Perseverance Rover Heading to Ancient River Delta
The Perseverance rover will head to a river delta within the planet’s Jezero Crater, a trip that started on March 14 and will cover three miles. The rover is using artificial intelligence to navigate its way through Martian terrain.
Ken Farley, the project scientist for Perseverance, said the rover will take images of the delta throughout its trip. He noted that scientific activities had to be minimized to allow the rover to drive to its location more quickly.
Scientists will use photographs taken by the rover to look for rocks that will be picked up by the vehicle for examination. They will also look for the best route that would allow Perseverance to scale the delta, which is 130 feet high, NASA said.
Perseverance uses the AutoNav self-driving system, which is the most advanced version of NASA’s self-driving solutions. Mark Maimone, a flight software developer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said the AutoNav system can process routes for Perseverance in less than a second, unlike the minutes it took for the Opportunity rover.
Route planning starts with a team of mobility planning experts who write driving commands that the rover will perform. The data will be sent to Perseverance through NASA’s Deep Space Network, then the vehicle will return data to allow operators to confirm its progress.
AutoNav will allow Perseverance to take and process images while driving. The system will use the images taken by the vehicle for navigation and obstacle avoidance.
The Perseverance rover is designed to investigate signs of ancient microbial life on Mars. It will study and characterize the planet’s geology and past climate and collect and cache Martian rock and regolith.
It will also serve as a stepping stone for human exploration.
Tags: artificial intelligence Jezero Crater Ken Farley Mark Maimone Mars exploration NASA Perseverance space