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June 10, 1999

John Bluck

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

(Phone: 650/604-5026) or 604-9000


Dr. Charles Wood, Dept. of Space Studies

University of North Dakota

Grand Forks, ND 58202

(Phone: 701-777-3167)




NASA, the University of North Dakota (UND) and Western Governors University are collaborating to offer the "NASA Robotics Short Course" that will enable students to attend a virtual classroom on the Internet. Each lesson will involve a robotics expert who also works on a NASA project. Western Governors University is a "cyber university," located on the Internet.

The eight-session course will begin June 30, and will continue through September 2. The lessons also include webcasts, chat sessions, video clips, web slides and follow-up question-and-answer sessions. The course is produced by NASA's Learning Technology Project at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA.

"This Internet format will allow students, from the comfort of their homes and offices, to interact directly with experts actively involved in some of the most exciting robotic fields," said Dr. Alan Federman, manager of NASA Robotics Online at NASA Ames.

"In the future we'll need a workforce with an advanced understanding of robotics," said Tom Dyson, an engineer with the NASA LTP Project. "It is NASA's responsibility to not only create, but to communicate new knowledge, and we see this course as part of that effort."

Brian Cooper, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, who was the primary driver for Pathfinder-Sojourner's three-month mission on Mars, is one of eight experts with whom students can chat. Another expert is Guy Beutelschies, spacecraft systems engineer for the Mars Surveyor 01 orbiter and lander. He is with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Denver, CO. Dr. Steve Gorevan of HoneyBee Robotics, New York, NY, will discuss his role as project manager in building the robotic drill for the Mars Surveyor 2001 rover.

To participate in the course, students will need at least an Internet-connected major web browser capable of supporting Java. Students will also need at least a 28.8 kbps computer connection to see video that will feature the presenters.

The enrollment deadline is June 30. To find out about course tuition and fees, and to sign up for the NASA Robotics Short Course, students should go to this Internet address:

The goal of the LTC project is to promote the growth of a national information infrastructure using the vast amount of information NASA has acquired since its creation. Access to this knowledge will allow the public and industry to contribute to rapid and significant advances in science, engineering and technology.

For additional information, contact Alan Federman at NASA Ames: 650-604-1521;

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