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Resource Prospector Navigation Team to Complete Visual Odometry Study This Month
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Resource Prospector Navigation Team to Complete Visual Odometry Study This Month

The Resource Prospector (RP) Navigation Team, in the Intelligent Robotics Group, will complete a study this month that will determine whether the current design for the RP rover’s visual odometry will be sufficient to meet mission requirements as planned. The rover’s visual odometry utilizes camera images to determine the position and orientation of the rover. The current plan is for the rover to drive about four meters at a time and send images to the ground at each waypoint for visual odometry estimates of motion. Tests of our approach make use of stereo imagery collected in the Lunar Lab, a facility in the NASA Ames Research Park operated by the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), containing controlled lighting to simulate the Sun and a 4-meter-by-4-meter sandbox filled with lunar regolith simulant to simulate the appearance of the lunar surface. The "Polar Optical Lunar Analog Reconstruction (POLAR)" dataset used for this testing was publicly released in May of this year.

BACKGROUND: Resource Prospector aims to be the first mining expedition on another world. Using a suite of instruments to locate elements from a lunar southern polar region, the planned rover is designed to prospect for and excavate volatiles such as hydrogen, oxygen, and water from the Moon. Building on the findings of the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) and Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) missions that proved the existence of water on the Moon, Resource Prospector plans to take the next step to access those resources.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Division, Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD); and the Game Changing Development (GCD) program, Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). Generous facilities and operational support are provided by the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).

TEAM: Matt Deans, Laurence Edwards, Michael Furlong, Ara Nefian, and Uland Wong

POINT OF CONTACT: Matt Deans, matthew.deans@nasa.gov

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