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 RELEASE September 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
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 http://RMET.jpl.nasa.gov/RMET/ .
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.