MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICE
JET PROPULSION LABORATORY
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION
PASADENA, CALIF. 91109 TELEPHONE (818) 354-5011
Contact: John G. Watson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASESeptember 10, 1998
JPL EVENING LECTURES EXPLORE ROBOTIC TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT
Now that the Sojourner rover on Mars has shown the world
that a small microrover on the surface of a planet can accomplish
many useful science tasks, what does the future hold?
Charles "Chuck" Weisbin, manager of the Robotics and Mars
Exploration Technology Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory, will present "Robotic Explorers: Enablers of Exciting
New Discoveries" at a free public lecture to be held twice this
month, on Thursday, Sept.17 at 7 p.m. in JPL's von Karman
Auditorium, and on Friday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in The Forum at
Pasadena City College. Reservations are not necessary, but
seating is on a first come, first served basis. Parking is free.
In his illustrated lecture, Weisbin will discuss exciting
examples of robotic technology, including machines that burrow
down through surfaces, fly to deposit payloads in different
geological regions, "hop" for many tens of meters in gravity-free
environments, and roam planetary surfaces for almost a year to
select appropriate samples to return to Earth. These robots will
range in size from "nanorovers," which weigh less than 100 grams
for full robotic systems, to microrovers, weighing from five to
40 kilograms. Inflatable systems from rovers and antennas to
solar arrays and solar sails, all compact as origami when stowed,
will expand on arrival to larger volumes.
The connection between new research, terrestrial
demonstrations and future missions will also be discussed, along
with ways that robotic technologies enable sample selection and
sample return to Earth from Mars and small bodies such as comets
and asteroids. Further information about JPL's robotics
activities is available at
JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology.
This lecture is part of the monthly von Karman Lecture Series,
sponsored by the JPL Media Relations Office. A web site about the
series is located at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/lecture/. For
further details, call (818) 354-5011.