• Project Title: PHALANX: Developing Novel Sensing Techniques for Planetary Robots

  • BASIS Advisor: Mr. Kaufman

  • Internship Location: NASA Ames

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Michael Dille

The goal of the PHALANX project is to develop new sensing techniques for mobility-limited planetary exploration robots, such as the Mars Rover. As the general direction for space exploration has shifted towards finding life, we need ways to explore caves, lava-tubes, and other inaccessible regions. Due to the cost of launching new rovers, they are driven extremely conservatively and not allowed to venture into places which may damage them. To solve this problem, a team at NASA is working on building sensing projectiles which can be launched off the rover at little to no risk to the rover. The projectiles should be able to measure various environmental factors and also gain an understanding of their position relative to each other so that the data can be visualized on a map. Since the project is currently a proof-of-concept project, my role is to refine the existing design to make it more robust and add new sensors if time permits.