The Mobile Agents Integrated Field Test: Mars Desert Research Station, April 2003

William J. Clancey, Maarten Sierhuis, Rick Alena, Sekou Crawford, John Dowding, Jeff Graham, Charis Kaskiris, Kim S. Tyree, and Ron van Hoof

The MobileAgents model-based, distributed architecture, which integrates diverse components in a system for lunar and planetary surface operations, was extensively tested in a two-week field “technology retreat” at the Mars Society’s Desert Research Station (MDRS) during April 2003. More than twenty scientists and engineers from three NASA centers and two universities refined and tested the system through a series of incremental scenarios. Agent software, implemented in runtime Brahms, processed GPS, health data, and voice commands—monitoring, controlling and logging science data throughout simulated EVAs with two geologists. Predefined EVA plans, modified on the fly by voice command, enabled the Mobile Agents system to provide navigation and timing advice. Communications were maintained over five wireless nodes distributed over hills and into canyons for 5 km; data, including photographs and status was transmitted automatically to the desktop at mission control in Houston. This paper describes the system configurations, communication protocols, scenarios, and test results.

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