NASA Invites Reporters to Observe Robots in Arizona, Ames Marscape
MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA will hold the annual Desert "RATS," or Research and Technology Studies, field test in the Arizona desert this fall, hosting a media day for journalists on Sept. 15, 2009.
That same day at the "Marscape" on NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., reporters also may observe and photograph NASA's K10 robots while scientists and engineers give a demonstration of how the K10s work.
Desert RATS will help determine what technologies and capabilities will be needed when NASA takes future trips beyond Earth. The K10s ventured to Arizona in June to simulate a robotic scouting mission on the lunar surface and sought out areas of interest to a human crew. The Desert RATS team is now using the images and 3-D terrain models taken by the K10s to execute their simulated space mission.
The tests will include a simulated 14-day mission during which two crew members – an astronaut and a geologist – who will live inside NASA's prototype Lunar Electric Rover. They will scout the test area for features of geological interest and conduct simulated moonwalks to collect samples.
NASA's heavy-lift rover Tri-ATHLETE, or All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer, will carry a habitat mockup to which the lunar rover will dock. The media day will include lunar rover and Tri-ATHLETE demonstrations and opportunities to interview the engineers, scientists and astronauts involved in the tests.
Access to the test sites in Arizona is restricted and reporters must register in advance. NASA requires a letter of assignment on company letterhead for credentials. Reporters should contact Brandi Dean at 281-244-1403 by Friday, Sept. 11, 2009, for information about the Desert RATS in Arizona and Rachel Prucey at 650-604-0643 for information about the K10 demonstration at NASA Ames.
NASA centers involved include Johnson Space Center in Houston; Langley Research Center in Virginia; Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Ames Research Center, both in California; Kennedy Space Center in Florida; Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland; Glenn Research Center in Cleveland; Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama; and NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Participants from outside of NASA include the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, D.C., the United States Geological Survey, in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Arizona State University of Tempe, Ariz.; University of Texas at El Paso; University of Colorado Denver; Brown University in Providence, R.I.; and the Mars Institute in Moffett Field, Calif.
For more information about NASA's lunar field tests and links to follow Desert RATS activities on social media sites, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/analogs
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