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maio 25, 2008 / pneto

MIT & RIT Creating a 3-D "Super RoadMap" to the Solar System

MIT & RIT Creating a 3-D “Super RoadMap” to the Solar System: “Think of it as a GoogleMaps to the Solar System: a 3-D ‘super roadmaps’ of other planets and moons that will provide robots, astronauts and engineers with the details about atmospheric composition, biohazards, wind speed and temperature -information that could help land future spacecraft and more effectively navigate roving cameras across a Martian or lunar terrain. Manned and robotic missions navigating on other bodies in our solar system will have the ability to find landmarks and destinations to point them in the right direction.
RIT scientist Donald Figer and his team are developing a new type of detector that uses LIDAR (LIght Detection and Ranging), a technique similar to radar, but which uses light instead of radio waves to measure distances. The project will deliver a new generation of optical/ultraviolet imaging LIDAR detectors that will significantly extend NASA science capabilities for planetary applications by providing 3-D location information for planetary surfaces and a wider range of coverage than the single-pixel detectors currently combined with LIDAR.
The LIDAR imaging detector will be able to distinguish topographical details that differ in height by as little as one centimeter. This is an improvement in a technology that conflates objects less than one meter in relative height. LIDAR used today could confuse a boulder for a pebble, an important detail when landing a spacecraft.
‘The imaging LIDAR detector could become a workhorse for a wide range of NASA missions,’ says Figer, professor in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science and director of the RIDL. ‘It could support NASA’s planetary missions like Europa Geophysical Orbiter or a Mars High-resolution Spatial Mapper.'”

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