The LMRs' Role
Astronaut Limitations
The Big Picture
LMR Advantages
In-field LMR Control
Habitat LMR Control
Problem 1: Complication
Subsequent Problems
LMR Families
LMR Chain of Command
LMR Overdependency
Beyond Mission 2004
A Design Note
LMR Design
Systems Outline


The Solution: LMR Families

Fortunately, there is a single solution to all these problems. We refer to this solution as the "family" solution.

Our LMRs are not homogenous. We have small legged LMRs that can be easily transported in fours or fives by the human rover. These legged LMRs are moving sensor hubs, equipped with stereo cameras and a maximum of two scientific sensor. They can walk across complicated terrain and obstacles and fit into small caves or canyons. They can be remotely controlled by humans in the field, and have sufficient computing power to follow navigational commands.

We also have medium sized wheeled LMRs. These autonomous vehicles have considerable computing power. They carry three distinct types of sensors, each have stereo cameras, and can generate significantly more power than the LMRs. The medium LMRs are sample retrievers, having the capabilities of picking up and returning interesting samples from the martian surface on command from the astronauts.

Mission 2004 will have fifteen small LMRs and three medium LMRs. These will split off into "families" consisting of a guiding medium LMR and five sensor-laden small LMRs. These "families" have many important features that greatly reduce the burden on the astronauts, and make the LMR concept possible.

The eighteen separate LMRs are divided into three large groups of LMRs. The medium LMR will act as a central control system for the five semi-dependent small LMRs. At the highest level the medium LMR will accept human commands and determine how best to delegate responsibility amongst the small LMRs. Should the need arise, the astronauts will have the option of directly controlling the small LMRs.

mitCopyright © 2000 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Comments and questions to Last updated: 10 December, 2000