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Planetary Geology: Science and Operations

February 08, 2018
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

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Dr. Ryan C. Ewing
Department of Geology & Geophysics
Associate Professor


The current surge of interest in space exploration for scientific and economic purposes has created the need to better integrate robotic/human operations and exploratory science. Historically, operations and science have been treated separately in the testing phases of missions, leaving a gap in our understanding of the capability and efficiency of robots and humans to make science decisions in real world scenarios. Understanding science-driven operational workflows is particularly important where knowledge of the planetary body is limited and communication latencies prevent real-time feedbacks. Geology plays a critical first order role in motivating exploration for science and economics, assessing potential landing sites, and creating a predictive landscape framework to guide ground operations. This talk provides an overview of science and operation decision making with examples from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover, and discusses opportunities to explore engineering and operations in analog planetary environments.


Ryan’s research aims to understand the evolution of landscapes and the sedimentary record through physical processes operating at the surface-.‐atmosphere interface of Earth, Mars and Titan (a moon of saturn). His current research themes include (1) development of patterns in wind-.‐blown landscapes and the interpretation of these patterns as records of climate, (2) bedform self-.‐organiza3on in the rock record, and (3) the role of wind-.‐blown systems at critical climate transitions in a planet’s history. Ryan primarily uses field work and geospatial data for his research. He has active field work in Texas, New Mexico, Utah and South Australia.


Dr. Michael Bishop at michael.bishop@tamu.edu



February 8, 2018
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


Eller O&M Bldg., Room 807