Th Mt. Erebus Explorer Control System
CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA ROBOTICS INST
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In January 1992, NASA started a unique, one year project in competitive robotics. The objective was to demonstrate robotic technologies for a scientific mission in the Mars like environment of Antarctica. A unique robot was built to rappel into an active volcano and retrieve pristine gas samples from near the convecting magma lake. Dante was deployed in Mt. Erebus, Antarctica December 1992 through January 1993. The Mt. Erebus explorer, Dante, is an eight legged frame walker that can rappel down rugged terrain at slopes up to 90 deg. Systematic constraints require Dantes control system to be highly capable, compact, light weight, and field worthy. This paper describes the multi-processor control system that is responsible for coordinated motion control, foot fall sequencing, science control, dead reckoning, image collection, temperature regulation, and system safety. The critical control software, physical implementation, and field experiences are discussed.
- Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy