Carnegie Mellon University
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Head: Peter Coppin
Contact: Peter Coppin
Mailing address:
Carnegie Mellon University
Robotics Institute
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Associated center(s) / consortia:
 Field Robotics Center (FRC)
In 1998, the EventScope team created the first and only educational tool to give students hands-on experience of a NASA mission site. In 2000, that tool--Big Signal--was expanded and improved.

Now, we will create an entirely new tool students can use to visit other planets.

The visual interface will simulate a telerobotics control room, with each student or student team operating a simulated robot modeled on the one NASA used in that module's mission. Each student or team will interact with an onscreen team of characters representing professional scientists and engineers. These characters will convey contextual information related to the mission, as well as linking to information about their specialties. Students will be able to ask these characters questions via email, receiving answers that are actually from participating professional scientists. At specific milestones, students and teachers will be able to share information with other classes involved in the same modules. A decentralized community of students, educators and scientists will be created.

The project's technical goals fall into three main categories:

  • Generating interactive, viewer-navigable 3D models based on real-world 3D data gathered by remotely operated robots (Mars Sojourner / Pathfinder and others)
  • Masking NASA's powerful but extremely complex visualization tools so that students and educators can use them without extensive training
  • Developing a cross-platform stand-alone program that works in conjunction with existing Web browsers
These three goals are interdependent, and achieving them will result in a technical capability that could in principle be used as a medium for many different kinds of educational content, targeting any K-12 or beyond age group.