On May 16 and 17, the Payload Directed Flight (PDF) research team from NASA Ames Research Center took part in the United States Geological Survey (USGS) 9th Triennial Open House in Menlo Park. Engineers from NASA’s ACES group have been collaborating with the USGS on novel survey techniques that utilize intelligent and adaptive control systems and autonomous algorithms to maximize sensor payload return during geological surveys with autonomous unmanned vehicle platforms. Scientists at the USGS Menlo Park campus are leaders in research on earthquakes, water quality, volcanoes, coastal and marine geology, mineral and energy resources, geography, and the San Francisco Bay ecosystem. The exhibits and presentations at the 2009 Open House illustrate the diversity of projects in which USGS employees are engaged.
BACKGROUND: Payload Directed Flight is a research investigation into closing control loops around payload sensors for greater efficiency and performance, and for enabling new capabilities. The ACES team is coordinating with the USGS team at Menlo Park to characterize active fault zones in support of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP). The ACES team hopes to develop precision methods for sensor placement, develop an efficient method for large area surveys, investigate new modes of high-resolution surveying with precision antenna placements for ground-penetrating radar (GPR), and determine the utility of data gathered to demonstrate the feasibility and utility of small, inexpensive, and portable robotic vehicles for scientific data return. The ACES research team will perform an autonomous survey of the Hayward Fault near Ohlone College with USGS scientists this coming month.
NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate/Fundamental Aeronautics Program
Contact: Corey Ippolito