Monday, March 25, 2013

Curiosity self-inspection

Function and reliability are primary design criteria for an expensive robot in a remote environment. Many of Curiosity's imaging systems are put to use looking at itself, not its target, Mars.

Curiosity is minimally autonomous, particularly with respect to self-inspection and troubleshooting. Robots of the future will need to include a detailed functional self-map, and the capability to compare the map with ground truth. Then they will need to decide what to do.

I'm surprised at how Curiosity's exterior design came out having a complex, art-deco look; many interacting parts means many failure modes. This photo is from a mast camera after waiting for a good sun angle.

    original image: 0224ML1058000000E1_DXXX.jpg

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