Science Goal Driven Automation for NASA Missions: The Science Goal Monitor

Anuradha Koratkar, Jeremy Jones, John Jung, and Sandy Grosvenor

Infusion of automation technologies into NASA’s future missions will be essential not only to achieve substantial reduction in mission operations staff and costs, but also in order to both effectively handle an exponentially increasing volume of scientific data and to successfully meet dynamic, opportunistic scientific goals and objectives. Current spacecraft operations cannot respond to science driven events, such as intrinsically variable or short-lived phenomena in a timely manner. For such investigations, we must teach our platforms to dynamically understand, recognize, and react to the scientists’ goals. While much effort has gone into automating routine spacecraft operations to reduce human workload and hence costs, applying intelligent automation to the science side, i.e., science data acquisition, data analysis and reactions to that data analysis in a timely and still scientifically valid manner, has been relatively under-emphasized. The Science Goal Monitor (SGM), being developed at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, is a prototype software tool being developed to determine the best strategies for implementing science goal driven automation in missions. The tools being developed in SGM improve the ability to monitor and react to the changing status of scientific events. Such tools will be enablers for spacecraft autonomy.

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