INCREASED COST EFFECTIVENESS OF MARS EXPLORATION USING HUMAN-ROBOTIC SYNERGY
Richard L. Sylvan M.D.
Mars exploration presents problems not present in the exploration of the moon. The great distance causes prolonged latency as well as reduction of signal strength and bandwidth. The slowed communication limits the speed of movement and rate of data transfer from Earth controlled Mars probes. The area of Mars that can be explored by these probes and the percentage of time their instruments are actually doing science are small. By reducing latency, Mars based human controllers could increase the science performed by robotic probes by several orders of magnitude. An exploration team at one location on Mars could contribute to the exploration of the entire surface of Mars. A low risk, high reward mission would be added to the manned exploration of Mars.
Modifications in the Mars exploration plan necessary to institute this model are discussed. These include development of standard control systems for use by the Mars team, software overseeing division of control of instruments between Earth and Mars based operators, artificial intelligence to facilitate noninterference of the two team's instruction sets, development of minimal and ideal communication satellite systems, and improvements in durability of probes to allow maximal number of probes to be available. Options for training requirements for astronauts, as well as for the scientific team are presented including communication models to limit friction between Earth and Mars based teams.