Research ArticleSPACE ROBOTS

AEGIS autonomous targeting for ChemCam on Mars Science Laboratory: Deployment and results of initial science team use

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Science Robotics  21 Jun 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 7, eaan4582
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aan4582
  • Fig. 1 ChemCam.

    (A) The ChemCam aperture is the large, circular mirror on the Curiosity rover’s Remote Sensing Mast (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS). (B) The rock at the “Windjana” drill site was measured by ChemCam LIBS, leaving visible marks both on the surface (upper right) and inside the 16-mm-diameter drill hole (center) (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS). (C) Soil targets are also measured, as in the RMI view of “Sandy_Dam” (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/CNRS/LANL/IRAP/IAS/LPGN). (D) The RMI’s infinite-distance focus capability allows detailed views of distant targets, such as this area in the Peace Vallis alluvial fan, ~25 km away (image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/CNRS/LANL/IRAP/IAS/LPGN).

  • Fig. 2 Examples of AEGIS autonomous target selection.

    In each, the NavCam field of view available to AEGIS is shown. All targets found by AEGIS are outlined; blue targets were rejected in filtering, and red targets were retained. The top-ranked target is shaded green, and the second-ranked target (if measured) is shaded orange. The NavCam images have been contrast-balanced. Note that objects whose contours intersect the edge of the image are rejected as potential targets by AEGIS. Left to right, top to bottom: Sols 1400, 1417, 1449, 1481, 1516, 1605, 1636, and 1660.

  • Fig. 3 Examples of AEGIS autonomous pointing refinement.

    In all cases, the RMI field of view has a diameter of 19 mrad. Note that the spacing of the 3 × 3 grid of LIBS points is 1 mrad, and the pointing accuracy of the rover’s mast is ±2 mrad. Mosaics include pre- and post-LIBS RMI images. (A) Sol 1424 source image, targeted by the team on Earth using NavCam stereo information. Initial pointing marked in red. (B) Sol 1424 pointing refinement result; LIBS spots marked in red on mosaic of RMI images. Three of the nine points hit the desired bright feature. (C) Sol 1463 source image. (D) Sol 1463 pointing refinement result. Credit for all images: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/CNRS/LANL/IRAP/IAS/LPGN.

  • Fig. 4 AEGIS increases the rate of ChemCam observations.

    A notable increase in the pace of ChemCam measurements occurs after AEGIS deployment on sol 1343.

  • Fig. 5 AEGIS intelligent targeting compared with blind targeting.

    AEGIS target selection results. The target profile was set to prefer light-toned outcrop targets and was refined on sol 1400 based on the early in-service experience. “Rock” means float rock. The material listed here is what was measured by ChemCam LIBS; “Outcrop and Sand” implies that some LIBS shots fell on outcrop and some fell on sand.

  • Fig. 6 When postdrive autonomous targeting is used.

    In each mission planning cycle, the science operations team may choose to use AEGIS postdrive autonomous targeting. They will not use it if the plan does not include a drive.

  • Fig. 7 AEGIS autonomous targeting process.

    Illustration of the steps taken for selecting and observing a target with AEGIS and ChemCam. The backward-pointing arrow indicates that multiple targets can be observed by ChemCam from a single AEGIS image analysis.

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    Supplementary Material for:

    AEGIS autonomous targeting for ChemCam on Mars Science Laboratory: Deployment and results of initial science team use

    R. Francis,* T. Estlin, G. Doran, S. Johnstone, D. Gaines, V. Verma, M. Burl, J. Frydenvang, S. Montaño, R. C. Wiens, S. Schaffer, O. Gasnault, L. DeFlores, D. Blaney, B. Bornstein

    *Corresponding author. Email: raymond.francis{at}

    Published 21 June 2017, Sci. Robot. 2, eaan4582 (2017)
    DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aan4582

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    Other Supplementary Material for this manuscript includes the following:

    • Data S1. Spreadsheet with all AEGIS autonomous target selection runs on Mars and results of material hit (Excel).

    Files in this Data Supplement: