Lunar Rover Simulator
Lunar Rover Simulator Team Uses Open Source Software to Develop Mission Control Trainer
Imagine driving down the road and turning the steering wheel to avoid an obstacle. Now imagine it taking up to five seconds for your cars' wheels to actually turn.
The Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) will face this very situation when operating the RCSP rover remotely from Earth. In addition to the time delay, mission control operators will be limited to the point of view of the fore and aft on-board cameras mounted to rover. Therefore, it is vital that the mission control personnel have an opportunity to train on the mission control software before driving the rover on the moon.
The RCSP lunar rover simulator will allow mission control personnel to visualize the rover's response to commands and will allow simulation operators to create various failure conditions and other abnormal scenarios to test the operators responses to those conditions.
The simulator development team is using the open source software tools Blender and Ogre3D to develop this lunar rover simulator. A low-poly 3D model of the RCSP rover was built and textured in Blender 2.59 based on an imported CAD model. The model was then UV texture mapped in Blender and then imported into Ogre3D. Bullet Physics will be used for simulating the locomotion of the rover and its interactions with the lunar landscape within Ogre3D.
A Computer Engineering senior design group at the University or Alabama in Huntsville (UAHuntsville) is helping to develop the lunar rover simulator tools.
RCSP lunar rover model in Blender 2.59
RCSP lunar rover model rendered with Ogre3D in an early form of the simulator
Project Tools and Goals:
- Blender for creating models
- Ogre3D for creating and rendering a 3D virtual environment
- Bullet Physics for simulating the locomotion of the rover and its interactions with the lunar landscape
- Create a realistic training simulator and software prototyping testbed
- Allows the rover operators to train without physical hardware
- Allows the simulator operators to create various failure conditions and other abnormal scenarios for training rover operators (losing a wheel, low voltage, stuck wheel, failed subsystem, etc)
- Allows us to simulate the effects of various hardware, environmental, and software configurations.
Links for Lunar Rover Simulator Tools