Monitoring the Mars Sojourner rover – by Sun

When the Sojourner rover crawls around Mars, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) use National Instruments’ LabVIEW graphical software to visualise and analyse its data. The system was developed on Macs and Windows PCs, and runs on six Sun SPARCstations. Dr Ed Baroth, technical manager of the Measurement Technology Centre at JPL: ‘LabVIEW lets […]

When the Sojourner rover crawls around Mars, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) use National Instruments’ LabVIEW graphical software to visualise and analyse its data.

The system was developed on Macs and Windows PCs, and runs on six Sun SPARCstations.

Dr Ed Baroth, technical manager of the Measurement Technology Centre at JPL: ‘LabVIEW lets the rover team track the nitty gritty engineering details. JPL engineers monitor the rover’s location and position in relation to the landing craft and compass points, its orientation to the ground, as well as its physical health.’

Engineers get graphical views and numeric data showing the position of rocker arms, bogies and the state of the contact sensors, based on telemetered data.

They also get an overhead view of the landing site, with the Sojourner path and trajectory depicted – and playback and zoom. And there are temperature trends showing internal and external sensor data.

Latest data is at http://mpf www.jpl.nasa.gov/default.html

National Instruments, Tel: 01635 572400; Fax: 524395.

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