Field Investigations with Astrobiology Rovers
Associate Research Professor
Time and Place
Auditorium (NSH 1305)
Refreshments 3:15 pm
Talk 3:30 pm
Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe and it covers everything from detecting habitable planets around distant stars to examining amino acids trapped in icy comets. Astrobiology rovers may someday search for evidence of life on the surface of other planets and moons but today they study life surviving in extreme environments here on Earth.
In arctic environments microorganisms can survive in the pore spaces between ice crystals including deep in the Antarctic ice sheet. Whether organisms migrate up from the glacial bed or down from the surface is an important question of origin that can be addressed by looking at how organisms are distributed in the ice. For this study a robotic system must travel long distances and appropriately manage limited resources to collect measurements on polar sheets.
flooded sinkhole in
In this talk I will motivate work in robotic astrobiology by describing these field investigations and the robotic technologies required to conduct them. I will describe current research and progress in efficient mobility, resource-cognizant planning, sustained navigation, and science autonomy. As we explore these terrestrial environments we learn about the technologies and techniques that will enable the next generation of robotic astrobiologists.
David Wettergreen is an Associate Research Professor in the Robotics Institute. He leads projects mapping the distribution of microhabitats in the desert, understanding the migration of organisms in ice, and characterizing life in a subterranean hydrothermal system. He addresses robotic exploration underwater, on the surface, and in air and space, and the necessary ingredients of perception, planning, learning and control for robot autonomy. Dr. Wettergreen’s recent research addresses multi-scale navigation, science autonomy, and remotely-guided investigations.
Dr. Wettergreen obtained
his Ph.D. in Robotics in 1995 from Carnegie Mellon and conducted post-doctoral
For appointments, please contact David Wettergreen (firstname.lastname@example.org).