Carlos Mão de Ferro, LASIGE’s researcher and PhD Student, has been selected to participate in the NASA International Internship Program (NASA I2) under the Reimbursable Space Act Agreement between the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) and NASA, beginning in November 2022 with a length of 6 months.
He will support the Ames Mission Design Center (MDC) and conduct research on the project “Novel Planetary Robotic Sensor Development” for the Intelligent Robotics Group (IRG) under the direction of Dr. Michael Dille, Senior Computer Scientist, working closely with NASA scientists and engineers.
The project focuses on recent confirmations of water flow on Mars, which has refreshed interest in the exploration of caves and lava tubes on planetary bodies — where temperate conditions present a unique environment that may harbor trapped liquid water, exotic geologies, and possible life.
Carlos expressed that “in order to overcome terrain-related difficulties (e.g., unsafe areas, tight operating spaces, and partial collapses), I will be investigating projectile sensing methodologies that can reach these areas by making use of mobile robots with onboard sensors and wireless sensor networks. Hopefully, this will help astrobiologists and geologists to complete a comprehensive mapping of cave conditions and sample biofilm candidates. The internship will be the perfect opportunity to apply and expand much of the work developed in the context of my PhD”.