Radio Wave based Localization of a Rover for a Small Planetary Body

S. Kanata, H. Nakanishi, T. Sawaragi, T. Yoshimitsu, and I. Nakatani (Japan)


Localization, Two-Way Range Measurement, Radio Wave, Small Bodies


Investigation of small planetary bodies is now at tracted and some missions on asteroids and comets have been realized. S u ch b o d ies are fu ll o f g eo g rap h ical featu res that next demand would be direct surface investigation by a rover. In order to navigate the rover to the specific points, the localization of the rover is required. However, conven tional localization method is not adequate on small bod ies whose size is less than 1[km]. One of the conventional methods, localization by camera images obtained on the rover needs a map made by a mother spacecraft. The reso lution of the map is not enough for the rover’s local view. Another method, localization by observing the movements of stars and the sun has little accuracy. Global positioning system (GPS) is not practical for small planetary bodies because it needs several orbiters. In this paper, we propose a reasonable method which localizes the rover on a small body with reasonable accuracy, with reasonable time and with reasonable resource. This method measures two way range between a rover and a mother spacecraft repeatedly. Even this method uses only one orbiter, the localization ac curacy is estimated about 1[m] assuming ITOKAWA-size asteroidwhoseradiusisatmost600[m].

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