Model-based Data Analysis

The objective of the Model-based Data Analysis task is to augment the mission information system with tools for design, planning, and analysis of mission observation events. The task is utilizing physics based models to develop information technology tools that simulate mission observations.


Currently the approach of this task is devoted to developing the ability to simulate in-situ observations. An effort has been initiated to model time and the geometric environment as it would be perceived on a non-terrestrial planet. In order to move into large format parallel and distributed immersive information systems, an affordable NT based architecture effort (Micro-Helm) was added to this task to leverage the Next Generation Infrastructure program.


In-situ Mars Mission Tools
Future In-situ experiments on Mars will require a few basic tools to take advantage of the local phenomena created by the planet's rotational and orbital properties. One of the most fundamental tools will be a definition of a Mars local calendar and clock system that is closely correlated to the observable day on Mars.

    • Mars Calendar : The world's first Mars Calendar was created to provide a Mars-centric date system for future Mars missions so that they can have physically meaningful days, months, and seasons that can be correlated with the Earth's Calendar system.marsclock.jpg
    • Mars Clock : The world's first Mars Clock was created to provide a Mars-centric hour system for future Mars missions so that they can have physically meaningful time that corresponds to the geometric relationship between the Sun and the local surface.

Micro-Helm: Distributed/Immersive Mission Simulation Environment
The following basic toolset has been ported to Java and Visual C++ to enable heterogeneous multi-platform distributed modeling and simulation in a Micro-Helm environment. Micro-Helm is an NT-based multi-screen immersive mission simulation environment.

    • Luthor: A lexical analyzer generator program/library, it is a static lexical analyzer generator which creates C++ lexical analyzers in the same sense that lex/flex create lexical analyzers.
    • Sax: A parser generator library/program. It is a static parser generator which cretes C++ parsers in the same sense that yacc/bison/yacc++ create C parsers.
    • OOSPICE: planetary orbit dynamics and spacecraft trajectory propagation library, it is compatible with the JPL/NAIF's SPICE kernels (SPK, CK, & IK).
    • QMV: Quaternions, Matrices, Vectors manipulation library

Mission Observation Environment Modeling
Integration of science discipline and engineering discipline is critical for enhancing the quality of future NASA missions technologically and scientifically. This task proactively pursues multi-disciplinary modeling and simulation.

    • Surface local brightness: More than 5000 Mars Pathfinder images were analyzed to model the relationship between the exposure duration settings and the local sun angles in order to formulate an optimal exposure duration setting algorithm.
    • Planetary Geological Process: A set of basic geological process models have been formulated employing the "self-organization" mathematical theory so that In-situ mission relevant planetary surface properties can be modeled in absence of initial conditions and past observations. This effort will continue in collaboration with the science working group formed by the Programmable Virtual Mission RTOP

This task collaborates with other information technology RTOPs to promote advanced mission engineering environment.

    • Design Language Tools for Virtual Mission Project: All of the lexical analyzers and parsers of the mission system models and operation schedulers of the Virtual Mission project have been created by Sax and Luthor.
    • Payload systems and observation environment modeling: High fidelity mission data product synthesis is performed employing the geometric functions provided by the OOSPICE and QMV.


The products of this task are used in mission planning, design and analysis. The software libraries and tools produced by this task are incorporated in the Virtual Mission toolset and were used in support of DS1 observation planning and sequencing during this year. The software language tools (sax and luthor) continue to support graduate studies in computer science around the world. The Mars Calendar was distributed to the planetary science community, the JPL EC, and the Planetary Society. The sax and luthor tools were delivered to the JPL commercialization office.

Status/Future Plans

  1. Advanced Engineering Environment:Virtual Market Place
    As future NASA missions require collaboration among many distributed entities, it is essential to develop a fair and open collaborative environment that fosters creativity and productivity. Such an environment require the following three basic tools.
    • Agents and Brokers: Entities that represent a developer to other developers, analyze the products of the other developers, and provide intelligent suggestions to the developer.
    • Virtual Commodity: Representation of products that can be employed for comprehensive evaluation by the agents/brokers and the users of interest.
    • Virtual Mission Semiotics: Advanced communication mechanisms that enhances creativity and productivity of the developers and enable them developers to interact with other developers efficiently.
  2. Collaboration
    This task will collaborate with the following three tasks to pursue the advanced engineering environment for future NASA missions.
    • Ripples-Agents and Brokers: distributed infromation infrastructure for an immersive simulation environment
    • Virtual Mission Project: mission-lifecycle modeling and simulation.
    • Intelligent Synthesis Environment: TBD Dr. Richard Weidner, Jet Propulsion Laboratory,, 818 354-2135

Point of Contact
Dr. Richard Weidner
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
(818) 354-2135