In the control room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, we finally received the signal that the capsule containing Perseverance rover and the Ingenuity helicopter had touched the top of the atmosphere of Mars. But, due to the light travel time of over 10 minutes, the rover was on the surface of Mars either completely intact or completely disassembled. The final decisions on where the rover well actually sat down were made by the rover itself using artificial intelligence (AI) software. AI is NASA’s way of improvisation. Making decisions quickly and deviating from an existing plan is rarely what NASA does, but there are some instances in which this approach is essential for mission success. The Perseverance rover is designed to better understand the geological history of Mars and seek signs of ancient life. The mission will collect and store a set of rock and soil samples that will be returned to Earth for detailed analysis. It will also test new technology to benefit future robotic and human exploration of Mars—the Ingenuity helicopter and, for the first time, an audio microphone listening to the sounds on the Red Planet. This workshop will give you the chance to interact with a key architect of the mission and delve into the ways in which NASA utilized artificial intelligence and sounds to enable its rovers to traverse and thrive on the surface of Mars.
Free and open to the public; RSVP required via Eventbrite. Registered attendees will receive an event link shortly before the seminar begins. Please contact the group organizer, Jessie Cox, at [email protected] with any questions. This event is sponsored by the Presidential Scholars in Society and Neuroscience program at Columbia University. For more information, please visit the event webpage.