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Jennifer Heldmann Colloquium Abstract (September 25, 2019)

Terrestrial Analog Fieldwork: Overview of Science and Exploration Research to Enable Lunar and Planetary Exploration   

This talk will focus on several projects conducted in terrestrial analog field settings to enable robotic and human planetary exploration. We work with interdisciplinary teams of scientists, technologists, and mission operations specialists focused on conducting field-based research to understand scientific processes on planetary bodies while simultaneously preparing for future human and robotic exploration of these destinations. We operate under the philosophy that “science enables exploration and exploration enables science.”  To that end, we conduct science-driven field science investigations which simultaneously work to inform decisions and architectures for optimizing future robotic and human missions in the Solar System. We will discuss planetary science research conducted in field analog locales, and also exploration research aimed at understanding which concepts of operations (ConOps) and capabilities enable and enhance scientific return. We are also committed to inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in planetary science and exploration, and to that end conduct numerous education and outreach field programs including, but not limited to, the Spaceward Bound program where we bring students and teachers into the field to work side-by-side with the NASA research teams.