Saturday, October 27, 2007


So what is this all about? Following is the press release our Mars Society chapter put out a few months ago. We are currently waiting for funds to clear NASA's administration, we expect this to be completed in the coming weeks and start assembling the hardware for this project. The engineering, education and MDRS logistics teams are in place, initially staffed and have started discussions on implementation details. If you want to join the chapter and/or contribute to this project please visit the chapter web site you'll find the link below.

Northern California Mars Society/NASA Ames Robot Project Funded by Google

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- The Northern California Chapter of the Mars Society and NASA Ames Research Center have been awarded fifty-thousand dollars ($50K) by Google Incorporated for the "Spaceward Bound Robotic Vehicle Project for Research and Education". The project will purchase and configure two robotic rovers for use in telepresence testing as part of Spaceward Bound. Spaceward Bound is an educational program organized at NASA Ames Research Center in partnership with The Mars Society, and funded by the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) at NASA Headquarters. The Mars Society is a non-profit international organization of volunteers who encourage, promote, and provide outreach and educational opportunities to inspire future explorers and further the goal of the exploration and settlement of Mars.

Graduate and undergraduate students are competitively selected to take part in two-week mission simulations at the Mars Desert Research Station site near Hanksville, Utah. The Mars Desert Research Station is a simulated Mars exploration base, which includes a habitat for human explorers, where research and training for future Mars exploration is conducted. The Mars Society established and operates the Mars Desert Research Station. The students learn a set of skills necessary to do field work in extreme environments on Earth and, by extension, on the Moon and Mars. Teleoperated robotic rovers will be an important part of any Moon or Mars research base. The project will train students to use this tool and have them develop this tool as part of a tool-kit used in field exploration. The rovers will be remotely operated from the habitat in teleoperation mode communicating through a wireless mesh network in the outside area.

In collaboration with the partners of the Spaceward Bound program, members of the Northern California Chapter of the Mars Society will provide the expertise to setup and maintain a robotics research capability located at the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah for use by students, teachers, and scientists. In addition, the project will conduct outreach to students at schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, utilizing a robotic vehicle to promote science and engineering and inspire the next generation of explorers.

Additional information is available at these websites:

Spaceward Bound

Mars Society

Northern California Chapter of the Mars Society

Mars Desert Research Station Daily Logs

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