UNDER THE ICE OF JUPITER’S MOON The team’s most ambitious plan is to use Enterprise to help conduct a field demonstration of a Europa analog mission. Exploration of the oceans of Europa and Titan are the next big challenges in extra-planetary exploration. Such missions would vastly increase our knowledge of the solar system and, on Europa in particular, may result in the discovery of life. To conduct these missions, the space systems will need to demonstrate high levels of self-reliance and risk-awareness. To prepare for this challenge, NASA awarded funding to a team of researchers from WHOI, MIT MERS, University of Michigan, and ACFR to conduct an Earth analog of these missions in the Kolumbo volcano caldera, the most active subsea volcano in the Mediterranean Basin. This underwater caldera is a complex, hazardous environment that serves as a suitable analog for autonomous risk-aware exploration Exploration of the oceans of other planetary bodies containing liquid water. As part of of Europa and Titan are the this demonstration, the team will explore for life forms in and next big challenges in extraaround carbon dioxide accumulating subsea pools, providing planetary exploration. a unique opportunity to characterize life that flourishes in extreme carbon dioxide environments. Enterprise will be used to autonomously guide a long-range underwater glider that maps out the caldera to identify sites of scientific interest, and to guide WHOI’s Nereid Under Ice vehicle and its manipulator, to retrieve samples from those sites. Exploration is just one area in which goal-directed execution is injecting a paradigm shift. On Earth, the MERS group is using Enterprise to develop a new generation of cognitive systems for social good. Examples include:
Annual magazine review of MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department research and educational initiatives.