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Old 06-05-2012, 12:44 PM   #1
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Cool Check out what I got to play with!

So a couple of days ago.. My girlfriend and I got to play in the Mars rover yard at Sydney's Power House Museum. We were testing the accuracy of a camera system that will be implemented the next Mars rover (If they make another...).

So basically this is the camera...



Inside the shell is a High definition camera, 6 axis accelerometer, some sort of intel processor, and a heating unit. It weighs about 58 grams and consumes 1.7W of power. Update rate of 180Hz with a positional accuracy of 2mm error.

Basically what it is going to do is pick out constellations in the sky and track its X,Y,Z coordinates within 2mm error of where it is on Mars. It also has the ability to track its Yaw, Pitch and Roll coordinates as well. The most brilliant thing about this camera is its ability to track it's self with approx 5mm of positional error without any outside stimuli after it has picked out a constellation and calibrated its self.

So this was the yard we were testing on...



It's not exactly big... but it pretty much matches the type of terrain the rover will be experiencing.

As you may notice... there is a small prototype of a solar powered rover in the shot... We didn't get to play with the big rover cause it was being used by some people who are going for their PhD in astronautical engineering.

Here are some close ups of the prototype that the first year students get to work on. There have been two made so far...

2011 model





2012 model





Another interesting thing that was at the exhibit was actual celestial rocks. They are extremely expensive and we were instructed to not touch them.... I'm talking 50k+ per rock.

These two rocks...



And this one...(sorry for shaky pic)



So anyway... the experiment called for 250 data points along the terrain. We needed a known position to measure from, so we can cross reference our positions and find the cameras accuracy.

So we used one of these bad boys...



Built by Nikon, it's a X,Y,Z position calculator. It works off the response time between a shot of IR (from a laser) and the time it takes to come back. It uses this pretty cool reflector... Which I forgot to take a shot of, but is approx 2mm in dia. Pretty cool technology.

So this is my girlfriend setting up one of the platforms for the camera to sit on. You can see our data point positions marked by a stick in the ground with a piece of paper, stating all data collected from the camera and the Nikon XYZ camera.



As she is setting up the cameras position... I am remotely checking its X,Y,Z positions on a laptop and comparing it to the Nikon cameras calculations...



We were simulating the constellation with positional fiducials that were on the roof of the exhibit...



All in all we measured an averaged error of 2.6mm in the camera. We also concluded that its displacement calculations without outside stimuli was an averaged 4.4mm error.

We also found that in one section of the exhibit there was errors with the fiducial markings giving us errors of up to 4 meters. We pointed that out to the exhibit director and within one day they had fixed it and emailed us a written thank you...

It took a painstaking 9 hours to do a complete study of the camera in this terrain but it yielded some very nice results. Hopefully we get to play with the real mars rover soon.

Hope you enjoyed this.
-Adrian
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Last edited by bobhaha; 06-05-2012 at 12:45 PM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

This is some really neat stuff! Just the chance to see that equipment is a treat. Getting to actually use it is an honor...thousands of hours and millions of dollars have gone into all that.

Thanks for sharing the photo's and your experience!
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

Interesting stuff. Good to see all that high tech stuff is used for a good purpose.
I really thought they are simulating the sky with a half dome from a planetarium but symbols will do
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

Wow absolutely awesome Adrian! Thanks for sharing! Very high tech camera you get to play with too.

Interesting that everyone lost interest in celestial navigation after the 1980's when GPS started to kick off. Some time back the ESA and NASA said they would not go ahead with a proposed mini-GPS system for mars and now there is renewed interest in celestial navigational again.

I remember reading about the early attempts at celestial guidance in the SNARK cruise missile. They lost a LOT of those to faulty guidance when testing (some landed literally thousands of miles from the targets)!

I believe the trident missile also used celestial navigation to augment its inertial guidance with only one camera pointed at one star. If the camera lost sight of the star it knew something was off somewhere.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

Thanks for sharing this interesting positioning system...
Good info... I'm almost jealous..


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Old 06-07-2012, 05:57 AM   #6
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

Yeah it was definitely an honor and pretty cool to play with. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of trust these people had in us. For the most part we were unsupervised.

Another cool perk was explaining to the girls that walked by what I was doing in the exhibit... They thought it was really cool... my girlfriend didn't think that was too appropriate
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

thats awesome! looks like the rover might have some RC 4x4 parts on her
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

Just amazing how well the terrain is designed and you're so lucky to actually be there and do all that stuff!!
+1 for sharing these awesome photos with us!
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddy View Post
thats awesome! looks like the rover might have some RC 4x4 parts on her
Haha... No the rover looks like a stripped down version of this...







It was amazing to see. I wasn't allowed any cameras in the clean room though... so no pics sorry :/
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405nm - 65mW GLP-405 Aquarius host - 160mW 6x Blu-ray MXDL Host
Total: 71,868.5 mW

Goggles!
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Jetlasers wrap around 190-540nm OD4+ goggles*
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Old 06-15-2012, 04:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

You get to have all the fun!! Ha, ha
Great pictures.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:42 PM   #11
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Default Re: Check out what I got to play with!

Fascinating stuff.
Thanks for posting it here.
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