Validating Mission Relevance of Autonomy Technologies through Increased Science Return
Howard, Ayanna M.
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The focus of this paper is to present a methodology for validating the relevance of autonomy technologies to current and future space missions. In this paper, we will discuss the objectives of NASA space exploration missions and explain the requirements needed for autonomy technology to achieve mission goals. By focusing on the underlying purpose of the mission, that of maximizing scientific yield, we will analyze how autonomy technologies address achievement of mission objectives. We will discuss how technologies such as reasoning, planning, and autonomous control, have a direct influence on mission success. The methodology proposed breaks down mission components into operational functions, and discusses how technologies, based on performance metrics, enable achievement of these functions and increases in science return. Specific examples of validating autonomy technologies applied to surface exploration missions will be provided.