Draft report for the ASEE workshop
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Andrea Donnellan - Jet Propulsion
Click on the button to see a brief summary of the workshop
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Antarctica and the Arctic are expensive and difficult places to do research because of their remote-nature and harsh environmental conditions. They are the most isolated places on Earth and also experience the most extreme weather conditions. Antarctica and its special challenges is the driver for the workshop; it is the prototype extreme environment. In some regions of Antarctica, temperatures have been recorded as low as -90 degrees C, wind gusts at nearly 90 m/sec, and absolute humidity lower than in the Sahara desert. The polar regions are among the Earth's most sensitive to environmental change and also have exceptionally long natural climate records. Scientists are constantly looking for ways to accomplish research goals at the lowest possible cost and still maintain a high level of scientific value. In 1996, the Committee on Fundamental Science of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) recommended that cost savings for the U.S. Antarctic Programs could be achieved by reducing requirement for on-site supporting staff by developing autonomous data gathering systems utilizing advanced computers and micro-electronics and emerging satellite capabilities.
Numerous investigators are conducting experiments in polar or other extreme environments that require the use of autonomous systems and the number of autonomous systems is expected to increase. Examples of programs that currently use autonomous systems in the Antarctic are the Automated Geophysical Observatories (AGO) program, Univ. of Wisconsin remote weather stations, remote GPS stations deployed by JPL and UCSB, and remote seismic stations deployed by Penn State Univ. The Arctic division of NSF/OPP sponsors autonomous systems development for environmental monitoring. The goal of the Long-term Observations in the Arctic program is to increase the availability of long-term environmental data in the Arctic. Sites are needed due to the scarcity of observations in the Arctic (compared to most places on Earth), the lack of ready access to many parts of the Arctic, or the necessity to collect new samples because no Arctic sample curatorial facility exists except for ice cores. Ocean engineers have a long history of dealing with remote stations on the sea floor. Our emphasis for this workshop will be on subaerial systems.
While these systems may vary in size and power requirements, they have similar problems that must be overcome in order for them to function properly. These problems include, but are not limited to, issues related to power, thermal environment, data storage, communications, and packaging. A workshop is scheduled for August 31 - September 2, 1999 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California to discuss these issues.
An integrated systems approach must be used to design a successful autonomous station. For example thermal systems impact power systems and these systems may have feedbacks on themselves. Changes in one aspect of the system may impact another component. Through the workshop, we aim to promote discussion between investigators such that lessons learned are efficiently communicated and successful systems are developed that maximize scientific output. The goals of the workshop are as follows:
Scientists, engineers, and industry partners are invited to participate in the workshop. The meeting will begin with keynote speakers followed by talks and discussion in a variety of topics. Each session will begin with a talk by an expert within that field. Attendees are invited to speak in any of the sessions, including the general session on experience gained and lessons learned. The last day will be devoted to breakout groups that will formulate recommendations on overall systems design or certain aspects of autonomous systems.
Proceedings and recommendations of the workshop will be published via the web.
Click on the button to see the participant lis, the abstract list, or participant contact information
Automatic Geophysical Observatories (AGO) in Antarctica
Other Links of Interest:
Portions of this document were contributed by:
Henry Awaya, JPL
Ngoc Hoang, NAL Research Corporation
Frank Carsey, JPL
Pat Smith, NSF
Thomas Rebold, JPL
Gregory Dace, Acumen Instruments Corporation
Michael Brennan, Northern Power Systems, Inc.
Jack Doolittle, Lockheed Martin
Paul Stolorz, JPL
John Orcutt, SIO/UCSD
Ray Dibble, Victoria University
Bill Nesbit, Antarctic Support Associates
Carol Raymond, JPL
Last modified on 7/23/01 by Maggi Glasscoe (Maggi.Glasscoe@jpl.nasa.gov)