Devon Island as a Proving Ground for Planetary Rovers
The future of space exploration will be increasingly surface-based and extended-duration. Planetary rovers, both manned and autonomous, will play vital roles in transporting instruments, astronauts, and equipment across rugged and unfamiliar surfaces. To enable this vision, it is advisable to deploy prototype rover vehicles in analog environments on Earth, in order to learn how best to use these tools. Devon Island, in the Canadian High Arctic, has been used as a proving ground for planetary rovers, due to its vast scale, variety of topography/geology, challenging lighting, lack of vegetation, existing infrastructure at the well-established Haughton- Mars Project Research Station, and wealth of interesting scientific mission objectives. In this paper we review the suitability of using Devon Island for the continued testing of planetary rovers; several examples of previously conducted tests are provided. We conclude that despite the typical logistical challenges associated with remote field work, Devon Island should be considered a strong candidate for ongoing rover field deployments.
KeywordsStereo Camera Vision Algorithm Prove Ground Visual Odometry Mars Exploration Rover
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