Laser Altimeter Used in NASA Project M Posted in: AR3000 Distance Measurement Sensor – Tags: ,

Project M was a proposed project to land an operational humanoid robot on the moon in 1000 days (M is the Roman numeral for 1000). The humanoid (called a Robonaut) would travel to the moon on a small lander fueled by green propellants, liquid methane and liquid oxygen. It would perform a precision autonomous landing, avoiding any hazards or obstacles on the surface. Upon landing, the robot would deploy and walk on the surface performing a multitude of tasks focused on demonstrating engineering tasks such as maintenance and construction; performing science of opportunity (i.e. using existing sensors on the robot or small science instruments); and simple student experiments.

As with most autonomous vehicle projects, the design of the NASA RR-1 Lander required many sensors to fully control its flight. Design engineers contacted Acuity for a solution to measure the altitude of their RR-1 Lander. The AR3000 Distance Sensor was proposed to measure the real-time height of the vehicle to 300 meters above the ground at high sampling speeds.

Eventually the concepts behind Project M were shifted into Project Morpheus, and a customized laser sensor system was developed for Project Morpheus by Acuity.

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AR3000 Distance Measurement Sensor

AR3000 distance measurement sensors are Acuity’s longest-range models. Ideal for measuring positions of cranes and trolleys, the time-of-flight sensor can measure up to 300 meters to natural surfaces and up to 3,000 meters when using a retroreflective target.