Testing advanced navigation systems for planetary landers and rovers

S. Parkes, M. Dunstan, I. Martin, M. McCrum, O. Dubois-Matra

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    The PANGU (Planet and Asteroid Natural Scene Generation Utility) is a software tool for simulating and visualising the surface of various planetary bodies. This tool was designed to support the development of active or passive computer vision systems on board planetary landers. PANGU can be used to generate an artificial surface representative of the Moon, Mercury, Mars or asteroids and to rapidly provide images of the simulated planetary body. Given the position and orientation of a camera above the surface, PANGU generates the corresponding image. PANGU has been designed to give a high degree of realism while operating at near real-time speeds to enable closed loop simulation of complete vision-based navigation systems. PANGU was developed by the University of Dundee for ESA and is now being used on several ESA studies and development projects aimed at producing precise, robust planetary lander guidance systems. This paper aims to provide project managers and systems engineers working on planetary lander missions with an overview of the capabilities of PANGU. Images of highly realistic synthetic planet surfaces produced by PANGU are presented. Recent work on the use of PANGU for rover navigation simulation will also be presented.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication60th International Astronautical Congress 2009, IAC 2009
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Artificial surfaces
    • Closed-loop simulations
    • Computer vision system
    • Development project
    • Guidance system
    • Natural scenes
    • Navigation simulation
    • Planet surface
    • Planetary bodies
    • Project managers
    • Software tool
    • Systems engineers
    • Vision-based navigation system


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