Legacy of the Mars Rover Program: for more than eight years, scientists have been doing fieldwork on Mars, the first overland investigation of another planet. Working through programmed robotic laboratories, called the Mars Exploration Rovers, they have a virtual experience of being on Mars.
The Spirit and Opportunity teams have driven over 25 miles, taken thousands of photographs, analyzed the chemistry of the terrain, and inspected rocks by grinding them and taking microscopic images. How does working remotely through a robotic laboratory change the nature of field science? How does it change the scientists? A cognitive scientist with privileged access to mission operations, Clancey explains that the “robotic geologists” are not the rovers, but the scientists who have imaginatively projected themselves into the body of the machine.
William J. Clancey
Dr. William J. Clancey is Chief Scientist for Human-Centered Computing at NASA Ames Research Center, Computational Sciences Division, where he manages the Work Systems Design & Evaluation Group. He is on leave from the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, Pensacola.
Clancey's research includes work practice modeling, distributed multiagent systems, and the ethnography of field science. Projects in his group include participation in MER mission operations, simulation of a day-in-the-life of the ISS, knowledge management for future launch vehicles, and developing flight systems that make automation more transparent.
Clancey has degrees in Mathematical Sciences (BA, Rice University, 1974) and Computer Science (PhD, Stanford University, 1979). At the Knowledge Systems Laboratory of Stanford University (1974-1987), Clancey developed some of the earliest artificial intelligence programs for explanation, the critiquing method of consultation, tutorial discourse, and student modeling. Prior to joining NASA, he was a founding member of the Institute for Research on Learning (1987-1997) where he co-developed the methods of business anthropology in corporate environments.