jME for NASA?

My name is Jeff Norris, and I supervise the Planning Software Systems group at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  I have an opportunity for a summer student internship / part-time job (if you live near LA) that I think would be a lot of fun for the right kind of developer (or two).

My group develops a tool called Maestro, which is the data visualization and activity planning tool for the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Rovers. We're hard at work on the version of our tool that will be used for the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory Rover Mission.  It's hard to develop an operations tool for a robot that hasn't been built yet, so we'd like to have a lightweight simulator that can serve as a stand-in for us until the real robot is built so that we can test Maestro and train the operations team before the mission is launched.

This simulator, which we're calling Rehearsal, needs to be a virtual 3D Mars environment inhabited by a simulated rover that's capable of doing the following:

1.  Executing rover activity plans generated by Maestro (ie, drive here, deploy the arm there, take a picture of that)

2.  Acquiring images from its cameras when directed, storing them in the correct mission formats, and indexing them in the official mission data product catalog

3.  Returning basic simulated telemetry

4.  (Possibly) Simulating some of the scientific instruments on the rover

Rehearsal isn't intended to be a precise robot simulator - we already have those.  Rehearsal needs to be lean and lightweight "sounding board" for Maestro that can support multiple simultaneous "missions" for different users.  Depending on our results, we may ultimately release Rehearsal as part of a public outreach / education system.

In order to get something up and running quickly, we'd like to base Rehearsal on an existing 3D game engine.  Maestro is written entirely in Java, so naturally the Java Monkey Engine looks like a great candidate.

Our ideal candidate would be a jME expert with strong organization and communication skills.  We need someone who's able to work independently and take responsibility for a lot of the design aspects of this project.

If you're interested, please send me an email at jnorris At jpl DOT nasa DOT gov with a resume and a few thoughts about how you'd go about building Rehearsal.  Please indicate your availability for part-time work starting right away or a summer internship or both.

Thank you!

Jeff Norris

Supervisor, Planning Software Systems Group

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Sounds very exciting, if only i lived near the USA

Good choice of game engine btw

Would be great to see jME do something "grown up" for a change kidding

Games are plenty grown-up.  :stuck_out_tongue:

I agree though that this will be a nice change of pace for jME though.

If only I weren't already gainfully employed and had my summers off, haha!

Sounds like a very interesting project, when it gets started it'll be interesting to hear about NASA's experience using jME.

Also once the project gets started I'm sure the jME community will help with the development anyway they can (these forums are great resources).

If you're looking for a good way to recruit student help on a project, check out Google's Summer Of Code :

Perhaps the JPL could open source the Rehearsal project and then participate in Google's summer of Code with it. The only issue would be that it'd need to be an "active" project and if it's just starting I don't know if it'd qualify. Also Google is the one who pays the student not the organization, so I don't know how that would work out for NASA.

What are the eligibility requirements for mentor organizations?

Mentor organizations must be organizations or individuals running an active and viable open source or free software project whose applications are approved by Google's Open Source Program Office. Organizations based in Iran, Cuba, Sudan, North Korea and Myanmar (Burma), with whom we are prohibited by U.S. law from engaging in commerce, are ineligible to participate. Please see our <a href="">Terms of Service</a> for additional stipulations and requirements.

Even the jME project itself could participate in Google's Summer Of Code, but there'd need to be some concrete projects that they want developed. So maybe if someone comes up with a good project proposal that would help advance jME or something that uses jME then maybe google would fund it.

Are you sure that applicants can't work from the UK?. With broadband connections, web cams and headsets, communications are not as bad as they once were for remote workers :).

I ask because I would love to put NASA/JPL on my CV :slight_smile:


This might be a good thing to point to on the main site.

Has there been any further developments here?

renanse said:

This might be a good thing to point to on the main site.

It just got pushed off the front page pretty quickly because only three new posts are show at a time.  This was partly what prompted the conversation in the DZone and Forum Link threads about setting up a new thingy for the main site that has better news capabilities.