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Field Robotics Center Seminar


Steve Chien and Jagriti Agrawal Senior Research Scientist and Technical Staff Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
September 10, 2019
4:00 pm
- 5:00 pm
3305 Newell-Simon Hall
AI in Space – From Earth Orbit to Mars and Beyond!


Artificial Intelligence is playing an increasing role in our everyday lives and the business marketplace. This trend extends to the space sector, where AI has already shown considerable success and has the potential to revolutionize almost every aspect of space exploration.

We first highlight a number of success stories of the tremendous impact of Artificial Intelligence in Space: over a dozen years of operations of the Autonomous Sciencecraft on EO-1, the Earth Observing Sensorweb tracking volcanoes, flooding and wildfires and automated targeting onboard the MER and MSL rovers.

Next we describe how AI-based scheduling is being deployed to NASA’s next rover to Mars, the M2020 rover.

Finally we discuss why AI is essential to the search for life beyond Earth, highlighting the key role of AI in Europa Submersible and Interstellar mission concepts.


Dr. Steve Chien is a Senior Research Scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology where he leads efforts in autonomous systems for space exploration. Dr. Chien has received numerous awards for his research in space autonomous systems including: NASA Medals in 1997, 2000, 2007, and 2015; he is a four time honoree in the NASA Software of the Year competition (1999, 1999, 2005, 2011); and in 2011 he was awarded the inaugural AIAA Intelligent Systems Award. He has led the deployment of ground and flight autonomy software to numerous missions including the Autonomous Sciencecraft/Earth Observing One, WATCH/Mars Exploration Rovers, Earth Observing Sensorwebs, IPEX, ESA’s Rosetta, ECOSTRESS and OCO-3 missions and is currently contributing to onboard and ground scheduling for the M2020 rover mission.

Ms. Jagriti Agrawal is a Member of Technical Staff  in the Artificial Intelligence Group at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology where she works on automated scheduling for the upcoming M2020 Mars Rover mission.