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Collaborative Rover Operations and Planetary Science Analysis System based on Distributed Remote and Interactive Virtual Environments

Activity Code: SPA.2013.2.1-01
Project Reference: 607177
Coordinator:Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt


CROSS DRIVE targets on creating the foundations for collaborative distributed virtual workspaces for European space science. Space exploration missions have produced huge data sets of potentially immense value for research as well as planning and operating future missions. However, currently expert teams, data and tools are fragmented, leaving little scope for unlocking this value through collaborative activities.

The question of how to improve data analysis and exploitation of space-based observations can be answered by providing and standardizing new methods and systems for collaborative scientific visualisation and data analysis, and space mission planning and operation. This will not only allow scientist to work together, with each other's data and tools, but importantly to do so between missions. The consortium brings together unprecedented expertise from space science, scientific visualisation, virtual reality and collaborative systems. The proposed collaborative workspace encompasses various advanced technological solutions to coordinate central storage, processing and 3D visualization strategies in collaborative immersive virtual environments, to support space data analysis.

A specific focus is given to the preparation of the ExoMars 2016 TGO and 2018 rover missions. Three case studies will demonstrate the utility of the workspaces for European space science: Mars atmospheric data analysis, rovers landing site characterization and rover target selection during its real-time operations. The use cases will exploit state-of-the-art science data sets and they will be constructed in view of the ESA ExoMars missions’ scenarios. Impact on beneficiaries will be maximised both through providing an expandable backbone and reusable standardisation and tools, and three levels of workspace for: scientists directly engaged; other external scientists; and the public.


  • The University of Salford, United Kingdom
  • Advanced Logistics Technology Engineering Center SpA, Italy
  • Thales Alenia Space Italia SpA, Italy
  • Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Italy
  • Institut d'Aéronomie Spatiale de Belgique, Belgium
  • National University Corporation Tohoku University, Japan