Scott Maxwell: Mars Rover 3.0

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Scott Maxwell is the Mars Rover Driver Team Lead for the Mars Exploration Rover project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Since the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004, Scott and his team have guided the two plucky robots across nearly 20 kilometers of the surface of our neighbor planet. Four and a half years into their 90-day mission, both rovers are still active and continue to return science results from the Martian surface. In Scott’s own words:

Ultimately, my goal is to ask the audience to help design the future of space exploration — what I’m calling, admittedly with a certain bias, “Mars 3.0.” How could NASA use the Net not just to communicate better with the public but to actually enable the public to meaningfully participate in this grand adventure? To help the audience help me, I start with some background about JPL’s role within NASA, summarize how Mars 1.0 and Mars 2.0 worked, and describe how we drive the Mars rovers today. Then I discuss some of the legal, contractual, and practical restrictions on involving the general public in our mission.

Scott’s presentation was, in a word, amazing. He received the only standing ovation in Gnomedex history. Even several weeks later, people are still buzzing about this talk. Watch the video for yourself, and open your mind to a whole new dimension.

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