The Mexar (Mars EXpress ARchitecture) project represents a successful example of the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques for Planning and Scheduling in real application domains. It is the result of the study "Efficient Planning Algorithms for an Interplanetary Mission" conducted by the ISTC's Planning and Scheduling Team for the European Space Agency in the period November 2000 - July 2002, in the context of the Mars Express mission.

From November 2000 to July 2002, PST researchers have studied for ESA-ESOC the problem of data return from Mars Express. It is a particular sub-problem in the complex domain of the Mars Express space mission, consisting of synthesizing the downlink operations that allow Earth-bound transmission of the on-board telemetry (data produced by payload activities and by different on-board devices which monitor the conditions of the spacecraft) during downlink connections. This problem has been named Mars EXpress Memory Dumping Problem (MEX-MDP).

The main aims of the study have been:

The Mexar tool has been successfully delivered to ESA-ESOC in May 2002 and is currently subject to advanced experimentation. For further information, please visit the project site.