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Space Science Opportunities Augmented by Exploration Telepresence

Anderson, Robert C. and Adamo, Dan and Jones, Tom and Podnar, Gregg and Artigas, Jordi and Backes, Paul and Badger, Julia and Bailey, Stephen A. and Bell, Jim and Bienhoff, Dallas and Bleacher, Jacob and Blitch, John and Burdick, Joel W. and Burkhardt, Matt and Clark, Benton C. and Fong, Terry and Friedman, Louis and Glick, Paul and Hague, Tyler Nick and Haidegger, Tamas and Hannaford, Blake and Hodges, Kip and Hurtado, José M. and Kerber, Laura and Lazio, T. Joseph W. and Lester, Daniel and Lii, Neal and Lupisella, Mark and Mercer, Cameron and Norris, Jeffrey S. and Pastor, Daniel and Townsend, Julie and Yingst, R. Aileen and Young, Kelsey (2020) Space Science Opportunities Augmented by Exploration Telepresence. , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Since the end of the Apollo missions to the lunar surface in December 1972, humanity has exclusively conducted scientific studies on distant planetary surfaces using teleprogrammed robots. Operations and science return for all of these missions are constrained by two issues related to the great distances between terrestrial scientists and their exploration targets: high communication latencies and limited data bandwidth. Despite the proven successes of in-situ science being conducted using teleprogrammed robotic assets such as Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity rovers on the surface of Mars, future planetary field research may substantially overcome latency and bandwidth constraints by employing a variety of alternative strategies that could involve: 1) placing scientists/astronauts directly on planetary surfaces, as was done in the Apollo era; 2) developing fully autonomous robotic systems capable of conducting in-situ field science research; or 3) teleoperation of robotic assets by humans sufficiently proximal to the exploration targets to drastically reduce latencies and significantly increase bandwidth, thereby achieving effective human telepresence. This third strategy has been the focus of experts in telerobotics, telepresence, planetary science, and human spaceflight during two workshops held from October 3–7, 2016, and July 7–13, 2017, at the Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS). Based on findings from these workshops, this document describes the conceptual and practical foundations of low-latency telepresence (LLT), opportunities for using derivative approaches for scientific exploration of planetary surfaces, and circumstances under which employing telepresence would be especially productive for planetary science. An important finding of these workshops is the conclusion that there has been limited study of the advantages of planetary science via LLT. A major recommendation from these workshops is that space agencies such as NASA should substantially increase science return with greater investments in this promising strategy for human conduct at distant exploration sites.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
Clark, Benton C.0000-0002-5546-8757
Lazio, T. Joseph W.0000-0002-3873-5497
Yingst, R. Aileen0000-0002-0628-4265
Additional Information:© June 8, 2020 Keck Institute for Space Studies. Study Report prepared for the W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) Report Editors: Robert C. Anderson, Dan Adamo, Tom Jones, and Gregg Podnar Part I: October 3–7, 2016 Part II: July 7–13, 2017 Study Co-Leads: Robert C. Anderson, Joel W. Burdick, and Kip Hodges The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the W.M. Keck Institute for Space Studies. This study was carried out in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D0004). Editing and Formatting: Meg Rosenburg Cover Image: Chuck Carter/Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) Header images: NASA, JPL-Caltech, ESA, JAXA, University of Arizona, DLR, UCLA, MPS, IDA, MSSS, NTNU
Group:Keck Institute for Space Studies
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200609-101330976
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:103794
Deposited By: Iryna Chatila
Deposited On:09 Jun 2020 18:36
Last Modified:09 Jun 2020 19:38

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