Science Operations

The Nautilus science-driven telepresence mission architecture provides the SUBSEA Science Operations research team with a high-fidelity, ‘flight like’ analog to Low Latency Telerobotic (LLT) mission concepts that are envisioned as an important component of NASA’s long-term strategy for achieving extended human presence in deep-space. LLT ops concepts offer opportunities for what the terrestrial robotics community considers to be high-quality telepresence. Under these mission designs, astronauts will be in close communication proximity to a surface exploration site (thereby minimizing round-trip communication latency with the robotic assets to ~<2sec), thus extending human cognition to deep-space targets such as asteroids and Mars prior to (and in anticipation of) putting humans on those planetary surfaces.

LLT mission concepts also involve a supporting Mission Support Center and Science Support Team that is located on Earth, and separated from the LLT crew by unavoidable and high communication latencies. The impact of these communication delays during science-driven LLT missions is still not understood, nor have LLT mission concepts been tested and vetted extensively in analog environments. To address this knowledge gap, the SUBSEA team will leverage the Nautilus telepresence infrastructure to gain unique and unparalleled first-hand operational knowledge that will affect the development of LLT concepts that enhance and enable science and discovery in Deep Space.

The SUBSEA Science Ops team will be conducting a work domain analysis leveraging a multi-disciplinary approach from the fields of cognitive systems engineering and work ethnography. Our research will produce a first-of-its-kind characterization of best practices associated with LLT operations and a rigorous assessment-based analysis of the supporting capability requirements and their corresponding ability to enhance and enable science return under these mission conditions.