One of the neat aspects of space robotics is the diversity of technical skills required to build and land a rover on Mars. Over the years I’ve been part of the MSL Flight Software, Surface Sampling and Handling (SaSpaH) Systems Engineering, Integrated Vehicle Systems Testing, and Avionics teams. At the moment I am the developer for the flight software engine inside RSVP (Rover Sequencing and Visualization Program), which will be used by Rover Drivers to simulate Curiosity drives, and robotic arm and mechanism operation. I am also the Systems Engineer for the flight software module that co-ordinates all the SaSpaH mechanisms. On landing I will be a Curiosity Rover Planner aka Rover Driver.
As a Rover Driver for the Mars Exploration Rovers I use telemetry and images from Mars to analyze the terrain and generate a sequence of commands to navigate the terrain and control the Instrument Deployment Device (IDD) or Robotic Arm.