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The Mars Sensor Network: Efficient, Energy Aware Communications


Data centric sensor networks will play an important role in planetary explorations. In the future JPL envisions sending in-situ missions with dis- tributed instruments and sensors capable to cooper- ate autonomously and to collect scientific measure- ments (gases, chemicals, temperature, etc.). A lan- der or a rover functioning as a base station collects measurements and relays aggregated results to an or- biter. The wireless, multi-hop communication net- work connecting instruments (sensors) and the rover is functionally similar to the packet radio networks used in other ad hoc networking environments (e.g., automated battlefield, civilian emergencies, group net- working, etc.). Thus, it can exploit some of the pro- tocols recently developed for the latter. This paper proposes a poll-reply scheme in collecting the sensor data. Investigations of this model show an uneven distribution of energy consumption among nodes es- pecially those close to base station. As the energy conservation and the network lifetime are critical is- sues for these small energy constrained sensor nodes, our paper further presents a clustering assisted, en- ergy aware polling model. Using the passive clustering protocol, the approach provides an efficient forward- ing mesh and results in more evenly distributed en- ergy consumption without introducing extra control messages to the network. The network lifetime is pro- longed while maintaining connectivity and satisfying latency constraints.

Paper: PDF file of paper

Information & Date

Proceedings of IEEE MILCOM 2001, McLean, VA, October. 2001


X. Hong
M. Gerla
T. Kwon
P. Estabrook
G. Pei
R. Bagrodia