NASA has given you the task of writing a really fast image-recognition program, fast enough that a Venusian CAT (Commercial Access Transport) is able to capture touchdown sites from topographic images made by the VERMIN satellite (VEnusian Radar Imaging and Networking satellite) while passing over the mapped area at a speed of 1000 km/hour. The VERMIN image maps are of a 5 km × 5 km area and have 0.5 m resolution both horizontally and in altitude. Appropriate landing sites are areas in which there is a 1.5 m maximum altitude variation within a 25 m circle. (Fairly large and relatively flat areas are needed for the CAT to land gracefully.) Create sample image maps of imperfect terrain; NASA will send you detailed VERMIN maps once your firm has demonstrated the capabilities of its CATs. For background information, read the paper on detecting runways by Huertas, Cole, and Nevatia (1990).

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