Analyzing Routing Algorithms in Sensor Networks for Mars Exploration

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Dr. Huszák Árpád
Department of Networked Systems and Services

Discovering unknown territories has always been one of the basic instincts of humanity. Even now, there are places on our planet that are yet to be mapped, but still, because of the technological advancements of the 20th century, the time has come for manmade devices to leave Earth and travel around the Solar system, exposing strange worlds. One of these worlds is Mars. This celestial body has a significant role due to it being relatively close, therefore it was the target of numerous missions. It is important to familiarize ourselves with the Red Planet, because, we have hopes, that man will walk on its surface in this century.

Vast distances are needed to be overcome, so missions like these are extremely expensive. The standard practice in space research are called one-probe missions, when one device is sent to the area of examination and this one machine takes all the measurements. Using sensor networks to map distant planets could be a new cost efficient method in this regard. This design consists of many cheap units opposed to one expensive device. From the many benefits of this strategy I would emphasize robustness, because contrary to one-probe missions the failure of one machine does not put the mission at jeopardy.

In this paper, I examined the operation of such a sensor network. I designed algorithms, which determined the movement of the sensors, then I compared these algorithm’s efficiency, taking into consideration real Martian relief.

For the sake of this examination I implemented a simulation program, which is capable to generate digital elevation models from Martian relief maps and move sensors on this model. In the simulation, I moved the sensors according to the algorithms I created and observed their energy consumption.


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