Preparing Mission Operators for Lunar and Mars Exploration

Steve Parkes, Martin Dunstan, Iain Martin
Conference/Journal Name: 
SpaceOps 2006
Date Published: 
June 2006

Future European planetary missions will include rovers to explore the surface of Mars. Mission operators will need to be trained to operate the rovers and to cope with various problems that could possibly occur during the mission. Operator training can be done using full scale mock-ups of the rover, Martian terrain and communications system once a complete rover is available. Training for fault recovery can be difficult on a real system as introducing the fault can be difficult. Another complementary method of operator training is to use a simulation of the rover and the planetary surface over which it is moving. It is then relatively easy to introduce faults into the simulation. The University of Dundee has developed a realistic planetary surface simulation facility for use in developing vision-based navigation systems for planetary landers. This paper describes the potential use of that simulation facility for training future planetary rover operators.