The Mt. Erebus Explorer Control System

Daniel A. Christian
tech. report CMU-RI-TR-93-19, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, June, 1993

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In January 1992, NASA started a unique one-year project in competitive robotics. The objective was to demonstrate robotic technologies for a scientific mission in the Mars-like environment of Antarctica. A unique robot was built to rappel into an active volcano and retrieve pristine gas samples from near the convecting magma lake. Dante was deployed in Mt. Erebus, Antarctica December 1992 through January 1993.

The Mt. Erebus explorer, Dante, is an eight legged frame walker that can rappel down rugged terrain at slopes up to 90 degrees. Systematic constraints require Dante's control system to be highly capable, compact, lightweight, and field worthy.

This paper describes the multi-processor control system that is responsible for coordinated motion control, foot fall sequencing, science control, dead reckoning, image collection, temperature regulation, and system safety. The critical control software, physical implementation, and field experiences are discussed.

Sponsor: NASA, NSF
Grant ID: NAGW-2998, Ant.Res. Prgm. S-081
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Field Robotics Center
Associated Project(s): Dante I
Number of pages: 29

Text Reference
Daniel A. Christian, "The Mt. Erebus Explorer Control System," tech. report CMU-RI-TR-93-19, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, June, 1993

BibTeX Reference
   author = "Daniel A Christian",
   title = "The Mt. Erebus Explorer Control System",
   booktitle = "",
   institution = "Robotics Institute",
   month = "June",
   year = "1993",
   number= "CMU-RI-TR-93-19",
   address= "Pittsburgh, PA",