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Dr. Jeremy Frank to Participate in Silicon Valley Comic Con "NASA's Journey to Mars" Panel April 7, 2018
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Dr. Jeremy Frank to Participate in Silicon Valley Comic Con "NASA's Journey to Mars" Panel April 7, 2018

Dr. Jeremy Frank will be one of four panelists on the Silicon Valley Comic Con (SVCC) “NASA’s Journey to Mars: One Small Step and One Giant Leap” panel. The panel will focus on how humans (and other forms of life) can survive the long journey to the red planet; how we can use the Moon as a practice field for a Mars mission; and what new scientific instruments are needed for the next Mars rover. Dr. Frank will speak to his work on the Autonomous Systems and Operations (ASO) project, which is a collaboration between NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), NASA Marshall Spaceflight Center (MSFC), and NASA Ames Research Center (ARC). ASO develops and tests numerous autonomous operations technologies in order to enable NASA missions to Mars and other distant destinations.

The panel will be moderated by Matt Buffington, ARC Communications Director, and along with Dr. Frank will feature Derek Dalle (Applied Modeling and Simulation branch of the NASA Advanced Supercomputing Division), who is the aerodynamics engineer for the Space Launch System (SLS); Mary Beth Wilhelm (Planetary Systems Branch), who specializes in studying areas on Earth that have climates and landscapes similar to those found on Mars; and — awaiting confirmation — someone from the Resource Prospector Mission, which will be the first mining mission on another planetary body, the Moon, investigating lunar resources that could be used for a Mars mission, and the rover capabilities needed. The panel will take place at SVCC on Saturday, April 7th, 2018, at 12 p.m.

BACKGROUND: Future human spaceflight missions will place crews at large distances and light-time delays from Earth. The one-way light-time delay to the Moon is 1.2 seconds, which is sufficient to make continuous control (e.g., for landing) difficult or impossible to conduct from Earth. One-way light-time delays to destinations such as Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) at close approach range from seconds to minutes. The one-way light-time delay to Mars ranges from 3 minutes (at conjunction) to 22 minutes (at opposition). NASA will require autonomous mission operations when spacecraft crew are far away from Earth, because communication with the ground will incur long communication latencies. These missions will require changing the capabilities of spacecraft, changing the roles and responsibilities of ground and crew, and changing the ways that ground and crew interact during the mission. ASO develops and tests numerous autonomous operations technologies in order to enable NASA missions to Mars and other distant destinations.

POINT OF CONTACT: Dr. Jeremy Frank, jeremy.d.frank@nasa.gov

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