RAVEN | Next-generation Mars Exploration
A conversation with the University of Arizona president Robert C. Robbins and Associate Professor of Lunar and Planetary Sciences Christopher Hamilton, who is a geosciences expert by training, and who is the principal investigator for RAVEN, short for Rover–Aerial Vehicle Exploration Networks. Professor Hamilton’s groundbreaking project is demonstrating the capacity to use new drone technology in planetary exploration, expanding on a proof of concept by the twin-rotor drone Ingenuity, which is part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. With Ingenuity working to demonstrate that we really can fly in Mars’ less-dense atmosphere, Dr. Hamilton’s team is currently in Iceland testing RAVEN, the location chosen because its unique, constantly evolving volcanic landscape is a close analog for Martian terrain. Aerial photography courtesy: Christopher Hamilton.