Architecting the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Sampling and Caching System | Matthew Robinson @JPL logo

Architecting the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Sampling and Caching System | Matthew Robinson @JPL

Oct 06, 2020
"Architecting the NASA Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Sampling and Caching System" - Matthew Robinson (JPL) Abstract: While the NASA Mars 2020 rover may not be considered state of the art in robotics technology, the sampling system is at the forefront of the state of practice for robotic sampling in extreme environments. I will begin this talk with an overview of the Mars 2020 rover mission and mission objectives with a focus on the sampling and caching system. Through the course of the discussion I will highlight many of the challenges faced by operating in an extreme environment, complicated further by design constraints due to limitations on power, weight, and computational processing, and how we addressed those challenges. Biography: Matthew L. Robinson is a senior member of the Robotic Systems Staff Group in the Mobility and Robotic Systems Section at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where he has been since 2001. He has more than 17 years of experience contributing to Mars surface missions. Recently Matt was the Deputy Manager in charge of development and delivery of the Sampling and Caching System for the NASA Mars 2020 rover Perseverance. Post launch he transitioned to Strategic Sampling Operations Lead Engineer responsible for ensuring the sampling and caching system is prepared for surface operations. Previously, Matt was the lead robotic arm systems engineer and robotic arm surface operations lead for the 2011 NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity for which he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement medal. Prior to his work on MSL, he contributed to the 2007 NASA Mars Phoenix Lander mission as the lead robotic arm flight software engineer, robotic arm engineer and surface operator. Matt has a B.S. and Ph.D. from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. “Robotics Today - A series of technical talks” is a new virtual robotics seminar series. The goal of the series is to bring the robotics community together during these challenging times.The seminars are scheduled on Fridays at 3PM EDT (12AM PDT) are open to the public. The format of the seminar consists of a technical talk live captioned and streamed via Web ( and Twitter (@RoboticsSeminar), followed by an interactive discussion between the speaker and a panel of faculty, postdocs, and students that will moderate audience questions.

0:00 Introduction 1:24 Building NASA's Mars 2020 Rover 3:08 Naming The Rover 6:40 Past Mars Missions & Rovers 12:48 Mars 2020 Objectives 20:51 Sampling & Caching System Architecture 27:00 Challenges for the Robotic System 34:46 Force Sensing Enables SCS Functions 38:34 Robotic Arm/Turret 40:20 Surface Preparation & Sample Acquisition 42:44 Docking & Bit Exchange 48:05 Robotic Arm Calibration 49:55 Adaptive Cache Assembly 51:05 Robotic Manipulation 53:00 Communication with the Rover 55:30 Panel Discussion 1:24:43 Concluding Remarks