NASA presents software of the year award

Dec 09, 2011 By Sonja Alexander and Priscilla Vega
This view results from the observation of a target selected autonomously by AEGIS onboard the Opportunity Mars rover. This particular target (a piece of crater ejecta near the Mars Concepción crater) was detected on sol 2172, or March 4, 2010, and the image was captured by the Opportunity's Panoramic Camera. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

(PhysOrg.com) -- Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS), novel autonomy software that has been operating on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity since December 2009, is NASA's 2011 Software of the Year recipient.

The AEGIS software, developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., autonomously directs Opportunity's cameras to interesting science targets. AEGIS was developed to enhance the usual targeting process involving scientists on the ground, which can require the rover to stay in the same place for a day or more while data are transmitted to Earth and targets are selected from preliminary images.

With AEGIS, the rover software analyzes images onboard, detects and prioritizes science targets in those images, and autonomously obtains novel, high-quality of the selected targets, within 45 minutes, with no communication back to Earth required. AEGIS chooses science targets based on pre-specified criteria set by the mission science team.

AEGIS can be used as soon as the rover reaches a new area and is especially beneficial during and after long drives. It enables high-quality data to be collected more often and in a significantly reduced time frame.  The incorporation of AEGIS in the Mars Science Laboratory flight software is in progress, and it is also being considered for future missions.

The AEGIS capability was developed as part of a larger autonomous science framework called OASIS (short for Onboard Autonomous Science Investigation System), which is designed to allow a rover to identify and react to serendipitous science opportunities. The AEGIS system takes advantage of the OASIS ability to detect and characterize interesting terrain features in rover images. This technology was created with assistance from NASA's Project and with funding from the New Millennium Program, the Mars Technology Program, the JPL Research and Technology Development Program, the JPL Interplanetary Network Development Program and the Intelligent Systems Program.

Explore further: NASA craft set to beam home close-ups of Pluto

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Mars Rover Getting Smarter as it Gets Older

Mar 23, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, now in its seventh year on Mars, has a new capability to make its own choices about whether to make additional observations of rocks that it spots ...

Next Mars rover nears completion

Apr 07, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Assembly and testing of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is far enough along that the mission's rover, Curiosity, looks very much as it will when it is investigating Mars.

New animation depicts next Mars rover in action

Jun 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will not leave Earth until late this year nor land on Mars until August 2012, anyone can watch those dramatic events now in a new animation of the mission.

NASA's curiosity continues mobility checkouts

Jun 14, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Spacecraft specialists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., have been putting the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, through various tests in preparation for shipment ...

Opportunity Reaches First Target Inside Crater

Sep 27, 2007

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has reached its science team's first destination for the rover inside Victoria Crater, information received from Mars late Tuesday confirms.

Recommended for you

NASA craft set to beam home close-ups of Pluto

8 hours ago

Nine years after leaving Earth, the New Horizons spacecraft is at last drawing close to Pluto and on Sunday was expected to start shooting photographs of the dwarf planet.

Elon Musk's SpaceX drops lawsuit against Air Force

18 hours ago

A spacecraft company run by billionaire Elon Musk has dropped a lawsuit alleging the U.S. Air Force improperly awarded a contract to launch military satellites to a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed ...

NASA spacecraft almost to Pluto: Smile for the camera!

Jan 23, 2015

It's showtime for Pluto. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has traveled 3 billion miles and is nearing the end of its nine-year journey to Pluto. Sunday, it begins photographing the mysterious, unexplored, icy ...

Gullies on Vesta suggest past water-mobilized flows

Jan 23, 2015

(Phys.org)—Protoplanet Vesta, visited by NASA's Dawn spacecraft from 2011 to 2013, was once thought to be completely dry, incapable of retaining water because of the low temperatures and pressures at its ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Shifty0x88
not rated yet Dec 09, 2011
You have may vote, that is a nice piece of software. Plus it is on a rover that has done 30x the work it was sent there to do.

It's a shame it's brother has been lost... poor Spirit, but Opportunity lives on!!!!

I wonder what type of algorithms they are using for picking out features to photograph "...based on pre-specified criteria set by the mission science team."

Machine learning? Object recognition? Both? Neither? A little more information on why they thought it was worth the title of 2011 NASA's Software of the Year would have been welcomed.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.