Now that we’ve talked about orbits and human physiology, it’s time to start planning the details of the Malemute Mars Mission and its arrival on Mars. To do this, we need to learn about a new branch of aerospace engineering: remote sensing and surveying. In this unit you should be learning:
- How to plan and program a remote sensing module
- How to collect and organize data from the remote sensing module
- How to create and interpret topographical maps from remotely collected data
In the end, we need to be able to use your own ‘satellite’ to create a topographical map of the unknown Martian surface. As you develop your remote sensing solution, you’ll go through three major steps:
- STEP 1: Learn about unmanned systems & exploration
- STEP 2: Build, program, and test your remote sensing satellite
- STEP 3: Create a topographic map of the unknown Martian surface
When you’re all done, you and your team will have designed a remote sensing satellite, collected data on the unexplored surface of Mars, and created a topographic map of your rover’s landing site! You also will have built two quadcopters and practiced flying them.
To get started with unmanned systems, we need to begin by learning about the kinds of unmanned vessels used in space. We’ll start with a quick look at remote surveying satellites both on Earth and in other places in space. Then we’ll look at rovers of different kinds to think about how groups like NASA needed to design them in order to accomplish specific tasks.
You’ll also be asked to identify an Unmanned System that interests you and do some research to find out how it was made and how it is used. These ideas together will give us a good perspective as we start designing our own remote satellites.
GRADING & PROCESS
Take 1 full page of detailed notes on unmanned systems and robot exploration
Complete your own “Unmanned Systems Investigation”
Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes and investigation
Getting Satellites to Space
LiDAR Remote Sensing
Remote Sensing 1
As our Malemute Mars Mission continues into Phase 3, our job is to design, build, and program a remote satellite. Once our satellite is constructed, we’ll be able to use it to collect elevation data on the potential landing site for our Mars Mission. To make this work, you and your team will need to decide what system you want to build with (FTC, VEX, Arduino, etc), and then construct a device that can collect the data we need.
Your job as a team will then be to build and program your data collection satellite. You’ll be able to test and practice to make sure it works, but once it blasts off for Mars you won’t be able to make any changes!
GRADING & PROCESS
Discuss the problem with your team and clearly define your design brief in your engineering notebook
Design your satellite following the given parameters
Build your satellite following the design plan you and your team made
Program your satellite to collect the necessary data – be sure to test your design to make sure it works as needed!
Have Mr. Benshoof review your design before it blasts off for Mars
Remote Sensing 2
Active vs Passive Sensing
With your surveying satellite complete, it’s time to send it Mars and get some data! Your satellite is able to get into Martian orbit pretty quickly, and now you get to use it to collect data on the landing site. This data can then be used to create a topographic map of the area for use in planning your rover’s journey in the next unit. The best map you can make here will really help you as you try to navigate the Martian surface later on!
For this final part of the unit, your team will run your satellite’s program as many times as you’d like to collect the best data you can on terrain elevation and any other pieces of information you find important. Once this is done, you’ll use Excel to create topographic maps of elevation and other variables to help you in planning your rover’s travels.
GRADING & PROCESS
Run your satellite’s program to collect data
Use Excel to turn your data into topographic maps
Complete the Remote Surveying reflection in your engineering notebook
Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your data and maps!
Part 1 Resources
Part 2 Resources