News & Events

HEPL / KIPAC Seminar

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Marco Pavone

Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and
Director, Autonomous Systems Laboratory
Stanford University

Spacecraft/Rover Hybrids for the Exploration of Small Solar System Bodies

Abstract: This talk is divided into two parts. In Part I, I will present a novel mission architecture for the in-situ exploration of small Solar system bodies. In this mission architecture, a mother spacecraft would deploy on the surface of a small body one or more mobility platforms. Each platform would be sealed in an enclosure and would have minimal internal actuation, critically enabled by the microgravity environment. Once deployed, the platforms would behave as spacecraft/rover hybrids, performing attitude-controlled hops for long-range travel and tumbling to reach specific locations. In turn, the mother spacecraft would act as a communication relay to Earth and would perform remote measurements complementing those taken in-situ by the hybrids. I will discuss the scientific rationale, progress to date, and the feasibility issues that still need to be addressed.

In Part II of this talk, I will discuss in detail the application of the aforementioned mission architecture to a reference mission to Phobos, whose aim would be to address both high-priority science identified for Mars' moons and strategic knowledge gaps for the future human exploration in the Martian system.

Bio: Marco Pavone is an Assistant Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University, where he is also Director of the Autonomous Systems Laboratory and holds courtesy appointments in the Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering and in the Information Systems Laboratory.

Before joining Stanford, he was a Research Technologist within the Robotics Section at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He received his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. His main research interests are in the development of methodologies for the analysis, design, and control of autonomous systems, with an emphasis on autonomous aerospace vehicles and large-scale robotic networks.

He is the recipient of a NASA Early Career Faculty award, a Hellman Faculty Scholar Award, and was named NASA NIAC Fellow in 2011. His work has been featured on a variety of broadcasts and publications, including ABC, NBC, Discovery Channel, The Huffington Post, Der Spiegel, and The Times of India.

Time: 4:00pm – 5:15pm

Location: Physics/Astrophysics Bldg. Rm. 102/103

Light refreshments available 4:00pm; Presentation begiins 4:15pm

Open to All