Digital Twin Technology in Mars Rover Missions
Digital twin technology has been instrumental to enhancing the efficiency of NASA’s Mars rover projects. This story focuses on Perseverance Rover.
Early Simulations and Testing
NASA leveraged digital twins extensively throughout early development. Detailed virtual models of Perseverance Rover aided in anticipating and planning for the tremendous challenges the rover would face on Mars, according to VirtualCommissioning.com.
NASA used digital twin technology to simulate complex sky crane technology to ensure the rover landed on the Red Planet in one piece.
Soft Terrain Interaction Modeling
A research team from McGill University and Vortex simulated how the rover’s wheels would interact with soft patches on the Red Planet’s surface, according to Virtual Commissioning.
In September 2020, NASA introduced Perseverance Rover’s earthly twin, named OPTIMISM. The high-fidelity replica is used to simulate and test rover operations and troubleshooting.
Touchdown on Mars
After its launch in July 2020, the car-sized Percy rover landed in Mars’ Jezero crater in February 2021.
OPTIMISM and MAGGIE
Percy’s earthly twin, OPTIMISM, lives side-by-side at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in southern California. “Now that we have OPTIMISM, the Perseverance mission is well equipped to learn what they need to succeed on Mars,” Matt Stumbo,, a system integration and test engineer at JPL, said in a NASA news release.