Weekly Space Hangout: May 19, 2021 – Robotics on Mars with Dr. Ethan Schaler

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This week we are pleased to welcome Dr. Ethan Schaler to the Weekly Space Hangout. Ethan is a Robotics Mechanical Engineer in the Robotic Actuation and Sensing Group at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Ethan has backgrounds in Electrical Engineering (PhD), Mechanical Engineering (BS), and Micro/Nanotechnology (MPhil), and collaborates with researchers in a variety of disciplines to design, model, fabricate, and characterize new robotic systems at micrometer- to meter-scales.

In the flight world, Ethan is a member of the Robotic Arm team in the Sampling and Caching Subsystem for the Mars 2020 mission, where he’s focused on testing / operating the rover’s robotic arm and built-in force-torque sensor. In the research world, he’s built flexible grippers, miniature legged robots, and high-voltage actuators. Lately, he’s also been brainstorming ideas for new robots to explore unique corners of our solar system.

Ethan has also had two of his proposals selected by NASA as 2021 Phase 1 NIAC studies:

FLOAT — Flexible Levitation on a Track Mission Concept
SWIM — Sensing with Independent Micro-swimmers

You can learn more about Ethan and stay up to date with his projects by visiting his JPL Website and the M2020 Website. You can also follow him on Linked-In.

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