Design of a Four Degree_of_Freedom Manipulator for Northern Light Mars Mission

  • Regina LeeEmail author
  • Brendan Quine
  • Kartheephan Sathiyanathan
  • Caroline Roberts
Conference paper


Northern Light is a Canadian mission to Mars, currently developed by a team of engineers, scientists and industrial organizations. The mission objectives include scientific goals such as the search for life and water, preparation for a sample return and engineering goals including the demonstration of interplanetary travel, an entry, descent and landing system, a rover design, a manipulator/drilling system, and semi-autonomous control in remote operations. The Northern Light team at York University is developing a four degree-of-freedom manipulator system, specifically for this remote operation. The Northern Light manipulator system will be mounted directly on the lander (not on the rover), providing an opportunity to perform scientific missions directly from the lander. The drilling instrument, to be mounted on the manipulator, is currently under development by Dr. Tze Chuen Ng now with the help of Hong Kong’s Polytechnics University. The operation concept is based on a “single command cycle” approach. The operation plans are designed to handle exceptions, failures and unforeseen events using local intelligence and a contingency planner.


Landing Site Martian Atmosphere Mission Operation Remote Operation Mission Objective 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. [1].
    Quine, B. R. Lee, C. Roberts and the Northern Light Team (2008). “Northern Light – A Canadian Mars Lander: Development Plan.” Canadian Aeronautics & Space Institute ASTRO 2008 Conference, April 2008.Google Scholar
  2. [2].
    Doyon, M, et al., “The SPDM Task Verification Facility: On the Dynamic Emulation in One-g Environment using Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation, “Proceeding of the 7th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space: i-SAIRAS 2003, NARA, Japan, May 19-23, 2003.Google Scholar
  3. [3].
    Spectrometer IR 900 nm to 1700 nm - Argus 1000 Infrared Spectrometers, Thoth Technology website:
  4. [4].
    Richard Volpe, Timothy Ohm, Richard Petras, Richard Welch, J., “A Prototype Manipulation System for Mars Rover Science Operations,” Published in proceedings of IEEE RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS97), Grenoble, France, Setember 7-11 1997. also presented at the International Conference on Mobile and Planetary Robots, Santa Monica CA, Jan. 29-Feb. 1 1997.Google Scholar
  5. [5].
    The Internet Encyclopedia of Science, Beagle 2 on the website encyclopedia/B/Beagle2.html
  6. [6].
    A.D. Griffiths et al., “The Scientific objectives of the Beagle 2 stero camera system,” Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, Houston, Texas March 17-21, 2003.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Regina Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brendan Quine
    • 2
    • 4
  • Kartheephan Sathiyanathan
    • 3
  • Caroline Roberts
    • 4
  1. 1.Department Earth and Space Science and EngineeringPSE134 York UniversityTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Assistant Professor, Department Earth and Space Science and EngineeringPSE256 York UniversityTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Department Earth and Space Science and EngineeringPSE002B York UniversityTorontoCanada
  4. 4.Thoth Technology Inc.TorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations