JPL Excel VBA Project
NASA JPL approached EMAGENIT with a complex engineering problem. Develop a GUI design environment in Excel VBA for Windows and Mac that allows JPL to rapidly command and integrate C code written for the Mars Rover program. The GUI environment was to allow JPL to rapidly simulate the power usage of future Mars rovers. It was also to allow rapid creation and editing of the rover’s daily mission profile. It was called the Mission Scenario Design Workbench.
Using a combination of Excel, VBA, C, and Apple Script among other things, EMAGENIT with its JPL counterparts were able to rapidly develop an integrated design environment. As you noticed from the list, everything used in the program was “prebuilt” allowing it to be rapidly developed and tested. The idea was not to redevelop program parts or tools that already existed, but to use Excel / VBA as an integration platform to make them all work together.
Simple, Excel's unmatched versatility. Excel and VBA have the capability to create dedicated apps that can surpass programs written in stand alone languages. The strength’s of using Excel VBA are simple: everybody knows how to use it; GUIs and code can be rapidly developed and updated; and it can communicate with multiple data sources and languages. Since Excel elements are pre-built, project development time and cost are drastically reduced.
Current Mars Rovers
Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. Perseverance is a real hot rod cursing at a max speed of .074 mph across Mars and it even comes equipped with its very own drone. If you wish to read more about Percy click here >.
Overview: The Mars Perseverance rover mission is part of NASA's Mars Exploration Program and addresses high-priority science goals including whether life existed on Mars. The mission not only looks for signs if Mars was habitable in the ancient past, but also searches for signs of microbial life from the past as well.
The rover has many advanced features including a drill that can collect core samples of promising Martian rocks and soils and set them aside in a "cache" for later pickup. It will also demonstrate technologies that address the challenges of future human expeditions like producing oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. Percy will also work on identifying other resources like subsurface water; improving landing techniques; and determining environmental conditions that can affect future manned missions.
Ingenuity is a robotic helicopter drone that is designed to fly in the Martian atmosphere. In other words, go to about 100,000 ft in our atmosphere and those are its starting flight conditions on the Martian ground. If you wish to read more about Ingenuity click here >.
Overview: The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstrator that tests powered, controlled flight on another world. It hitched a ride to Mars on the Perseverance rover. Once Percy reached a suitable "airfield" location, it released Ingenuity to the surface so it could perform a series of test flights. Now that the demonstration phase is over, it will be testing how scouting and other functions can benefit future missions.
Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 and has been zooming at .0125 mph around making some awesome discoveries. You can read about them here >.
Overview: 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)