Mars Rover : laser focusing and optimization
- Author(s): Barkley, Walter Clifford;
- et al.
This thesis was initiated through the requirements of the ChemCam instrument team at Los Alamos National Laboratory to obtain a backup method for focusing a laser on the 2009 Mars Scientific Laboratory (MSL) rover. The ChemCam instrument uses Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyze the chemical composition of material on the Martian surface. The primary focus system uses a laser range-finder, charge-coupled device (CCD) and auto- focusing algorithm to focus the LIBS laser. The backup system, developed in this project, employs signal processing and optimization techniques to mitigate the risk of an inoperable instrument due to range-finder failure. These techniques have resulted in the development of algorithms and software code listed in Appendices B and C which can be loaded on the rover's computer before launch or uploaded from Mission Control to the Mars rover after arrival. The scope of this work is limited to: focusing algorithm for the LIBS laser to produce plasma on target and optimizing the laser focal length to maximize the intensity of light signal returning from the plasma. A range of signal processing techniques are considered and a one-dimensional optimization is implemented