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21 votes
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How much can the Mars rover Curiosity do autonomously, after four years of operation?

AutoNav is simply given a set of waypoints, which the software then has to, on its own, plan and execute a route. You can imagine the waypoints as lawn darts on the 3D terrain map built from the ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
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18 votes
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If Curiosity had lights, could it drive or work in the evening?

TLDR: The rover is power limited not daylight limited Lights are not sufficient to enable nighttime driving. The rover is limited by available power. The RTG produced ~114 W at the start of the ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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13 votes
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Is there a way (working or in development) to track satellites in lunar orbit like we track objects in Earth Orbit?

From Why was the 100m Green Bank dish needed together with DSN's 70m Goldstone dish to detect Chandrayaan-1 in lunar orbit? above: "This computer-generated image depicts the Chandrayaan-1's ...
uhoh's user avatar
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11 votes
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Martian Carbon Dioxide Turbine Oxygen Generator

Yes, in principle to both questions, why not? However we can calculate the maximum energy you could get from the generator. The vapour pressure of $CO_2$ at 0C is around 4MPa, so in a perfect world, ...
Steve Linton's user avatar
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10 votes

How much can the Mars rover Curiosity do autonomously, after four years of operation?

Not only has it autonomous driving capability, just very recently in 2016 it acquired new features for 'autonomously' targeting ChemCam and autonomosly re-schedule some of the science observations by ...
kert's user avatar
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9 votes
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Will a computer be allowed to "self-destruct" astronauts (or passengers)?

AFSS was developed for unmanned launches first. A 2004 NASA paper indicates how manned flight would be handled: Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) is an independent flight safety system designed ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why would autonomous auto-destruct ramp up launch tempo/cadence?

I haven't found a full list of range activities, but there's a key comment in this article: The Air Force currently requires several days to reconfigure its ranges between Atlas, Delta and Falcon ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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7 votes

Will a computer be allowed to "self-destruct" astronauts (or passengers)?

No, a computer will not be allowed to blow up astronauts. It may activate a launch abort system for them though, after which a flight termination system might be used depending on the situation.
Schlusstein's user avatar
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5 votes

At the end of the test campaign, could Ingenuity be programmed to fly fully autonomously to the planned sample cache depot location?

Mars has a standard lat/long coordinate system, so the waypoints are indeed fixed points on the surface. But Mars doesn't have a flock of satellites providing a location service like GPS. So ...
Camille Goudeseune's user avatar
5 votes
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What naturally occurring navigational information is available for an autonomous return of SLS's EM-1?

Optical navigation would be more than sufficient. Images of the Moon and the Earth against key stars, a clock, and a computer is all you need. Apollo had such a system as a backup, which was used to ...
Mark Adler's user avatar
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4 votes
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How exactly do the AstroBees implement propulsion and attitude control?

The paper Astrobee:Developing a Free-flyingRobot for the International Space Station explains the propulsion system rougly in two sentence: Astrobee’s propulsion system consists of a propulsion ...
GittingGud's user avatar
4 votes

Is there a way (working or in development) to track satellites in lunar orbit like we track objects in Earth Orbit?

Radar may be used with a transponder in the satellite. A special range measurement signal is send from Earth to the Moon satellite and echoed back by the transponder of the satellite. The round trip ...
Uwe's user avatar
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4 votes

Why does NASA now call its rovers "robotic scientists?"

Answer merged into one larger one.
Paul McErlean's user avatar
3 votes
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How many cubesat U's is CAPSTONE really?

Yes, it's a 12U "base" with a protruding antenna and related equipment. It's quite a custom spacecraft because it'll be demoing the Cislunar Autonomous Position System (among other things ...
ChrisR's user avatar
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3 votes
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Why does NASA now call its rovers "robotic scientists?"

I do recall reading about this very issue in a book about the Spirit & Opportunity rovers. Working on Mars: Voyages of Scientific Discovery with the Mars Exploration Rovers by William J. Clancey, ...
Paul McErlean's user avatar
3 votes
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How does JUICE navigate autonomously

It would appear 'Autonomous Navigation' may be generous in terms of what JUICE is doing. This Airbus document limits itself to describing edge detection to fine tune instrument pointing on the fly, ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
3 votes

Range safety - is the goal both autonomy and standardization - and would it include the "black box" in the rocket?

The answer to both questions is yes. I was at a talk at NASA regarding AFSS, and the ultimate goal is to get everyone on board with the same thing, so that there's standardization across the board. ...
SpaceMan's user avatar
3 votes

Why would autonomous auto-destruct ramp up launch tempo/cadence?

Basically, the short version of range safety is that there's a network of systems that all come together. Each system has a number of people that are required to physically be at the launch making ...
SpaceMan's user avatar
3 votes

How much can the Mars rover Curiosity do autonomously, after four years of operation?

Supplementary answer; a day in the life of Curiosity, from Phys.org's How to drive a robot on Mars: Around 9:30 Mars time, a message arrives from California, where it was sent 15 minutes earlier. &...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
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Why did NASA need to attach smartphones to the SPHERES robots in order to link them to the ground?

According to the SPHERES Wikipedia page, SmartSPHERES experiment equipped the three SPHERES satellite aboard the International Space Station with Nexus S smartphones that were delivered via the ...
DrSheldon's user avatar
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2 votes

Has "Auto-Destruct" shown any impact on launch tempo yet?

AFSS wasn't developed with the idea of making the launch tempo increase, rather it was developed with the intention of "allowing" the launch tempo to be able to increase. A lot of people tend to ...
SpaceMan's user avatar
2 votes
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Has "Auto-Destruct" shown any impact on launch tempo yet?

Increasing cadence capabilities is only half the problem. Without demand, cadence won't increase. Demand is likely to lag behind capabilities by a number of years given the long lead times for large ...
Saiboogu's user avatar
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2 votes
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What are the future prospects for spacecraft autonomy

Spacecraft autonomy has always played an important role in the exploration of the solar system and beyond and our reliance on increasingly independent spacecraft will only grow. There will be varying ...
esduran's user avatar
  • 539
2 votes

Question: Does JWST have hardware that could be used as a docking fixture by repair spacecraft?

Partial answer, too long for comments: TL;DR: It does have a payload ring, for potential grabbing, but it is not without issues. In 2007 it was reported by a single news source: https://www.space.com/...
blobbymcblobby's user avatar
2 votes
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How well could the New Horizons spacecraft localize itself in space in 3D using parallax?

The LORRI sensor has a resolution of θ = 5µrad or 1 arcsec per pixel. We can do a simple geometric approach to see which distance x corresponds to a change in the apparent position of a nearby star (...
asdfex's user avatar
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1 vote

Why does NASA now call its rovers "robotic scientists?"

Every joke has its share of a joke. Perhaps the meaning of this joke is that Perseverance performs almost all the same functions as scientists in the first stage of research (information gathering). ...
TommyJo's user avatar
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