SAND-E

SAND-E (Semi-Autonomous Navigation for Detrital Environments) is a partnership with Texas A&M University on a NASA-funded project to study Mars-like volcanic sand environments in Iceland, in advance of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission to the red planet. The study will help NASA prepare for scientific studies of areas on Mars that are geologically similar to the field sites in Iceland, and determine if new exploration strategies, including increased rover autonomy, would benefit future missions.

An advanced version of our ASAS technology, an automated evaluation of terrain ahead of a rover, will be used during the simulated Mars rover missions in Iceland in 2019 and 2020 to determine ways to increase the scientific return of NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 mission. The analogue missions will include a drone working in collaboration with the rover, to replicate scenarios anticipated for the Mars 2020 rover and helicopter.

SAND-E is comprised of an expert team, led by Dr. Ryan Ewing, Associate Professor in Texas A&M University’s Department of Geology and Geophysics. The team also includes researchers from NASA Johnson Space Center, Purdue University, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Reykjavik University. The project is funded by NASA’s Planetary Science and Technology Through Analog Research (PSTAR) program.

Mission Control is also excited to lead education and outreach for the project, including providing our Mission Control Academy experiential learning program to students in Houston and Ottawa.

Latest News

15
Jan
2019

SAND-E Mission Patch Contest

Mission Control is thrilled to present its Mission Patch contest for SAND-E!
A mission patch is an emblem worn during both human and robotic space missions, symbolizing mission objectives. For example, NASA’s InSight Mars mission patch portrays the lander on Mars with the interior of the planet visible, as the objective of the mission is to study the heart of Mars. Mission patches are a very important part the expedition!

Mission Control needs YOU to design a mission patch for our SAND-E expedition in Iceland. We are part of a NASA-funded project led by Texas A&M University, and will be providing our technology for navigational safety and scientific studies to look at Mars-like volcanic sand environments in advance of NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission to the red planet.

If you are a student ages 13-18 in Canada, the United States or Iceland, you can enter for a chance for your mission patch to be sported by our rover during its trek across the Mars-like terrain in Iceland. It will also be featured during the 2019 Mission Control Academy missions!
Help us by downloading and sharing our flyer with your students or friends.

Submission Deadline is March 31, 2019.


14
Nov
2018

Mission Control Partners with Texas A&M University to Provide Technology on NASA-Funded Study for Mars 2020 Rover Analogue Missions in Iceland

In 2020, NASA will launch their next ambitious Mars rover as part of the Mars 2020 mission.

In advance of this, we’re excited to announce a partnership with Texas A&M University on a NASA-funded project to study Mars-like volcanic sand environments in Iceland. This study will help NASA prepare for scientific studies of areas on Mars that are geologically similar to the field sites in Iceland, and determine if new exploration strategies, including increased rover autonomy, would benefit future missions.

An advanced version of our Autonomous Soil Assessment software will be used during the simulated Mars rover missions in Iceland in 2019 and 2020 to determine whether it could increase the scientific return of NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 mission. The analogue missions will include a drone working in collaboration with the rover, to replicate scenarios anticipated for the Mars 2020 rover and helicopter.

We are also excited to lead education and outreach for the project, including providing our Mission Control Academy (MCA) experiential learning program to students in Houston and Ottawa.

View our press release for more details on this announcement.

Pictured here is a view of the complex Mars-like terrain in Iceland that we will conduct our study on.