Automated Equipment and its Software for Mars: Leveraged Approach to Development

Justin J. Milliun, Jr.

Milliun Technologies, LLC

Santa Clara, CA


During exploration and settlement of Mars hosts of automated systems will provide the needed materials, life support, and research functions. Physical distance and communication delays will make special demands on automated systems. In addition, there are real unknowns; one cannot foresee all of the conditions equipment will be used. There may certainly be a "creative" use that save lives of explorers and settlers. This paper considers the software required for such systems, and approaches to development that includes substantial leveraging from existing technology.

Programmable equipment will need to be programmed by those who use and depend on it. The equipment must empower the user. This characteristic is shared by some industrial systems used on earth today. This paper examines standards and practice of automation and communication in the semiconductor manufacturing equipment, where several decades of engineering work has provided a useful model for how many similar problems might be approached for equipment for Mars.

General engineering principles for embedded software for Mars will be discussed. Borrowing from the semiconductor manufacturing equipment industry, this paper examines:

* Generic Equipment Models,

* Equipment communications,

* Generation of "process programs" on site.

By starting with, and leveraging from excellent existing technology, it will be possible to develop equipment destined for Mars that will exceed user expectations and even save development costs.