NASA Mars MSL Rover Microsoft Excel VBA Project

EMAGENIT worked with NASA JPL to help design conceptual software for the Mars Rover program using Microsoft Excel VBA.

EMAGENIT teamed up with NASA JPL to help create part of its conceptual design software for the Mars Rover in Microsoft Excel VBA. We received a certificate of recognition for the development of a technical innovation called the Mission Scenario Development Workbench. Below is a brief overview of how it was done and why we used Microsoft Excel.

EMAGENIT Nasa Microsoft Excel VBA Project

NASA Mars Rover - Microsoft Excel VBA Project

EMAGENIT Nasa Microsoft Excel VBA Project

NASA Certificate of Recognition Award

EMAGENIT worked with NASA JPL to help design conceptual software for the Mars Rover program using Microsoft Excel VBA.

Introduction

EMAGENIT teamed up with NASA JPL to help create part of its conceptual design software for the Mars Rover in Microsoft Excel VBA.

We received a certificate of recognition for the development of a technical innovation called the Mission Scenario Development Workbench. Below is a brief overview of how it was done and why we used Microsoft Excel.

Our History with NASA

Our Histroy with NASA

EMAGENIT has had a 20 + year relationship with NASA starting in the mid 90's. In the mid 90's, its founder David Hooper, taught Excel VBA courses for NASA JPL Team X, NASA Johnson Space Flight Center and NASA Goddard. In the 2000's, EMAGENIT has provided Excel VBA training at NASA Langley and for NASA Michoud Assembly Facility staff. We have also trained individual personnel from NASA JPL, NASA Goddard,.... During the 2000's, we have also designed software for both NASA JPL and NASA Michoud Assembly Facility. You can read below about our work with NASA JPL and the Mars Rover program.

NASA JPL Microsoft Excel VBA Project - The Problem

NASA Microsoft Excel VBA Project - The Problem

NASA JPL approached EMAGENIT with the following engineering problem: Develop a conceptual design environment in Microsoft Excel VBA for Windows and Excel VBA for Mac that would allow various NASA JPL programs written for the Mars Rover in C to have a better more flexible user interface and also be able to communicate with each other passing design information. These programs acting in unison along with the EMAGENIT Excel VBA interface were to allow NASA JPL to rapidly simulate, early in the conceptual design process, the power usage of future Mars rovers and the rover’s mission profile for each day. It was called the Mission Scenario Design Workbench.

NASA JPL Microsoft Excel VBA Project - How We Did It

NASA Microsoft Excel VBA Project - How We Did It

Using a combination of Microsoft Excel, Visual Basic for Applications, C, Pearl Script, Unix Script and Apple Script among other things, EMAGENIT and its associated JPL team were able to develop an integrated design environment in Microsoft Excel that allows JPL mission planners to rapidly simulate a conceptual Mars missions for future rovers. As you noticed from the list just presented, everything used in the program was “off the shelf” allowing it to be developed and tested rapidly. Most important, the program was designed to run in both Excel for Mac and Excel for Windows.

NASA JPL Microsoft Excel VBA Project - Why Did We Use Microsoft Excel?

NASA Microsoft Excel VBA Project - Why Did We Use Microsoft Excel?

Simple, Microsoft Excel's unmatched versatility. Microsoft Excel in combination with Visual Basic for Applications has the capability to create dedicated applications that rival programs written in stand alone languages like C and Visual Basic. The strength’s of using Excel are everybody already knows how to use it; Excel’s environment provides a set of tools that allows sophisticated interfaces to be developed and rapidly tested; Excel has the unique capability to communicate with multiple data sources and computer languages at once; and a base line program can be rapidly upgraded in a short amount of time. Most of all, since Excel and its functionalities are pre-built; project development time and cost are substantially reduced. The JPL project just mentioned went from conception to finished product in about 4 ½ months.

Interested in the Mars Rovers?

NASA Microsoft Excel VBA Project - Rovers

Opportunity, launched in 2003, is still going strong on the red planet. You can catch up with what it has been up to here.

NASA's twin robot geologists, the Mars Exploration Rovers, launched toward Mars on June 10 and July 7, 2003, in search of answers about the history of water on Mars. They landed on Mars January 3 and January 24 PST, 2004 (January 4 and January 25 UTC, 2004). The Mars Exploration Rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet (Source: NASA).

Curiosity, launched in 2011, is the newest rover to land on the red planet and has been zooming around making some awesome discoveries. You can read about it here.

With its rover named Curiosity, Mars Science Laboratory mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Curiosity was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet's "habitability." (Source: NASA)

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