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The persistent astronaut rushes to the ancient river delta of Mars

NASA's persistent astronaut, who has now spent more than a year on the Red Planet, is rushing to the delta of the ancient Martian river to begin his second scientific campaign. .

The capabilities of the astronaut's vehicles will be tested this month, as the astronaut heads to his next sampling site with a record-breaking speed. NASA's "Perseverance" astronaut tries to travel farther than any other astronaut in a month, using artificial intelligence.

Along the way to perseverance, there are sand pits, craters, and fields of sharp rocks around which the astronaut must move alone. The 5-kilometer journey began on March 14, 2022, and will culminate in the delta of ancient rivers at the mouth of the tropics, where lakes existed billions of years ago.

delta is one of the best places on Mars to find signs of ancient microbial life. Using a drill at the end of its robotic arm and a sophisticated specimen collection system in its abdomen, Perseverance collects rock nuclei to return to Earth, the first step in a campaign to retrieve a specimen from Mars.

"This delta is so important that we have decided to minimize scientific activity along the way and focus on moving towards it to get there faster," said Ken Farley of the California Institute of Technology. We will take many pictures of delta while driving diligently. The closer we get, the more impressive these images will be.

The team uses these images to find stones that will eventually be studied in more detail using tools on the perseverance arm. They also look for the best routes that the astronaut can take to climb the 40-meter delta.

But first, the astronaut must get there, relying on the AutoNav system. Which has already set significant distance records. While all NASA astronauts have automatic propulsion capabilities, Perseverance uses the most advanced example. Cars that last a few minutes on Mars, like perseverance, do the perseverance in less than a second. "Because self-driving is faster now, we can cover more levels than when man-only programming."

How to Plan Perseverance

Before the Rover Move, a team of motion planning experts, a total of 14 people shifting shifts, write the driving instructions that the robotic probe will perform. The commands reach Mars via NASA's Outer Space Network, and persistently sends its motion data to Earth so that programmers can verify the astronaut's progress. Some programs take a few days to complete, such as a recent 510-meter drive that involved thousands of single commands to the probe.

Some moves require more manpower than others. have. Otonau is useful for driving on smooth surfaces with potentially simple hazards, such as large rocks and slopes around which the rover is easy to identify and work.

BingMag.com The <b>persistent</b> <b>astronaut</b> <b>rushes</b> to the <b>ancient</b> <b>river</b> <b>delta</b> of Mars

The path that perseverance must take to reach the delta.
Credit: Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/University of Arizona

Thinking the Way

AutoNav reflects the evolution of self-propelled gadgets previously for the "Spirit", "Opportunity" and "Curiosity" astronauts (Curiosity) was made by NASA. What's different for Atonau, however, is "thinking while driving," which allows perseverance to capture and process images while moving on Mars. Then he decides to move based on those images. For example, is that boulder too close? Can his stomach pass that stone? What if the rover's wheels were to slip?

Upgraded hardware made it possible to "think while driving." Faster cameras allow perseverance to shoot fast enough to process its path in an instant. And unlike its predecessors, Perseverance has an additional computer dedicated entirely to image processing. The computer relies on a highly efficient single-purpose microchip called a "programmable field gate array" that is great for processing computer vision. It was, because data had to be processed on a computer. But now this extra computer compared to what it was in the past "We were very fast, and allocating it to driving means that we no longer need to share computing resources with more than 100 other tasks."

Of course, humans are not completely eliminated while driving, but still Using images taken from space by missions such as NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), they plan the main route. Then, obstacles such as potential dunes are considered to allow the astronaut to move in the area and avoid passing through some areas.

Another major difference in perseverance is the sense of space. Curiosity's independent navigation program keeps the astronaut in a 5-meter-wide safety bubble. If the curiosity sees two rocks that are, for example, 4.5 meters apart, the gap that can be easily crossed will still stop or move around them instead of accepting the risk of passing through them.

But the bubble of perseverance is much smaller: a virtual box is centered on each of the six rover wheels. The latest Mars rover has a more accurate understanding of the surface of Mars and can orbit rocks alone.
  • The first persistent rover scientific campaign "When we first looked at the crater as a landing site, we were concerned about the dense plains of rocks that were scattered on the bottom of the crater," said the monkey. "Now we can explore, or even navigate, rocks that we could not get close to before." Allows them to focus on the places that have the highest priority. This means that the mission is more focused on its main goal: to find the specimens that scientists eventually want to bring to Earth. JPL-Caltech

Source: SciTechDaily

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