The Mars Science InterfaCE (MSLICE) – pronounced "EM-slice" – is a collaborative effort between NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, (JPL) Pasadena, Calif. The Human Computer Interaction Group at Ames led the planning component of the MSLICE system, enabling mission scientists and engineers to prepare the hundreds of daily activities for the rover to perform. The planning software ensures that mission scientists can work closely withboth rover and instrument engineers to create a plan that will maximize scientific data and be safe for the rover to perform. By allowing scientists to understand how long Curiosity’s activities will take to perform, whatinstruments to use, and what resources the activities will consume, the scientists can focus on science, while supporting the generation of complexactivity plans.
“Each day, [Mars Science Laboratory] scientists and engineers will be under time pressure to make sense of the data that is sent back from the rover and to plan what the rover should do the next day on Mars,” said Joy Crisp, Curiosity deputy project scientist at JPL. “MSLICE is the collaborative software tool that will enable our team of hundreds of scientists and engineers to view data products from Mars, select targets, prepare rover activities and command sequences that meet all of the constraints we have. We will be relying heavily on this tool.”
"The MSLICE developers have created a clean and intuitive interface between we humans and our wonderfully complex machine on Mars,” said Ashwin Vasavada, deputy project scientist for Curiosity at JPL. “With MSLICE, our 400 scientists around the world can quickly view the latest data, share results with each other, plan the rover's activities within the available resources, and generate detailed commands to send to the rover. It's an amazing tool that enables us to be scientists onMars, and not programmers."
Engineers in the Human Systems Integration Division and the Intelligent Systems Division contributed to the design and development of the planning system. To build MSLICE, Ames and JPL engineers used Open Source Software, including Eclipse, Java from Oracle, and Rhino from Mozilla, among others.
Footage of the MSLICE software
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