By Andy Choi
NVIDIA recently declared that NVIDIA Tesla GPUs has been selected for use by a German team of scientists taking part in a global competition which intends landing a robotic rover on the moon by the year 2015.
Moon Rover 'Asimov' from Part-Time Scientists 1, and 2
The Google Lunar X PRIZE has been developed in order to encourage lunar exploration and presents history’s largest international incentive prize. The first self-sponsored teams that land a rover on the moon’s surface safely, will be presented with total of $30 M. The challenge also involves driving the rover over the lunar surface up to 500 m, followed by transmission of illustrative images and video data to Earth for supporting further analysis and determination.
A Part-Time Scientists (PTS) team was formed comprising 100 German engineers, scientists, and developers, being one among 26 global competing teams. The NVIDIA Tesla GPUs has been installed in various servers and workstations in the mission-control center by the PTS team. The center will serve as a platform for the operation of the Asimov rover. Tesla GPUs will leverage and expedite the computationally intensive applications of the mission including real-time position monitoring of the rover, transmitting and processing high-resolution video and images and simulating vehicle navigation.
Soon after landing Asimov, the computational dexterity of Tesla GPUs will be used by the PTS team to navigate and investigate the activities of rover. From the transmitted stereoscopic 3D images, comprehensive lunar maps will be created. However processing, navigation and transmission with Asimov should be done carefully.
Using NVIDIA GPUs, processing of the massive video feeds produced by the rover can reach up to 5-10X speed. GPU-based computing systems have enough computational power capability for processing and delivering information economically, in real time.