Tuesday | January 16, 2018
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PISCES moon rover set to be showcased

Join Rob Kelso and Rodrigo Romo from the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) at 7 p.m. Friday at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center for a talk about how a lunar rover and the Robotic Village will play a role in “living off the land,” a concept vital to Earth’s next chapter in space exploration.

Kelso and Romo will showcase the newly acquired PISCES Moon Rover, the first of its kind in Hawaii. The rover, a 726-pound robotic space vehicle, just arrived in Hawaii in March. The size of a golf cart, it comes from Canada through an extended loan agreement with Ontario Drive Gear.

The rover is the heart of PISCES’s “Robotic Village,” an In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) research facility.

ISRU involves the development of technologies that can manipulate raw materials on other planets into resources needed for human survival in space.

This rover, for example, can search the moon for water and ice, which can not only be used to drink, but also can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, both used to make rocket propellant.

On top of ISRU research, the rover will also play a central role in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education activities and tests.

The Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems is a Hawaii State Government Aerospace Agency located in Hilo. The center is part of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and conducts environmentally safe field demonstrations on Hawaii Island’s volcanic terrain to test and validate advanced space technologies under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

PISCES’ projects also include robotics, advanced manufacturing and advanced communications, all of which involve dual-use technologies: they have applications in space and here at home. They can potentially advance planetary surface systems technology, as well as stimulate the growth of Hawaii’s economy, create jobs locally, educate keiki astronauts-to-be, and improve the state’s sustainability.

PISCES’s Executive Director Kelso is a former NASA Shuttle flight director who served in NASA’s famed Mission Control Center, directing 25 Space Shuttle missions. PISCES’s Project Manager Romo joined the team in January to lead the center’s “Robotic Village.”

The monthly planetarium presentations are hosted the third Friday of each month.

Admission is $10.

‘Imiloa is at 600 ‘Imiloa Place in Hilo, off Komohana and Nowelo streets at the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park.

For more information, visit www.imiloahawaii.org or call 969-9703.


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