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Tools of the Future: How Decision Tree Analysis Will Impact Mission PlanningThe universe is infinitely complex; however, the human mind has a finite capacity. The multitude of possible variables, metrics, and procedures in mission planning are far too many to address exhaustively. This is unfortunate because, in general, considering more possibilities leads to more accurate and more powerful results. To compensate, we can get more insightful results by employing our greatest tool, the computer. The power of the computer will be utilized through a technology that considers every possibility, decision tree analysis. Although decision trees have been used in many other fields, this is innovative for space mission planning. Because this is a new strategy, no existing software is able to completely accommodate all of the requirements. This was determined through extensive research and testing of current technologies. It was necessary to create original software, for which a short-term model was finished this summer. The model was built into Microsoft Excel to take advantage of the familiar graphical interface for user input, computation, and viewing output. Macros were written to automate the process of tree construction, optimization, and presentation. The results are useful and promising. If this tool is successfully implemented in mission planning, our reliance on old-fashioned heuristics, an error-prone shortcut for handling complexity, will be reduced. The computer algorithms involved in decision trees will revolutionize mission planning. The planning will be faster and smarter, leading to optimized missions with the potential for more valuable data.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Otterstatter, Matthew R.
(Minnesota Univ. MN, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
August 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Summer Student Research Presentations
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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