Mars NASA speaker visits campus Feb. 5

2/3/2010 - By: John Trent

A top scientist in charge of mobility and robotics systems for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) will give a presentation on technology development related to NASA’s Mars Rover program from noon to 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5 in the Scrugham Engineering Building, Room 234.

Richard Volpe is manager of the Mobility and Robotic Systems Section at JPL. The section consists of a team of more than 80 robotics engineers who are doing research and spaceflight implementation of robotic systems for Roving, Digging, Ballooning, Drilling and other modes of in-situ planetary exploration.

Such technology development has seen the maturation of key capabilities for deployment of robotic systems to space. Scientific investigation of Mars has been of primary importance with recent operation of the Mars Exploration Rovers and the Phoenix Lander, and construction of the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory rover.

Mars, however, is not the only focus of the team’s ongoing efforts. Prototypes are under development for mobile habitats on the Moon, as well as aerial exploration of Titan and Venus. The presentation will also speak to mission infusion pathways for these challenging scenarios, as well as the most recent results from the Mars exploration experience.

Volpe, in addition to managing the Mobility and Robotic Systems Section, is a member of JPL’s Science and Technology Management Committee, and has been a member of the 2007 Phoenix Mission Robotic Arm Team. From 2001-2004, Volpe served as manager of Mars Regional Mobility and Subsurface Access in JPL’s Space Exploration Technology Program Office.

The seminar is organized by the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the Northern Nevada IEEE. It is also made possibly by the Nevada Space Grant Consortium and the University’s Computer Vision Laboratory.


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