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Load Balanced, Energy-Aware Communications for Mars Sensor Networks


The deployment and operation of self-organizing sensor networks is envisioned to play a key role in space exploration, such as for future in situ exploration of Mars. Sensors are equipped with several measurement instruments and are able to cooperate autonomously and to collect scientific measurements (seismic, chemicals, temperature, etc.). One or more landers or rovers functioning as base stations periodically (or on demand) collect measurements and relay the aggregated sensor field results to an orbiter and from the orbiter back to Earth. In this paper, we propose an efficient routing scheme for Mars sensor networks exploiting the similarity of operations between the wireless, multi-hop communications network connecting instruments (sensors) and rover(s) and the packet radio network used in a typical ad hoc networking environment. A critical issue in routing strategy design that sets the Mars sensor network apart from conventional ad hoc networks is energy conservation and prolonging network lifetime while maintaining connectivity and satisfying latency constraints. To address this issue, we propose a multi-path routing scheme that builds a mesh structure for data reply which reduces the congestion and improves the energy efficiency and the reliability in data delivery. Each data packet is delivered to the base station using one of the multiple paths according to dynamic changing metrics. The balance among multiple paths that considers the energy usage at neighbors is further considered in path selection, which leads to efficient utilization of the relay nodes and prevents early death of heavily involved nodes. Simulation results show that with energy aware path selection, a more even distribution of energy consumption among nodes is developed and leads to longer network life time. 1

Paper: PDF file of paper

Information & Date

Proceedings of IEEE Aerospace 2002, Bigsky, March. 2002


X. Hong