Robotic astrobiology involves the remote projection of intelligent capabilities to planetary missions in the search for life, preferably with human-level intelligence. Planetary rovers would be true human surrogates capable of sophisticated decision-making to enhance their scientific productivity. We explore several key aspects of this capability: (i) visual texture analysis of rocks to enable their geological classification and so, astrobiological potential; (ii) serendipitous target acquisition whilst on the move; (iii) continuous extraction of regolith properties, including water ice whilst on the move; and (iv) deep learning-capable Bayesian net expert systems. Individually, these capabilities will provide enhanced scientific return for astrobiology missions, but together, they will provide full autonomous science capability.

Additional Metadata
Keywords autonomous science, Mars rovers, robotic astrobiology
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1473550417000180
Journal International Journal of Astrobiology
Citation
Ellery, A. (2017). Robotic astrobiology – prospects for enhancing scientific productivity of mars rover missions. International Journal of Astrobiology, 1–15. doi:10.1017/S1473550417000180