Space Robots: Past, Present, and Future Event as iCalendar

(Seminars, Computer Science, Science Event Tags)

24 October 2017

10 - 11am

Venue: Building 303S, Room 561

Location: City Campus

Host: Department of Computer Science


Speaker: Michael Sims, CEO/Founder of Ceres Robotics, Inc.


Humans are on the verge of becoming a multi-planetary species.  In addition to Earth, we are going to soon have permanent homes on the Moon, Mars and beyond.  Elon Musk predicts that within 40 to 100 years a million people will be living off planet.  Jeff Bezos has made a similar prediction.  We will need to drastically reduce the cost of launch and operations in order to meet these predictions.  These are ambitious, but not impossible, tasks.

As a million colonists move into space they will take their ecosystems and their robots with them.  The robots they take will be the smart shovels for miners, the smart sensors for prospectors and the smart agricultural tools for crop growers.  Our mission at Ceres Robotics is to build affordable robots to meet those needs.

In this talk I will describe the planetary surface robots of the past, those robots that are currently exploring other planets and describe what we can expect for the next generation of planetary surface robots.  I will also talk about what it will take to be able to have the large numbers of robots needed in support of a large off-Earth human population.

By international law and by consensus of those exploring space these missions will be for our shared benefit.  One of the most exciting developments today is that smaller nations, such as New Zealand, are establishing programs and industries to be part of this endeavor.


Michael Sims is the founder and CEO of the new space startup Ceres Robotics, Inc.  Sims has a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Rutgers University where his thesis was in Machine Learning. He worked for 20+ years at NASA on AI and robotics with most of his focus on planetary rover missions, such as Mars Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers.  Sims was previously a Vice President of Moon Express, one of the companies competing for the Google Lunar X Prize.