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Mathematical Solution for the attitude of Phoenix lander's radar (rapport de stage)

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  1. Coherent processing for attitude and velocity determination from Phoenix's landing radar
    1. The California Institute of Technology and the NASA JPL
    2. Presentation of the project
    3. The lander attitude control
    4. My experience at Caltech University

I was very lucky to go to the United States and finally get this kind of an internship because, I had been given the opportunity to work in one of the most productive scientific sector of the country, The Californian Institute of Technology. This American college is one of the research centres of the NASA, so this internship is very representative of the American way of working. Everything is put at the researcher's disposal no matter the cost. The only thing that matters is productivity. A solution has to be found and as soon as possible. So the laboratories are impressive and equipped with latest fashion hardware. I worked in the mathematics department of the University, which is just a succession of offices, it was obvious that the only tools used there were mathematicians brains and laptops. I did not have my own office but I had to work in professor Haddad's office who lent me a laptop, that I just used to communicate with the professor when I was not in the office. Indeed, I only used papers and a pen to do the work I was assigned. The professor spent one afternoon with me; he wanted to know more about my mathematics background to see if I was able to make it. Of course I did not know some of the notions I would have to use, but the professor told me he will explain in due course those complex notions I never learned. I have already heard about the Phoenix Mars Lander mission and I knew that the general purpose was to find out if life was possible in Mars, but I didn't know the whole concept, it is a Mars lander that has to take samples and to find frozen water in order to study the history of water in Mars. After presenting me the mission, Ziad Haddad showed me what the problem was with Phoenix. The spaceship has to land vertically because if it is not the case, it won't be able to take off and come back to earth with the samples.

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