While in LA for
, we were lucky enough to get the chance to head down to Pasadena for a tour and interview at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
. Nic Fillingham
and I grabbed a cab and met up with the great Marc
fame), DPE's VP Walid Abu-Hadba and others to get a look at the JPL Mars Rover facility and meet some of the folks behind the
Mars Exploration Rover Mission
. Our guide was the venerable Dave Lavery who is the Program Executive for
Solar System Exploration
This is a fascinating glimpse into the world of solar system exploration from the perspective of robotics and software design (Dave was a major contributor to the robotics design and development efforts behind (and in) the Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity).
Tune in and learn about some of the challenges of developing autonomous machines that you will never get to touch again (think about the reduncancy requirements for a robot rover that is deployed 100 million miles away from Earth...). It's really exciting that
the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity will be joined on the red planet by a new mobile robot equipped with an advanced laboratory capable of unparalleled experimentation and analysis. The folks at JPL think 100 million miles outside of the box!