Autonomous Reflectance Spectroscopy by a Mobile Robot for Mineralogical Characterization

Francisco Calderon
tech. report CMU-RI-TR-07-46, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, May, 2007


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Abstract
Next-generation planetary exploration rovers will soon be able to travel long distances in a single-communication cycle. This offers an enormous opportunity but also an important challenge: robots will need to do science autonomously and understand collected data in order to make more effective exploration decisions.

We have developed a system to obtain spectroscopic measurements on-the-fly, pointing autonomously at geologic targets from the distance using a reflectance spectrometer. Our technology allows a robot to detect surrounding rocks, potentially get hundreds of precise spectral measurements of targets and validate the data, all in one command cycle with no direct human intervention. We have fully implemented our system on Zo?robot, where we have proved to successfully track and aim a variety of geologic targets.

In this work we describe the method, calibration and procedure for spectrometer pointing, explain our approach detecting and localizing rocks and show how we classify targets as rocks or soils based on spectrometer data. These results are relevant for science autonomy systems to help in the buildup of geologic maps of the traversed regions.


Keywords
science autonomy, VIS/NIR spectroscopy, rock detection, autonomous geology

Notes
Sponsor: NASA
Grant ID: NNG0-4GB66G
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Field Robotics Center
Associated Project(s): Science Autonomy
Note: Science on the Fly Project

Text Reference
Francisco Calderon, "Autonomous Reflectance Spectroscopy by a Mobile Robot for Mineralogical Characterization," tech. report CMU-RI-TR-07-46, Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University, May, 2007

BibTeX Reference
@techreport{Calderon_2007_5946,
   author = "Francisco Calderon",
   title = "Autonomous Reflectance Spectroscopy by a Mobile Robot for Mineralogical Characterization",
   booktitle = "",
   institution = "Robotics Institute",
   month = "May",
   year = "2007",
   number= "CMU-RI-TR-07-46",
   address= "Pittsburgh, PA",
   Notes = "Science on the Fly Project"
}