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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 30, 2012 6:45am-8:00am EDT

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>> maybe we can make it. in this imaginative projection, the scientists become the rover.
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and this experience of being on mars is essential to the success of the mission. it enables them to actually do field science. to know what rocks and soils are nearby and what they can reach or how long it might take somewhere, the use a combination of 3-d images, computer graphics, and simulations often overlaying them. these visualizations allow them to point to places, give them names, and control precisely where new photographs are taken and where the instruments are placed. so for example, they can draw a yellow box to specify where a camera should zoom in for a more detailed image. each photograph can be used like a map of an area on mars, because its location relative to the rover is precisely
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registered in the planning program. as we move him from panoramas used for navigating it manages about crops to the micro photographs, we can see and market up details. even small rocks and patches of soil might be named and become targets for analysis or a micro photographs. combining these planning tools in their imagination, the scientists can work as if they were on mars. jim rice, a geologist on a mission, said i put myself out there, with two boots on the ground trying to figure out where to go and what to do. how to make that what we are observing with the instruments. day in and day out it was always a perspective of being on the surface, and trying to draw on your own field experience in places that might be similar.
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and astrobiologist at nasa ames described it this way. they had these huge charts on the wall, engine drawings of the rover. with all of these dimensions, we would have some geometric question. well, can we see this? can we reach that? is this rock going to be in shade, or will it be in the sun? we would go and we would stand and stare at those charts. and overtime we stopped doing it so much because we begin to gain a sense of the body. that's projecting your self into the rover. it's just an amazing capability of the human mind that you can sort of retool your self. so acting through the robots they controlled, the scientists look around, they manipulate materials and they move over the
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landscape. they may pretend to be the rover crouching down and gesturing with an arm to better and imagine what is reachable. and through the eyeglasses of special cameras they can directly see iron minerals in the rocks. they are transformed in a way to the kind of cyborg on mars. now, that's all pretty different from doing field science. this is an on type of expedition for another reason. usually scientists gloss in different directions, different times using their own tools. the entire team was altogether. 150 scientists and engineers balancing together as it were like on the huge skateboard creeping over the sands, up and down the hills, craters and beaters. for eight years. so if something like being on a ship on an early voyage of
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discovery. the scientists and the sailing crew were all having to travel together. they had to negotiate, how long are we going to stay here, where are we going to go next, and what should we do at each site. this requires a well coordinated understanding of their roles, schedules, resources, long-term plans and a clear chain of command. if you visit the science and engineering coordination meeting during the prime mission, which was the first 90 days of landing on mars, 2004, the same thing we're going through now with curiosity during these 90 days, you could see the scientists up front on the bridge adds as it were, with huge displays of the martian surface that lay before them. behind the scientists, as it's below decks on a ship, where the engineers, behind big square monitor showing the ships power, memory, and evolving timeline
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for tomorrow's work. now, this coordination meeting would occur about 6 p.m. just before dinner, local mars time, every day. the scientists are right at work about three hours before, midafternoon, rover time. they were ready to receive photographs and other analyses are coming back from the rover's work during the day. so you see a trend once or solar parts of the world roughly on a nine to five schedule. every morning each rover would receive a program for its day's work. so between dinnertime on mars and sunrise the scientists and engineers must finalize the plan for the next day. this requires a second shift.
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they are simultaneous in operating two rovers on mars for over five years. opportunities are commissions, operating in parallel. they had their own meeting rooms as i said for science operations and jpl, a had their own engineering programming teams. 6 p.m. coordination meetings, and their own cash of course of free ice cream. [laughter] but the teams shared a single mission control center where the engineers attended monitors, a lot like you can find at houston's mission control. their computers are connected to banks of satellites and earth stations that allow them to communicate with the rover's. so this common engineering activity shared in this room showed a moment ago required to commissions to be courted in a special way. if you look at the map of mars with a landing sites of the two
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rovers, you will notice that would land the rovers about 180 degrees apart near the equator. now, as people realize that the sun angle is going to be of importance because rovers are solar powered so that's where put them near the equator. a few people realize how the geography of the mission relates to the problem of commanding the rovers every day. placing spirit and opportunity on opposite sides of mars about a sync command center and management organization operating around the clock to focus on one rover at a time. controlling them is separate a half-baked on mars. so this illustrates very clearly white understanding and designing commission has to be comprehensive as what we call a total system. the choice of landing sites itself affects the scheduling of
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facilities and operations in pasadena. so i described the logistics, the tools, and the mental projections involve in working on mars. but there's another angle to how people talk and think about the rover that i found fascinating and very strange. it's how the rover becomes the hero of the story in official reports on the web, in the press, and even in the scientists own publications. what i've learned is that anthropomorphizing the rover is both practical and poetic. it facilitates the scientists work to bring them to work together as a team. and it provides a way for them to express their feelings. nasa's 2001 press release announcing the mir project epitomizes the personification of the robots. quote, in 2003 nasa plans to
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launch a relative of the now famous 1997 mars pathfinder rover. this larger cousin is expected to reach the surface of the red planet in january 2004. this new robotic explorer will be able to track up to 100 meters across the service each martian day. the mars program director at nasa headquarters said quote, this nation will give us the first ever robotic field geologist on mars. the metaphors in this poetic narrative such as referring to the earlier mission as mir's cousin simplify for public understanding. but may also serve as a kind of cultural cheerleading in praise of america's new robotic explorer. but years later the tone was distinctly sentimental when "the
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associated press" reported spirits the demise. quote, spirit, the scrappy robotic geologist, that captivated the world with its antics on mars before getting stuck in a sand trap, is about to meet its and after six productive years. so the drama of the rover is held here in the genre of a lost person, spirited is said to be incommunicado, and it's personified by characters in a disney animation quote, as far as sibling rivalry went, opportunity was the overachiever while spirit was every bit a drama queen underdog. [laughter] surprisingly, lead scientist on the nation are quoted as speaking in the same matter of fact way. the nation's deputy investigator of washington university said he will remember spirit as a fighter. quote, it wouldn't quit, just
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like the little engine that chugged up the hill. now, sometimes this poetry appears a bit overdone, but then we find quite serious descriptions of the rover's character and it's a complex, like amoral and the children's bedtime story. the plucky rover will be remembered for demystifying mars to the masses. this is a story of perseverance. talking about the rovers in this way, in the third person, makes it possible for the scientists to tell us about themselves, how they feel about the rovers, and the challenges they encountered. this as a personal emotional presentation that you will not find in the journal of science and nature. now, this metaphor of the robotic explorer actually appeared in the first books about planetary spacecraft in the 1970s. and it has become a journalistic
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cliché. a few years ago and to jacob stepped out of his book, intrepid explorers of the red planet. now, the book is about the scientists passion for mars. but in his poetic wrapping, the integrity explores are the spacecraft. over the past decade the cliché became a conceptually somewhat confused debate in the space exploration community. between the advocates of science, meaning robotic spacecraft, and the advocates of exploration, meaning human spaceflight, partly this was a debate about the control for money. but a genuine question remains about the relative roles of people and robots, as the distances beyond mars make programming more and more difficult, and the robots become more able to identify what's
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worth studying. found that summarize the dichotomy as human explorers versus robot explorers. at a stanford university symposium that i attended in 2008 called humans and robots in exploration, one topic was quoted to us as when does the human become the tool of choice for solar system exploration? by this phrasing, people and robots are both tools are and then ask very puzzled now, what is the right mix? of course viewing people and robots is interchangeable tools from the start is absurd. i believe some of the difficulties that have arrived here are occurring because it's hard for us to understand this new working relationship between people and robots. spacecraft that fly by a plan and carry out a canned program and send the data back is a one time package, are very different
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from mobile laboratories with sensors and manipulators that are programmed by us for every day, four years. and he gives a totally different experience to the scientists in carrying out the mission. this new way of working which mir epitomizes and be difficult to think about because it's a relationship among people, technology, and work processes. it's not a property or a capability that could be described to people or robots independently, and that's why the term robotic geologists is so misleading. the relation of people and robots in practical work is difficult even for the scientists to describe. mir scientists have said they could do any day what what took the rover many months, but they are thinking mostly about those long drives. astronauts would leave the rovers in the dust, but there's
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no shortcut for the hours required to do a spectral analysis, or a pixel by pixel scan of an infrared panorama. no bloody has used instruments like these in the field before. so how the rover's automation and human actions are dependent on each other can be difficult to explain. because we don't think about it in practice. in terms of what's called phenomenology, the rover is seen through, as we say like using a cane. in terms of, the rover is embodied in our activity. it becomes transparent like a hammer, a bicycle, or even an automobile. we hit, we ride, we go places. we don't have to think about the machinery. it becomes part of us. the rover's arm reaching out is the mir scientists arm touching
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a rock on mars. now, jim's book shows it difficult, talk about these embodiments. the title is postcards from mars. the first photographer on the red planet. he is referring to himself. he writes that the rovers have allowed us to be in a sense the first photographers on the red planet. now, he put scare quotes around photographers, but i would've put the quotes around on the red planet, because he and his colleagues really took the pictures, but they are not actually on mars. they are photographers. how shall we describe this? who sent the postcards? at least some of this kind of poetry is revealing that this joint action between machinery, robotic systems and people is difficult to think about and
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describe. these phone cameras that many of your tearing around in your pockets provide a good example of how viewing robots as being free agents, robotic geologist, and giving them credit for doing the work can easily arise. cameras like this today are all computerized. so when you press the buttons, competitions determine the exposure and other settings. they might even decide that you were taking a portrait and they will focus accordingly and they will compensate for backlighting, but still you're going to say i took this photograph. separate that button press and the creation of the photograph by something between 30, 240 million miles, and add an overnight delay. now you want to say, spirit took this photograph today. all the people in the technology between just drop out.
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it's a narrative shorthand. philosophically though it raises the question that we call agency, and it's at the heart of human versus robot dichotomy. ascribing agency to the rovers appears throughout the scientists writings. for example, in the planetary report in 2007, a leed mir scientists provided a superbly readable technical summary of the science. the title spirit and opportunity, martian geologists. in a clear presentation about h. and prophecies that formed and altered the senator mitchell during the mir than the sites, it alternates provided attributions about the rovers actions with the sciences observations and conclusions. listen to this. after exploring endurance crater, opportunity drove south
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to investigate the heat shield that it used during planting. next to the heat shield we notice the only rock scene for columbus on the planes. opportunities investigation of this rock revealed as nikolai and meteorite. a very exciting finding, as it was our first discovery of a meteorite on another planet. since then, spirit has discovered two others. it appears that the spirit caught on pretty quickly to help recognize meteorites, doesn't it? so when i first heard this term robotic geologists, i thought the phrase was just hype. unfair to the people who are actually doing the work, and it had turned the nation store into kind of a puppet show or something like the "wizard of oz." pay no attention to the scientists behind the curtain. i wonder, i worry that this is
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going to confuse the public and was obscuring the real story about how people were able to work on mars. people might begin to wonder, why should we send scientists to mars if we already have a robotic geologist working there? now, i forwarded mentioned how viewing the rover as third person out there on mars provides a way for the scientists to talk about themselves. but over time i've come to realize that this perspective has many practical benefits. as an obvious example, superimposing the rovers route on orbital images, that's why this image is so fuzzy, provides a birds eye view of the regions that we have been exploring. we hover over the landscape. we see mir from orbit. the first person view of the rover is also expressed vividly in computer composites i guess. that shows the rover working alone on mars. it makes you wonder who took this photograph.
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does this express a wish for us to be present and to see the rover? or does it make tangibly the images that scientists and engineers are imagining in their minds? is it another practical projection, another way of understanding the rover's orientation and its context, which actually makes the field science possible. here we see the interplay of art, imagination, science and technology all motivating and enabling each other. other less dramatic computer graphics compose with march images are used routinely to orient the planning and programming of routes and targets. such third person views provide an important way of locating the rover, and then by projection locating yourself in the work on mars. yet there's another out way -- -- another way.
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when the laid mir rover planners said he viewed the rover as a partner, i was shocked, he told me, the rover and i work as a team. he didn't mean though it was the same as working with the jpl colleague. instead can use using the best words he could find relating to the rover as a peer to express have a dedicated work to the rover. so we would plan portions of the route that he didn't have sufficient time or data to analyze and program himself. he related to the rover in terms of what i do and what you do. for him, the second person relation is practical. the rover as an agent you can rely on. now, talking about spirit and opportunity as investigating, driving and so on has also taken hold, because it fits so well
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the convention of scientific writing in which we depersonalize our contributions. reports focus on the goals, the methods and the data. the emphasis is on mars, not on the scientists or how they do their work. individual scientists are also properly wary of taking the limelight. everyone knows they work as a team. in this respect i was especially surprised to find out that this phrase, robotic geologist, was pivotal in deciding the rover itself and promoting teamwork. a central concept in the original mir mission proposal is that the robotic geologist faced physical circuit for the science team. i like the boxy spacecraft that we send to orbit, or flyby of the planet, mir was deliberately designed to personify a
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scientist, a little short, with stereo vision, mobile with an arm holding a hammer, a hand lens and other sensors. combining disciplinary team in one persona, mir realizes the mission that they called one instrument, one team. the team's ability to identify with the rover is fundamental to mir's design, as steve explains. he said the whole idea behind mir is that these tools work together. look at the discovery of the silicon, the mobility system in which he means the rover's wheels trench up some soil. we notice with the pen cam wide angle camera. we hit it with the many task to check for iron. it looks interesting and we go over what they got its molecular composition.
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everything works together. having instruments that work together encourages the teams to work together. this was his vision which he called scientists in geneva if you you've got to sensors and each of them provide complementary bits of knowledge. you're going to use the payload to the fullest advantage if people look at it as being entirely at their disposal. if you are out there and feels, he said, doing geology which of your partner you might be argument about what this rock means or what that rock means, but you not going to be arguing about should we use the raw camera or should we use the compass? we don't have pan cam guys arguing with many task us, but rather geologists arguing with chemists about exploration. now, to appreciate that you need to know that this design and
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organization starkly contrast with almost every other planetary mission and the contrast in the way with our current mission, curiosity. for example, the cassini spacecraft now orbiting saturn as 12 instrument teams, each with its own rentable investigator. remember that mir had one principal investigator, curiosity has 10 or 11. these teens are matrixed and have different turfs that they're interested in. studying the planet saturn, its rings, the moon titan or the icy moons. it's at best a consortium, sharing a single platform jockeying for control and resources, who gets to use their instrument now, and for how long. the scale and the reality of being to boots on the ground enables and requires a completely different technical
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design and social organization. rather than features at a planetary scale seen from an orbit or flyby, mir's inch in the targets are palpable and they're directly manipulable. doing the rover as a geologist physical circuit makes sense. so typically a robot is viewed as an automated machine that acts without human intervention, but the vision of the robotic geologist was broader and multidimensional. instead of replacing the scientists, the robotic geologist was conceived as a collaboration tool, a way of getting the disciplinary teams to work together. it didn't replace them. it provided a way for them to work together, very, very different. combined with the virtual-reality planning tools and the commanding every day that enabled frequent individual
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contributions, the mir exploration system helped the scientists to forge a new kind of field science collaboration. it made them agents on mars, working through a mobile programmable laboratory. so although many people speak about humans and robots in space, as if there's a choice, human explorers or robot explorers, our relationship to the computer-controlled devices is more complicated. envisioning the field science, the scientists become the rover, a first person view. they are on mars. programming the rover's drive and engineer may do the work as a joint accomplishment. a second person view. and then working as an ensemble, acting together through the rover's hardware and software systems, everything turns inside out in the third person perspective. the rover becomes the team and they can write about it exploits
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proudly. i would paraphrase that associated press story about spirit's demise by saying, this intrepid team of scientific explorers will be remembered for demystifying mars to the masses. this is a story of perseverance. the mir scientists and engineers have invented a new practice of planetary field science. these are their footprints on mars. the robotic geologist metaphor in this metaphor, the team tolerates in some ways they reviled and their anonymity. the more fantastic the historic exploits of spirit and opportunity, the more proud you can feel to play it in a small part in this mission. this projecting a personal ambition onto the groups efforts, and its accomplishments is no small part of our power
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and joy as human beings. so the accomplishments of mir are intricately based on relating technology, to both the psychology and sociology of people. it is a textbook example of how to design a complex system of people and machines. so, reaching the conclusion that, the mir mission objective was to travel about a third of a mile in a 90 day mission taking perhaps dozens of photographs and learning something about the history of mars. in this extended mission over an unimaginable eight and a half years, we have traveled over 25 miles, taken 300,000 images, and spectral scans, the science itself could set -- could fill a textbook or two. now with a craft we have arrived with opportunity at a deep crater 14 miles wide called it
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endeavor, with clay soils and new layers to investigate. we waited out in the last martian winter with this commanding view of endeavor crater. tilted towards the north to better catch the sun on our dusty solar panels. this image from an amazing panorama was completed in may. as of july in working on mars for over 3000 martian days, and the voyage of scientific discovery continues. using high resolution images and scans from orbit, we have identified interesting mineralogy along and never crater's rim. since arriving we've been exploring and eventually him we might set a course for slander point. opportunity will almost certainly spend its last day or years here at endeavor.
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meanwhile, as you all know, another mars rover, a relative of mir has landed in gale crater. she will climb and explore the central mound of mount sharp, over several years. it towers three miles high over the floor of the crater. and it's been built up over perhaps 2 billion years. we will be especially looking for carbon-based materials that are essential for life. nasa calls this rover the mars science laboratory, or msl. it weighs about one metric ton, five times of mir. now, perhaps with the name science laboratory, instead of robotic geologist, the mir experience has clarified the true nature of the spacecraft as tools for the scientists. and perhaps this time they will
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place themselves more publicly in the driver's seat. died he will be sure there will be more poetry. like spirit and opportunity, msl has been personified by and the name, they call her curiosity. and perhaps you can already see how this will play out. thank you for your attention. [applause] >> thank you for that. we do have some of your questions already to share but we will continue to take -- were going to talk to another 20-25 minutes, added to ask if you have time constraint and need to leave, if you could do so by the back because it's much quieter that way. >> mentioned a book signing. >> the books and discussion are
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available in the gift shop which is why outside the door here, and you will be staying for signing. >> i will. and as a civil servant of the government i don't receive any royalties so the price has been set very low and i hope you all enjoy it. >> let's talk a little bit about the idea that these machines have preceded us to mars. is a still ultimately the target to both a human being. >> for sure. and it sometimes are surprising, if utah, all the scientists i spoke to, really want to be there. they sense that they need to be there in order to do exploration the way it should be done. and part of it has to do with all those limitations i talked about. they want to go to different places. i think your point the about anticipating and preparing has become more and more real. i don't think we understood that
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so well before mir. that we could, for reasonable cost, put these rovers in different places around mars and figure out where would we want to go, where should we land, where should the human landing the? >> what is the timeline? >> right here, congressman. i'm not allowed -- it's all about priorities. >> one of the things that humans could accomplish, he mentioned limitations of the rovers. the rovers are depend on dissent and they need to stay near the equator so strikes me that some of the signs were missing out so far has to do with the polar caps and the water systems, that sort of thing. is there other side so have to wait until the human gets there? >> would actually have had a lander, phoenix come in 2008, went to the mars arctic. so there we were looking specifically at landing on ice,
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as we did, and understand how ice causes different formation and understand the chemistry. so there are limitations. i think with curiosity do we have learned now with its combined retro fire and soft landing of the sky crane, that's quite general. for the airbags were limited really two areas where the atmosphere was strong enough so that you slow down enough before you dropped the bag. so i think it's more -- many people would like to land in this area, it's like the grand canyon that extends 3000 miles, to do that kind of a landing would be very tricky, but we have now gotten pretty close to that spent as a percentage how much of mars have the various programs discovered? >> i described this with one of come a couple of the scientists,
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it's like okay, mars has so many easter eggs and we need to know, so how much do you have to explore before you have a sense you've seen all of the typical eggs? and if you think about it, there's no way you know, that you can tell quite a bit from orbit about different topographies, but we have areas, for example, there are caverns were latitudes have collapsed and we see skylights. so there's a nation that was recently announced to send the rover down into this lob a tube because a lot of the biologists think that's what life would most likely be today. especially protected from radiation. maybe there's more moisture down there. so there's different habitats, might be the word to use. so the answer is we have no idea what percentage we have. we have scratched the surface. you might think about as landing in the vikings landing in north
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america and the word of viking is appropriate having been a 1976 mission, 77. and now you're asking how much more do you need to see before you understand north america as a whole. [laughter] >> i love this question from one of the audience members. how do you know what time is on mars? >> there's too asked to the. you've got a special mars watch that tells you the time. but it turns out that the whole issue of time on mars is republicans are. once you get into it you realize that time on earth is a lot more public adventures thought it was. and what you know about a leap year is a great simple vacation about something a lot more complicated than add a day every four years. so actually one of my colleagu colleagues, who i cite him ago, a dissertation about time on mars, just on that topic. so i would just point out the whole issue that mars has 24
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hours, so what does that mean books that mean they had to decide a second on mars is longer than a second on earth. that sounds very weird. why don't you just say that it's more than 24 hours? >> right. >> but that would make a clock look rather funny, but you could do that. a second was like a physical, you know, basic notion, like we would define a kilogram or a meter. but it's not spent it's more flexible. as you were coming up through the sciences, special with planetary science can be discovered pretty early you can always stay on the same clock as the rest of human beings if you're going to observation for some of the great observatories. you need to stay in the room with our blackout window shades in the daytime where you are up and working all night. once you get to the level where you're working on a martian mission, does that take a toll on the body even though your
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earthbound? >> absolutely. when i give my two weeks in pasadena, i think the time i thought it reached some stability, so they were still figuring out how to program everything, but i conveniently chose a time where, like 6 a.m. on mars was 5 a.m. in pasadena, and every day i just got later and later. so it was easy for me to get on board. and i would do the same for phoenix as well. you could pick a time. but the scientists of course are just moving. the bottom line is it seems to affect different people differently, but they have gone ahead and continued to do it and are doing it right now for curiosity, the scientists in pasadena are on martian time to there's a wrinkle there that we've learned they don't need to be exactly 40 minutes. they should really report for work when the data starts coming down, and that has to do with when his the relay satellite, odyssey, or one of the other satellites cynically data back. so we give them a special schedule and they might come the same time and then shift.
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but bottom line is, you can really keep the team going like that for too long. and they have their families. some of them are european or japanese and have more time zone to worry about. >> what advantages are there? of course what advantages are there in having humans orbiting mars while interfacing with robotics rather than conducting it from her? >> that's a great question, and that's how it's going to be, too. virtual. when i discussed the scientists and engineers we have many times have said okay, we happily call blue sky will we bring people together and we do, imaginings of let's say that's the case. let's say, we are even saying let's say you're on the moon. you drop them off of the rover, your pressurized rover, your vehicle and, or you might send them ahead and have them do reconnaissance. so there's all kinds of possibilities.
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we will definitely have these programs come and maybe some of them will be out to scout and look for things, we would take a look for silicon or go look for clay, take a picture and let us know when you get there. >> let's talk about the idea of life on mars. >> the joke is the martians are jumping around so they can't be caught by the camera. that came from 1976 and 77. [laughter] >> when you talk about life on mars you're talking about anything from the very tiny, the microbial spent it's going to be tiny. it's going to be tinier. >> as one of her audience members put, if there is are was like, what next? how does that information help us? >> certainly we will be analyzing. this will be the biological find probably of the time, of the era. you want to know, is it dna? do you recognize how the enemy
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in the are put together? does there appear to be something like dna and rna that consists of other immunoassays in a different order, something, just a different program? the significance is decided. one, there will be some possibility that means that life started first on mars and we are martians, that would be a surprise. core life was independently created on mars. here your closest planet which doesn't look that lifelike today, habitable and now we're discovering thousands and we'll soon know of many where life could be. that would suggest it's much more likely that those planets of the other mission is finding, could have life on it. that will raise probability and credibly. >> is there an ultimate goal whether express or implied when
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mass goes out in search of possible lifeforms, is that the idea of foreign places for human colonization, expansion where the humans can live? >> is like a parallel multiple parallel lines can and there's definitely people who are thinking more about, if you look at their articles, they are saying look at this, this tavern here, this routine. we could have like a habitat on the wall inside. that's their design and they're saying in the water could be coming from the ice over here, that's what they are imagining. so the direct connection is not that strong right now because it seems to be water ice or at the planet. >> one of her audience members wants to know about recording sound on mars. are they currently? >> let's see, this was an issue for phoenix, and i think there was a problem, but i'm almost
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certain, go look on the gpo website and look under msl. i believe there is an instrument for the. >> but currently we cannot hear sounds from curiosity? >> the sound of, i'm not sure, it seems like somebody should've done a simulation of what it would sound like. i think it would be very passionate as you can imagine if you were to blow against the microphone it could sound like a hurricane, but it was just -- so this relationship is not necessarily intuitive. >> but you could hear the martians jumping around. [laughter] >> we would get their vibrations i think. >> what danger do the rovers have from solar flares? >> this is an area i'm not a specialist in. i think it's best to think of radiation in general, the bottom line is the computer circuit systems are radiation hardiness. that's what if you look at what
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curiosity has, you will see that it's not quite as good as the phone computer i have in my pocket. it has to do with the what it takes to shield them and deal with the temperature differences. so absolutely that's a consideration. >> let's talk about how well they do, and when you have mirs outliving their life -- how does the team at death with science as they go along? >> the scientists are human beings. there are scientists excellent like myself, and they get funding from different sources and they're always trying to make ends meet. so mir has been for very few people a full-time project. i don't know necessary that any scientist maybe not even steve squyres are full-time on the mission for eight years. so it would also surprise me, which i have a chapter in my book about the personal nature of their scientific lives, they're all off doing other
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things and they're writing about other topics by to read about natalie the runs expeditions in the attic, or jeff at the height in these lakes. they are out being explorers while they're on this mission spent by to to keep the science phone, to take advantage of that extended time spent it's actually perfect from the perspective of bringing in new people. so in my book i interview eileen, who was part of the second rotation, and so they very early, i forgot what he was, but this was within a few years, they brought in a whole new set of sciences, and she writes about what it's like to come on board but she said it's like drinking from a firehose. and, of course, you have a team that is well-established so it's very interesting. that has been ongoing. and over this period of eight years, you bring in your
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graduate students and then you summer interns, and so there's been a lot of turnover. >> you mentioned the word funding and, of course, funding is a big deal with science. you have a high profile curiosity and all the support for that, and that is to peek funding of public approval. how do you weather that, knowing as a scientist you are funding some extent is a measure of popularity? >> well, it's interesting, i think the most important constraint right now, we have a national budget problem that everyone knows they have to do with. and nasa is being very fairly treated over all within that range. i mean, in the sense of getting what it's always gotten, one thing you could have got more but it's not taken a huge cut. our biggest problem is more internal in that we have two
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missions that cost a lot more than we expected. one is curiosity, and one is the james webb observatory which is the next generation of hubble. so this hurts some of the other missions, and the scientific community is being asked to live within the budget. now, one might argue that they deserve some slack here, and should be given more, but really i don't think it's so much popularity as dealing with the fact that they have a fixed budget. it might be great if the public wanted to argue that the budget shouldn't be so fixed, that would be a separate matter. >> some people say, we have americans starving, we have infrastructure that is crumbly, why are we throwing money into moore's. what do you say to those people? >> the crochet response is the money that's being spent on earth, it's not being spent on mars. it's leading to new technologies.
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anybody who looks at the curiosity landing can see that we have just demonstrated how to land quite heavy pieces on mars. and that is now a very general thing that's going to be done for decades to come. you could land habitat modules, pressurized vehicles. you could start bringing down with this precision landing a bunch of pieces through separate nationstate you don't have to have a gigantic rocket that brings everything at once. which will be much more of a risk as well. so -- i forgot what the question was. >> we were talking about justifying. >> so you're seeing a capability develop that is very general. now, i think, you would be the effect on our sense of pride and
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enthusiasm to have an american colony on mars, compare that to other things. it's a matter of prioritization. >> what about the rights of privately funded space exploration, how do you see that playing out? >> extremely important. i think in the next five years -- we're in a major transition right now on human spaceflight, and i think there's a lot of us people in the program who believe we can be five, and certainly 10 years from now, where low-earth orbit, sending astronauts and supplies back and forth to the space station and bigelow so don't come if you'd like to build an inflatable hotel, in these suborbital spacecraft that we sending people out within a couple of years, a little joyride, that's going to be commercial. now, where the money is to be made, the big idea i think that iphone has caught onto is what if you had these for-profit
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companies contracts to provide fuel and water in lunar orbit sides, so that nasa could use it on the moon, or take it from lunar orbit out to an asteroid. or onto mars. once you get out of the gravity well. so there'll be a lot of value for nasa and it will be much more competitive, better priced. >> you talked about reaching further and further into the solar system. what kind of human operational protocols are initially couldn't going to be operated -- when they're that faraway? >> you can see it isn't planned day by day. they know more over several months what the program is going to be. the way you could compare to hubble where they don't decide today what they will look at tomorrow.
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so they would have to be another study, and i have a colleague who is on the cassini team, an anthropologist who studied their team. and i am looking forward to her report which i think will show that they don't have the same engagements, because they're not able to get in there and individuals say i had this idea, if this is what i would like to be. they might have to wait months before the idea could be realized. and they have all these competing teams. it's a little different story. wouldn't it be rosy? >> it's interesting, the further we go into space, a certain point, talking so much about the humanity involved, they are human who're going to be contributing significant to perhaps they may not be the end of. you can work on something and see the blast off and be so please, by the time it distorts going and start coming back, you may not be there to see. i'm sure the scientists have to think about that.
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>> for sure. and any mission they were gone, they would like to be in the lifetimes. and i found more that the knights would've i sort of expected to find in asking them. i saw a lot of their motivation was they want to know about mars, and so they want to know how do they get these answers in their lifetimes. so it isn't just the missions, a scientifically are they going to find out sometime, even after they are retired spent but when you talk about pluto, will be closer to the sun. >> these are by definition multi-generational missions. nine years, there's people who started it you are retired. one of the people, and i deliberately chose michael carr as one of the scientists to interview for my book, because he retired right after he was at jpl. so to see that kind of transition. >> let's talk about the dangers of anthropomorphizing our rovers
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as we put them up there. i was following the weeds of the martian curiosity, and sometimes it merged into the adult and it was great fun. it was wonderful but as soon as you started injecting that humanity, a lot of people get in trouble on twitter. i'm just wondering about how much of a burden it is to say it all, not this is as much our mascot as it is our scientist. >> i think it is the truth. and that was probably my biggest surprise in going through my work over these eight years. because i did start, as i said, rather upset when i first saw that 2001 press release. i remember ranting and raving to anyone who would listen to me, who is this steve squyres nyc singh these absurd things, robotic geologist? we're in big trouble. i mean the last thing you want to say to the public. and to find out it was useful,
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data played a role in the design, and that enabled him to say things that they wouldn't be able to say, and it made everything sort of fun as well. also the weapon in the book, as an afterward really, it's to say you can be a scientist and you can be poetic at the same time. and i think squyres and the team just epitomizes that. squyres toby we've into the top top of the deal and we took a photograph because it was a cool thing to do. he said, did have scientific value? well, he was willing to say it didn't matter. and even though if you work at how much it might cost, it's a great image. so the willingness to be a
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person as well as a scientist, i saw throughout. and they think that so we need to realize. you don't lose your rigor by having the poetic aspects and artistic interests spent we are down to the the last few questions, for one of these i'm sure, curious minds very much want to know, the wake up songs for the rovers have been different over the years. wake up songs have included love me like a rock, come fly with me by frank sinatra, wake up little susie, simon and garfunkel version, radar love, by golden earring, the theme from mission impossible, and probably my favorite, where is my mind, by the pixies. so who gets to pick the songs because actually, i'm totally tangentially aware of that and i recognize, i didn't study that. i really don't know. it sounds like a great talk to somebody.
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i'm not going to get into that spent i know you're the authority spent i would probably say at jpl, it's within their team. >> we can tell they are a pretty wild bunch. by velasquez and i know you are an expert in, and that is your own trajectory income into the planetary science and enjoying it and letting, i see you're still enthusiastic about it. what is in the high points in the low points for you in the world of science? and what keeps you enthusiastic about its? >> my whole time that nasa, which is now almost 15 years, is the high point of my career. i'm a computer scientist, but really with the psychological and philosophical bent. and an interest in taking photographs. and i like being outdoors. i've been able to do it all with nasa. and i never anticipated that. and i certainly remember the
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landing on the moon, and i could have recited to you all love the different astronauts -- all of the different as night and neil armstrong, who we just lost. so i did realize that you didn't have to be a rocket scientist or a military test pilot to work for nasa, and i've hired linguists and anthropologists and psychologists in my team. so that's a real high point for me. and the downside as well, i haven't yet gotten, you don't see me at jpl study and curiosity, and maybe somebody else is doing that. >> i want to thank you so much. this has been great. and i hope that you all have enjoyed this afternoon's presentation. [applause] >> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us or feedback,


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