Expert Guided Rule Based Prioritization of Scientifically Relevant Images for Downlinking over Limited Bandwidth from Planetary Orbiters
Instruments onboard spacecraft acquire large amounts of data which is to be transmitted over a very low bandwidth. Consequently for some missions, the volume of data collected greatly exceeds the volume that can be downlinked before the next orbit. This necessitates the introduction of an intelligent autonomous decision making module that maximizes the return of the most scientifically relevant dataset over the low bandwidth for experts to analyze further. We propose an iterative rule based approach, guided by expert knowledge, to represent scientifically interesting geological landforms with respect to expert selected attributes. The rules are utilized to assign a priority based on how novel a test instance is with respect to its rule. High priority instances from the test set are used to iteratively update the learned rules. We then determine the effectiveness of the proposed approach on images acquired by a Mars orbiter and observe an expert-acceptable prioritization order generated by the rules that can potentially increase the return of scientifically relevant observations.