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DCA Archive

Touching the Moon; Sensing an Asteroid

* Please note there has been a slight change to this event: Dr Iain Martin will be introducing PANGU, and presenting a series of images and videos of real and imaginary planetary surfaces, rather than Professor Steve Parkes*

Landing on the surface of the moon, another planet, a comet or an asteroid is a journey of imagination, scientific discovery and above all engineering challenge. It leads to a new level of perception, an encounter with the unknown and the excitement of exploration.

For the past two decades, the University of Dundee has been engaged in this engineering challenge, designing vision-based navigation systems able to safely guide robotic explorers to a safe landing on the surface of other planets. One of its main achievements is the development of PANGU, a software tool for testing these essential vision-based navigation systems. PANGU is able to create highly realistic planet or asteroid surfaces and simulate a spacecraft with cameras and other sensors approaching and sensing the surface on which it is to land.