Friday, August 7, 2009

AUVSI and ISU Presentations

Presentations were recently made to two local groups that featured the exploration rovers that were recently acquired by the Northern California chapter of the Mars Society.

Dr. Chris McKay, Geoff Chu and Andrew Klofas discussed the rovers and their purpose with an enthusiastic crowd at the August 4th meeting of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Silicon Valley chapter (AUVSI-SV), held at the Flight Operations Center at Moffett Field. Attendees enjoyed the opportunity to control one of the rovers on the lawn in front of the Flight Operations Building.

One of the attendees of the meeting requested a rover demonstration for an educational outreach project he is affiliated with, and another expressed interest in helping prepare the rovers for their intended uses. One rover will be stationed at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS), a Mars analog research facility in Utah sponsored by the Mars Society. The other rover is earmarked for the Mars Society's education outreach program in the Bay area.

On August 7th, David Bushman, President of the AUVSI-SV, assisted by Geoff Chu and Andrew Klofas, spoke to a group of approximately 25 systems engineering students and staff at the International Space University (ISU) at the ISU campus near NASA Ames in Mountain View. Geoff and Andrew demonstrated the rovers' capabilities while David Bushman talked about the rovers' abilities and potential uses, including the ability to operate in fragile environments such as the cryptobiotic soil crusts in the Mojave Desert without damaging them, making them an important tool in investigating similar fragile life forms. He also discussed the Mars Society's rover programs for educational outreach intentions and for the Mars Desert Research Station. David, Geoff and Andrew answered many questions about the rovers and their use in research.

Thanks to David Bushman and Shirley Brim for this report. Below, attendees of the ISU presentation.

1 comment:

Scott said...

I was able to attend and speak a bit at the ISU presentation that David held. It went very well and the students and faculty who attended it seemed to really enjoy the robots.

Andrew was showing off his new high-performance maxkernel software on the MAX 5J, practically performing stunts with it. I think it will be really impressive when he gets it finished.