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Devon Island Field Test of NASA's K10 Rovers
Devon Island, Canada, is the world's largest uninhabited island. Devon is home to Haughton Crater, a 20-kilometer wide lunar crater analog. Research activities are conducted from the Haughton-Mars Project base camp.
In July 2007, the NASA Ames Intelligent Robotics Group took two K10 robots to Haughton Crater. The K10 robots were used to perform systematic surveys of several simulated lunar outpost sites.
K10 "Red" carries a 3D scanning laser system which is used for topographic mapping. The K10 robots drive autonomously and can traverse a wide variety of slopes and terrain.
K10 "Black" has a ground-penetrating radar that is used to map underground layers.
During the two-week field test, the K10 rovers drove more than 30 kilometers and collected more than 25 gigabytes of survey data.
The NASA Ames "Viz" 3D user interface was used to watch the K10 robots. As the robots operated, robot telemetry and survey data were displayed. "Viz" was designed to be useful to robot operators and planetary scientists. Interactive, real-time 3D graphics convey a wide variety of engineering and scientific information.
To study new robot operation concepts, a "ground control" was set up at Ames' Future Flight Central facility in California. Multiple large screen displays showed robot telemetry, 3D terrain maps and live video from the field.
The results of the Haughton Crate Site Survey field test will allow NASA to better plan future lunar exploration missions.
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