Principle Technologist for NASA's Game Changing Development Programme, Dr Robert Ambrose will be delivering a Distinguished Lecture at the School of Informatics on 27th September. He is also the first speaker in the new series of Informatics Ventures 'IV Tuesday' events.
Dr. Ambrose is primarily interested in ideas that will change how humans explore space.
Robotic Caretakers: Enabling the Pre-Deployment Approach to Human Space Exploration
A new approach to human exploration will be presented: using robots to pre-deploy and support equipment, facilities and logistics in advance of human arrival at other worlds. The benefits of the pre-deployment approach will be outlined, including mass and cost savings as well as the benefit of testing transportation systems with non-human payloads before risking astronaut’s lives. Next, the challenge of deploying and tending the equipment and facilities before human arrival will be described and mapped to the needed robotic functions. Lessons learned from the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station will be presented, where a mix of humans and robot work today. For destinations as far away as the Mars surface, NASA’s new robots will be on their own for potentially many years and at distances that will require increasing levels of autonomous operation. Once humans arrive, the robots must be safe around people and transition from caretaking into crew assistance roles.
The talk will describe robots in development at NASA that are able to perform these setup and caretaking functions, enabling this new approach to human exploration. Lastly, terrestrial applications for this robotic caretaker technology will be mentioned for use in tending facilities here on earth that are remote or dangerous, applying space technology to improving life on Earth.