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With the success of Mars Pathfinder's Sojourner rover, a new era of planetary exploration has opened, with demand for highly capable mobile robots. These robots must be able to traverse long distances over rough, unknown terrain autonomously, under severe resource constraints. Based on the authors' firsthand experience with the Mars Pathfinder mission, this(More)
The Mars exploration rover mission has conducted continuous Mars surface operations for over 24 months to date. The operations processes and tools put in place before landing have continued to develop throughout the surface mission, evolving from a capability intended to operate for less than four months to one capable of continuing indefinitely. The MER(More)
Over the past five years on Mars, the Mars Exploration Rovers have traveled over 20 kilometers to climb tall hills and descend into craters. Over that period the operations process has continued to evolve as deep introspection by the MER uplink team suggests streamlining improvements and lessons learned adds complexity to handle new problems. As such, the(More)
This paper describes the design and implementation at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of a small rover for future Mars missions requiring long traverses and rover-based science experiments. The small rover prototype, called Rocky 7, is capable of long traverses, autonomous navigation, and science instrument control. This rover carries three science(More)
Much prior work in mobile robot path planning har been based on assumptions that are not really applicable for exploration of planetary terrains. Based on the first author's experience with the recent Mars Pathfinder mission, this paper reviews the issues that are critical for successful autonomous navigation of planetary rovers. No currently proposed(More)
Robust navigation through rocky terrain by small mobile robots is important for maximizing science return from up-coming missions to Mars. We are addressing this problem at multiple levels through the development of intelligent se-quencing, sensor constrained path planning, natural terrain visual localization, and real-time state estimation. Each of these(More)
Mars rover sample return missions will require rover localization on scales ranging from under a meter near landers and sample caches, to 10's of meters for local exploration, to 100's of meters for long range exploration. A variety of technologies may contribute to rover localization, but at present there is no concretely deened localization architecture(More)
The Mars Pathfinder mission illustrated the benefits of including a mobile robotic explorer on a planetary mission. However, for future Mars rover missions , significantly increased autonomy in navigation is required in order to meet demanding mission criteria. To address these requirements, we have developed new path planning and localisation capabilities(More)