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ISR-affiliated Associate Professor Dave Akin (AE/ISR) is the Principal Investigator for a three-year NASA Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring the Planets (ASTEP) award valued at $3,075,094.

NASA's ASTEP program combines the science and technology communities to enable future space missions to determine whether life exists or has existed outside Earth. Through a detailed, collaborative analysis of Earth's extreme environments, NASA believes it can better prepare to understand analogous systems elsewhere. The focus of ASTEP projects is to validate and improve existing technology, preparing it for future flight missions to test for life in the solar system and beyond.

In the project, Akin's Space Systems Laboratory will adapt its space robotics technology to build a dexterous robot arm for deep submergence activities. It will integrate this manipulator onto the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute's SeaBed autonomous underwater vehicle and send it under the Arctic ice cap to sample marine life around hydrothermal vents at a depth of 4,000 meters. Story



January 1, 2004


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