Author

# Aron A. Wolf

Bio: Aron A. Wolf is an academic researcher from California Institute of Technology. The author has contributed to research in topics: Mars landing & Orbiter. The author has an hindex of 10, co-authored 26 publications receiving 567 citations.

##### Papers

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TL;DR: In this paper, the authors describe an algorithm for scanning lidar (light detection and ranging)-based hazard detection, safe site selection, and powered landing guidance designed for Mars landing.

Abstract: Hazard avoidance is a key technology for landing large payloads safely on the surface of Mars. During hazard avoidance, sensors and computing onboard the lander are utilized to detect hazards in the landing zone, autonomously select a location free of hazards, and then generate a trajectory that retargets the lander to the safe landing site. Algorithms are described for scanning lidar (light detection and ranging)-based hazard detection, safe site selection, and powered landing guidance designed for Mars landing. The performance of these algorithms is quantified using a closed-loop simulation of hazard avoidance, which includes a synthetic Martian terrain generator, a scanning lidar model, and the required hazard avoidance and powered landing guidance algorithms. Preliminary results show that the proposed hazard avoidance algorithms are effective at detecting hazards and guiding the lander to a safe landing site.

175 citations

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Cornell University

^{1}, California Institute of Technology^{2}, University of Maryland, College Park^{3}, University of Washington^{4}, Space Science Institute^{5}, University of Chicago^{6}, Open University^{7}, Max Planck Society^{8}, University of Hawaii^{9}, Purdue University^{10}, Brown University^{11}, Finnish Meteorological Institute^{12}TL;DR: On February 14, 2011 Stardust-NExT (SN) flew by Comet Tempel 1, the target of the Deep Impact (DI) mission in 2005, obtaining dust measurements and high-resolution images of areas surrounding the 2005 impact site, and extending image coverage to almost two thirds of the nucleus surface as discussed by the authors.

Abstract: On February 14, 2011 Stardust-NExT (SN) flew by Comet Tempel 1, the target of the Deep Impact (DI) mission in 2005, obtaining dust measurements and high-resolution images of areas surrounding the 2005 impact site, and extending image coverage to almost two thirds of the nucleus surface. The nucleus has an average radius of 2.83 ± 0.1 km and a uniform geometric albedo of about 6% at visible wavelengths. Local elevation differences on the nucleus reach up to 830 m. At the time of encounter the spin rate was 213° per day (period = 40.6 h) and the comet was producing some 130 kg of dust per second. Some 30% of the nucleus is covered by smooth flow-like deposits and related materials, restricted to gravitational lows. This distribution is consistent with the view that the smooth areas represent material erupted from the subsurface and date from a time after the nucleus achieved its current shape. It is possible that some of these eruptions occurred after 1609 when the comet’s perihelion distance decreased from 3.5 AU to the current 1.5 AU. Much of the surface displays evidence of layering: some related to the smooth flows and some possibly dating back to the accretion of the nucleus. Pitted terrain covers approximately half the nucleus surface. The pits range up to 850 m in diameter. Due to their large number, they are unlikely to be impact scars: rather they probably result from volatile outbursts and sublimational erosion. The DI impact site shows a subdued depression some 50 m in diameter implying surface properties similar to those of dry, loose snow. It is possible that the 50-m depression is all that remains of an initially larger crater. In the region of overlapping DI and SN coverage most of the surface remained unchanged between 2005 and 2011 in albedo, photometric properties and morphology. Significant changes took place only along the edges of a prominent smooth flow estimated to be 10–15 m thick, the margins of which receded in places by up to 50 m. Coma and jet activity were lower in 2011 than in 2005. Most of the jets observed during the SN flyby can be traced back to an apparently eroding terraced scarp. The dust instruments detected bursts of impacts consistent with a process by which larger aggregates of material emitted from the nucleus subsequently fragment into smaller particles within the coma.

91 citations

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21 Aug 2006TL;DR: In this article, a number of powered terminal descent guidance algorithms for Mars pinpoint landing (PPL) are compared and a class of sub-optimal guidance laws based on simple polynomial basis functions are discussed.

Abstract: I. Abstract In this paper, we formulate and compare a number of powered terminal descent guidance algorithms for Mars pinpoint landing (PPL). The PPL guidance problem involves finding a trajectory that transfers the spacecraft from any g iven state at engine ignition to a desired terminal state (usually within 100m of a desired target) without violating fuel limits or any state constraints and control constraints. Sp ecifically, we first formulate the fuel-optimal guidance problem and show that a direct method can be used to reduce it to a finite-dimensional convex program. Modern interior point methods can then be used to find the global solution to any desired level of accuracy. Nex t, we discuss a class of suboptimal guidance laws based on simple polynomial basis functions. The performance of the sub-optimal guidance laws under a variety of realistic mission constraints are compared to the global fuel-optimal solution.

72 citations

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24 Jul 2006TL;DR: In this paper, the authors define a reference system design for guidance, navigation, and control in future pinpoint landing missions, and assesses uncertainties and performance penalties associated with pinpoint landing using this reference system.

Abstract: Previous Mars landers have been able to land only within tens to hundreds of km of a target site. Principal sources of uncertainty are approach navigation, atmospheric modeling, and vehicle aerodynamics; additional (lesser) uncertainty sources are map-tie error and wind drift. The Mars Science Laboratory mission scheduled for 2009 launch will use guidance during hypersonic entry to improve this to /spl sim/10 km. To achieve "pinpoint landing" (within 100m) for future missions, ways of addressing the remaining error sources (approach navigation, wind drift and map-tie error) must be found. This work defines a "reference system design" for guidance, navigation, and control in future pinpoint landing missions, and assesses uncertainties and performance penalties associated with pinpoint landing using this reference system design.

65 citations

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TL;DR: Galileo as mentioned in this paper was the first spacecraft to reach the Jovian magnetotail by using a two-stage Inertial Upper Stage (UPS) to launch from Earth to Jupiter.

Abstract: The Galileo spacecraft was launched by the Space Shuttle Atlantis on October 18, 1989. A two-stage Inertial Upper Stage propelled Galileo out of Earth parking orbit to begin its 6-year interplanetary transfer to Jupiter. Galileo has already received two gravity assists: from Venus on February 10, 1990 and from Earth on December 8, 1990. After a second gravity-assist flyby of Earth on December 8, 1992, Galileo will have achieved the energy necessary to reach Jupiter. Galileo's interplanetary trajectory includes a close flyby of asteroid 951-Gaspra on October 29, 1991, and, depending on propellant availability and other factors, there may be a second asteroid flyby of 243-Ida on August 28, 1993. Upon arrival at Jupiter on December 7, 1995, the Galileo Orbiter will relay data back to Earth from an atmospheric Probe which is released five months earlier. For about 75 min, data is transmitted to the Orbiter from the Probe as it descends on a parachute to a pressure depth of 20–30 bars in the Jovian atmosphere. Shortly after the end of Probe relay, the Orbiter ignites its rocket motor to insert into orbit about Jupiter. The orbital phase of the mission, referred to as the satellite tour, lasts nearly two years, during which time Galileo will complete 10 orbits about Jupiter. On each of these orbits, there will be a close encounter with one of the three outermost Galilean satellites (Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto). The gravity assist from each satellite is designed to target the spacecraft to the next encounter with minimal expenditure of propellant. The nominal mission is scheduled to end in October 1997 when the Orbiter enters Jupiter's magnetotail.

65 citations

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TL;DR: The United States has successfully landed five robotic systems on the surface of Mars as mentioned in this paper, all of which had landing mass below 0.6 metric tons (t), had landing footprints on the order of hundreds of km and landing at sites below -1 km MOLA elevation due to the need to perform entry, descent and landing operations in an environment with sufficient atmospheric density.

Abstract: The United States has successfully landed five robotic systems on the surface of Mars. These systems all had landed mass below 0.6 metric tons (t), had landed footprints on the order of hundreds of km and landed at sites below -1 km MOLA elevation due the need to perform entry, descent and landing operations in an environment with sufficient atmospheric density. Current plans for human exploration of Mars call for the landing of 40-80 t surface elements at scientifically interesting locations within close proximity (10's of m) of pre-positioned robotic assets. This paper summarizes past successful entry, descent and landing systems and approaches being developed by the robotic Mars exploration program to increased landed performance (mass, accuracy and surface elevation). In addition, the entry, descent and landing sequence for a human exploration system will be reviewed, highlighting the technology and systems advances required.

495 citations

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TL;DR: This work presents a convex programming algorithm for the numerical solution of the minimum fuel powered descent guidance problem associated with Mars pinpoint landing as a finite-dimensional convex optimization problem as a second-order cone programming problem.

Abstract: We present a convex programming algorithm for the numerical solution of the minimum fuel powered descent guidance problem associated with Mars pinpoint landing. Our main contribution is the formulation of the trajectory optimization problem, which has nonconvex control constraints, as a finite-dimensional convex optimization problem, specifically as a second-order cone programming problem. Second-order cone programming is a subclass of convex programming, and there are efficient second-order cone programming solvers with deterministic convergence properties. Consequently, the resulting guidance algorithm can potentially be implemented onboard a spacecraft for real-time applications.

482 citations

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Goddard Space Flight Center

^{1}, University of Maryland, College Park^{2}, Marshall Space Flight Center^{3}, Cardiff University^{4}, University of Oxford^{5}, European Southern Observatory^{6}, Cornell University^{7}, Jet Propulsion Laboratory^{8}, University of Hawaii^{9}, University of Paris^{10}, Stanford University^{11}, Southwest Research Institute^{12}TL;DR: The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) is a remote-sensing Fourier transform spectrometer on the Cassini orbiter that measures thermal radiation over two decades in wavenumber, with a spectral resolution that can be set from 0.5 to 15.5 cm− 1.

Abstract: The Composite Infrared Spectrometer (CIRS) is a remote-sensing Fourier Transform Spectrometer (FTS) on the Cassini orbiter that measures thermal radiation over two decades in wavenumber, from 10 to 1400 cm− 1 (1 mm to 7μ m), with a spectral resolution that can be set from 0.5 to 15.5 cm− 1. The far infrared portion of the spectrum (10–600 cm− 1) is measured with a polarizing interferometer having thermopile detectors with a common 4-mrad field of view (FOV). The middle infrared portion is measured with a traditional Michelson interferometer having two focal planes (600–1100 cm− 1, 1100–1400 cm− 1). Each focal plane is composed of a 1× 10 array of HgCdTe detectors, each detector having a 0.3-mrad FOV. CIRS observations will provide three-dimensional maps of temperature, gas composition, and aerosols/condensates of the atmospheres of Titan and Saturn with good vertical and horizontal resolution, from deep in their tropospheres to high in their mesospheres. CIRS’s ability to observe atmospheres in the limb-viewing mode (in addition to nadir) offers the opportunity to provide accurate and highly resolved vertical profiles of these atmospheric variables. The ability to observe with high-spectral resolution should facilitate the identification of new constituents. CIRS will also map the thermal and compositional properties of the surfaces of Saturn’s icy satellites. It will similarly map Saturn’s rings, characterizing their dynamical and spatial structure and constraining theories of their formation and evolution. The combination of broad spectral range, programmable spectral resolution, the small detector fields of view, and an orbiting spacecraft platform will allow CIRS to observe the Saturnian system in the thermal infrared at a level of detail not previously achieved.

326 citations

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TL;DR: It is shown that the minimum-landing-error trajectory generation problem can be posed as a convex optimization problem and solved to global optimality with known bounds on convergence time, which makes the approach amenable to onboard implementation for real-time applications.

Abstract: To increase the science return of future missions to Mars and to enable sample return missions, the accuracy with which a lander can be deliverer to the Martian surface must be improved by orders of magnitude. The prior work developed a convex-optimization-based minimum-fuel powered-descent guidance algorithm. In this paper, this convex-optimization-based approach is extended to handle the case when no feasible trajectory to the target exists. In this case, the objective is to generate the minimum-landing-error trajectory, which is the trajectory that minimizes the distance to the prescribed target while using the available fuel optimally. This problem is inherently a nonconvex optimal control problem due to a nonzero lower bound on the magnitude of the feasible thrust vector. It is first proven that an optimal solution of a convex relaxation of the problem is also optimal for the original nonconvex problem, which is referred to as a lossless convexification of the original nonconvex problem. Then it is shown that the minimum-landing-error trajectory generation problem can be posed as a convex optimization problem and solved to global optimality with known bounds on convergence time. This makes the approach amenable to onboard implementation for real-time applications.

301 citations

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04 Mar 2006TL;DR: The United States has successfully landed five robotic systems on the surface of Mars as discussed by the authors, all of which had landing mass below 0.6 metric tons (t), had landing footprints on the order of hundreds of km and landing at sites below -1 km MOLA elevation due to the need to perform entry, descent and landing operations in an environment with sufficient atmospheric density.

Abstract: The United States has successfully landed five robotic systems on the surface of Mars. These systems all had landed mass below 0.6 metric tons (t), had landed footprints on the order of hundreds of km and landed at sites below -1 km MOLA elevation due the need to perform entry, descent and landing operations in an environment with sufficient atmospheric density. Current plans for human exploration of Mars call for the landing of 40-80 t surface elements at scientifically interesting locations within close proximity (10's of m) of pre-positioned robotic assets. This paper summarizes past successful entry, descent and landing systems and approaches being developed by the robotic Mars exploration program to increased landed performance (mass, accuracy and surface elevation). In addition, the entry, descent and landing sequence for a human exploration system will be reviewed, highlighting the technology and systems advances required.

282 citations