AE Unit 9: Remote Surveying

Creating, programming, and using a satellite to survey the Martian surface

REMOTE SURVEYING OVERVIEW

Now that we’ve talked about orbits and human physiology, it’s time to start planning the details of the Malemute Mars Mission and its arrival on Mars.  To do this, we need to learn about a new branch of aerospace engineering: remote sensing and surveying. In this unit you should be learning:

  • How to plan and program a remote sensing module
  • How to collect and organize data from the remote sensing module
  • How to create and interpret topographical maps from remotely collected data

In the end, we need to be able to use your own ‘satellite’ to create a topographical map of the unknown Martian surface. As you develop your remote sensing solution, you’ll go through three major steps:

  • STEP 1: Learn about unmanned systems & exploration
  • STEP 2: Build, program, and test your remote sensing satellite
  • STEP 3: Create a topographic map of the unknown Martian surface

When you’re all done, you and your team will have designed a remote sensing satellite, collected data on the unexplored surface of Mars, and created a topographic map of your rover’s landing site!  You also will have built two quadcopters and practiced flying them.

PART 1: UNMANNED SYSTEMS

(10 pts) About 2 days

Our first job is to learn about the kinds of things that unmanned systems are doing.  We spent some time last semester looking at quadcopters, and this semester we’ll consider satellites, rovers, and other objects used in remote operations.

PART 2: DESIGN & PROGRAMMING

(30 pts) About 3 days

One of the biggest challenges of the semester is developing and programming your team’s satellite.  In this part of the unit you’ll need to choose a system to build with (FTC, VEX, Arduino, etc) and then build a satellite that can collect the necessary data as it scans the Martian surface.

PART 3: REMOTE SURVEYING

(30 pts) About 4 days

Finally, with our satellite system all ready to go, we’ll send it to Mars and start collecting data!  Our Malemute Mars Mission needs to survey and explore the mission site before sending people to it.  With our satellite, we’ll be able to create a topographic map of the area so that we can eventually pilot our rover across the surface.

Part 1: Unmanned Systems

Investigating the role that satellites, rovers, and other unmanned vessels play

Systems Diagram

To get started with unmanned systems, we need to begin by learning about the kinds of unmanned vessels used in space.  We’ll start with a quick look at remote surveying satellites both on Earth and in other places in space.  Then we’ll look at rovers of different kinds to think about how groups like NASA needed to design them in order to accomplish specific tasks.

You’ll also be asked to identify an Unmanned System that interests you and do some research to find out how it was made and how it is used.  These ideas together will give us a good perspective as we start designing our own remote satellites.

GRADING & PROCESS

Take 1 full page of detailed notes on unmanned systems and robot exploration

Complete your own “Unmanned Systems Investigation”

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes and investigation

Unmanned Systems

Robot Exploration

Unmanned Systems Investigation

What’s Due In Part 1: Unmanned Systems

  • Notes
  • Investigation
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation

Here’s what’s due in Part 1: Unmanned Systems

  1. Take a full page of careful notes on unmanned systems and robots
  2. Complete your own Unmanned Systems Investigation
  3. Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your notes & investigation

Part 2: Design & Programming

Design, build, and program your remote satellite

Malemute Mars Mission Phase 3 Overview

As our Malemute Mars Mission continues into Phase 3, our job is to design, build, and program a remote satellite.  Once our satellite is constructed, we’ll be able to use it to collect elevation data on the potential landing site for our Mars Mission.  To make this work, you and your team will need to decide what system you want to build with (FTC, VEX, Arduino, etc), and then construct a device that can collect the data we need.

Your job as a team will then be to build and program your data collection satellite. You’ll be able to test and practice to make sure it works, but once it blasts off for Mars you won’t be able to make any changes!

GRADING & PROCESS

 Discuss the problem with your team and clearly define your design brief in your engineering notebook

 Design your satellite following the given parameters

 Build your satellite following the design plan you and your team made

 Program your satellite to collect the necessary data – be sure to test your design to make sure it works as needed!

 Have Mr. Benshoof review your design before it blasts off for Mars

Satellite Design

 

Satellite Build

Satellite Program

What’s Due In Part 2: Design & Programming

  • Design Brief
  • Satellite Design
  • Satellite Build
  • Satellite Program
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Review

Here’s what’s due in Part 2: Design & Programming

  1. Create a design brief in your engineering notebook
  2. Design your remote satellite
  3. Build your remote satellite
  4.  Program your remote satellite
  5. Have Mr. Benshoof review your satellite before firing it into space

Part 3: Remote Surveying

Collect data on the Martian surface and create a topographic map

Maps in Microsoft Excel

With your surveying satellite complete, it’s time to send it Mars and get some data!  Your satellite is able to get into Martian orbit pretty quickly, and now you get to use it to collect data on the landing site.  This data can then be used to create a topographic map of the area for use in planning your rover’s journey in the next unit.  The best map you can make here will really help you as you try to navigate the Martian surface later on!

For this final part of the unit, your team will run your satellite’s program as many times as you’d like to collect the best data you can on terrain elevation and any other pieces of information you find important.  Once this is done, you’ll use Excel to create topographic maps of elevation and other variables to help you in planning your rover’s travels.

GRADING & PROCESS

Run your satellite’s program to collect data

 Use Excel to turn your data into topographic maps

 Complete the Remote Surveying reflection in your engineering notebook

 Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your data and maps!

What’s Due In Part 3: Remote Surveying

  • Satellite Runs
  • Data & Maps
  • Reflection
  • Mr. Benshoof’s Confirmation

Here’s what’s due in Part 3: Remote Surveying

  1. Run the satellite to collect data
  2.  If you have extra time, give your Bug Bot that special touch by painting, lasering, or making stickers to customize it!
  3.  Complete remote surveying reflection
  4. Have Mr. Benshoof confirm your data and maps!

Double Check: Unit Expectations

Check what you need to have completed by the unit deadline

The purpose of this unit is to help us understand what it’s like for aerospace engineers to try and collect information about other planets when it currently is not possible to send people there. NASA and other space organizations have spent decades trying to exactly this kind of work to better understand the surface of all the planets in our galaxy.  In this unit you should have worked with your team to understand the elements that go into remote sensing design, and how to collect and map out data.

Engineering Notebook:

(Part 1) You should have taken careful notes on unmanned systems and robots

(Part 2) You should have created a design brief in your notebook that includes criteria and constraints

(Part 3) You should have completed the remote surveying reflection

Building & Making:

(Part 1) You should have completed your individual Unmanned Systems Investigationlete

(Part 3) You should have worked with your team to design, build, and program your satellite

(Part 3) You should have used your satellite to collect data on the Martian surface and created maps in Excel

Checkpoints & Quizzes:

(Part 1) Mr. Benshoof should have confirmed your notes on unmanned systems as well as your own investigation

(Part 2) Mr. Benshoof should have approved your satellite design before it is launched to Mars

(Part 3) Mr. Benshoof should have confirmed your final data and maps!