThese technologies enable the rovers to make decisions and avoid hazards on their own. New software has enabled the rovers to avoid mission barriers like when rocks are unavoidable and the inherited suspension system lets there be easier maneuverability. The twin rovers were designed for moving with a fair amount of ease of the rocky terrain. Sojourner's "rocker-bogie" mobility system was improved for the Mars Exploration Rover Mission.

Orbiter Relay SystemNASA has often used radio frequency based communication as the only viable medium for exchanging data between a mission and a spacecraft. NASA is now taking steps to a new era of communication technology. The Laser Communication Relay Demonstration pioneers technologies that will allow data to be exchanged through beams of light. Lasers will be used to encode and transmit data. Communications with lasers will be rates 10 to 100 times faster than radio frequency based communication. Laser light wavelength is shorter than radio waves and reduces the area the energy spreads as it travels through space. The Laser Communication Relay Demonstration will be much beneficial for quicker communication in space.




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