Abstract: In this talk, I will present a novel mission architecture for the in-situ exploration of small Solar System bodies. In this proposed mission architecture, a mother spacecraft would deploy one or more autonomous mobility platforms to the surface of a small body. Each platform would employ minimal internal actuation within a sealed enclosure—a unique design that exploits the environment's microgravity to enable controlled mobility.
Once deployed, the platforms would behave as spacecraft/rover hybrids, performing attitude-controlled hops for long-range travel followed by precise tumbling to reach targeted surface locations. In turn, the mother spacecraft would act as a communication relay to Earth and would take measurements remotely to complement those collected in-situ by the hybrids.
I will discuss the scientific rationale, progress to date, and results from recent experiments demonstrating controlled mobility aboard one of NASA's reduced-gravity airplanes. I will conclude the talk with an overview of related projects in the field of autonomous aerospace systems currently under investigation in my research group.
Bio: Not Available
Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Physics/Astrophysics Bldg., Kistler Conference Rooms 102/103 (Map)
(Light refreshments available 3:45pm; Presentation begins at 4:00pm)
Open to All