The purpose of the Mars rover is in its name---to rove, explore, study Martian geology, look for signs of water, look for signs of life (past or present), etc. However, achieving these and other objectives requires putting the rover down on a suitable landing site, i.e. a site suitable for searching for the desired information and safe to land and function without hindrance or breaking down.
The data for making these decisions comes from prior Mars missions. Selecting a suitable landing site is a complex process typically taking several years. Researchers at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research prototyped a new software that can help NASA mission planners to more rapidly and reliably find landing sites, potentially reducing the total time required to weeks. In this interview, Victor Pankratius, leader of the research team, shares some insight into the project.
In this series of interviews with innovation leaders, Ubiquity Associate Editor and software engineer, Dr. Bushra Anjum, sits down with Jason Ernst, CTO of RightMesh, to discuss how his company is using mobile mesh networks to decentralize existing network infrastructure in areas where it doesn't exist or is too expensive to maintain--effectively putting the control of data in the hands of the people.