Multi-sensor terrain classification for safe spacecraft landing
Howard, Ayanna M.
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A novel multi-sensor information fusion methodology for intelligent terrain classification is presented. The focus of this research is to analyze safety characteristics of the terrain using imagery data obtained by on-board sensors during spacecraft descent. This information can be used to enable the spacecraft to land safely on a planetary surface. The focus of our approach is on robust terrain analysis and information fusion in which the terrain is analyzed using multiple sensors and the extracted terrain characteristics are combined to select safe landing sites for touchdown. The novelty of this method is the incorporation of the T-Hazard Map, a multi-valued map representing the risk associated with landing on a planetary surface. The fusion method is explained in detail in this paper and computer simulation results are presented to validate the approach.