SETI Institute Fellow, Edna DeVore, Named Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Edna DeVore
Edna DeVore Full size image

November 20, 2017, Mountain View, CA – SETI Institute Fellow and Director of Education at the SETI Institute Edna DeVore has been awarded the additional distinction of Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is recognizing Edna for her distinguished contributions to astronomy education and to the professional communities working to increase appreciation for and understanding of the universe. Fellows are elected to the position by their AAAS member peers.

“I am delighted and deeply honored to be selected as an AAAS Fellow for my career in astronomy education,” said DeVore. “During my career, my achievements were possible only because I worked with a great team of talented educators and willing scientists. Personally, I’ve always enjoyed being at the interface between scientific researchers and educators, students and the public, connecting people with the amazing discoveries about the universe.” 

The SETI Institute has had the privilege of working with Edna for 25 years and her contributions have shaped STEM education and outreach programs that have impacted millions of children, young adults and educators. Included among the many who have been taught, mentored, inspired and positively influenced by Edna are those who have gone on to become scientists, teachers, writers, thought leaders, and space science advocates.

Since joining the SETI Institute, Edna has led education and public outreach for NASA Missions including the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), including the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program, and Kepler. She conceived of and is now leading the team implementing the Reaching for the Stars: NASA Science for Girl Scouts program, which has the potential to touch girls throughout the United States. Edna has overseen the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program that pairs students with SETI Institute science mentors, co-led curriculum two projects: Life in the Universe for grades 3-9, and Voyages through Time, an integrated high school science course. She also served as acting CEO of the SETI Institute.

“Edna is an extraordinary force in the world of STEM education.”  said Bill Diamond, President and CEO of the SETI Institute. “She has established herself as one of the most creative and inspiring leaders in STEM, where her vision and determination have brought about such landmark programs as “Reaching for the Stars – NASA Science for Girl Scouts.” This STEM oriented Girl Scouts badge program has the potential to impact the lives of millions of young girls, celebrating the excitement and joy of exploration and discovery.  We are both fortunate and proud to have Edna on our team and are delighted that AAAS is conferring this honor upon her.” 

Edna’s service to scientific education community extends well beyond the SETI Institute. She has served on boards and committees of many other organizations including Astronomical Society of the Pacific, NASA Advisory Committee Subcommittee of Astrophysics, American Astronomical Society, AbSciCon, Foundation for Microbiology, and NSF “Women in Astronomy.” Additionally, Edna has published, lectured, and taught widely throughout her career. Before coming to the SETI Institute Edna was a planetarium director and science educator.

About the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science (www.sciencemag.org) as well as Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, a digital, open-access journal, Science Advances, Science Immunology, and Science Robotics. AAAS was founded in 1848 and includes nearly 250 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world. The non-profit AAAS (www.aaas.org) is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement, and more. For the latest research news, log onto EurekAlert! (www.eurekalert.org), the premier science-news Web site, a service of AAAS. See www.aaas.org.

NASA HAUGHTON-MARS PROJECT: NEW PARTNERSHIP ON MARS DRONE APPLICATIONS RESEARCH

14 November 2017. Mountain View, CA. The Mars Institute, the SETI Institute, and FYBR Solutions Inc. (FYBR) are announcing a new partnership with the NASA Haughton-Mars Project (HMP) for the research and development of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) or drone technologies and applications for future Mars exploration.

The NASA HMP is a leading international Mars analog field research project centered on the Haughton meteorite impact crater site and surrounding terrain on Devon Island, High Arctic. As one of the most Mars-like places on Earth, the site is often referred to as Mars On Earth. Over its twenty years of history, the NASA HMP has made many contributions to the advancement of Mars science and exploration through field studies at the site, including studies of the use of UAVs.

“We’ve been investigating the use of robotic aircraft for Mars exploration on the HMP since 1998” says Dr. Pascal Lee, planetary scientist with the Mars Institute and the SETI Institute, and director of the NASA HMP at NASA Ames Research Center. “This new partnership with FYBR will expand our investigation of the wide range of technologies and applications for UAVs on Mars.”

FYBR Solutions Inc., formerly Spire Aerobotics Inc., is an industry leading end-to-end provider of high-resolution geospatial data and advanced data analytics. The Vancouver-based company specializes in forestry applications, but also has unique experience in the operation of drones in extreme environments on Earth, specifically in polar regions, including on Devon Island.

“We’re proud to join the HMP’s team of industry partners, and excited to help make continued advances in drone technologies and remote sensing, not just on our planet, but on Mars and beyond,” says Patrick Crawford, Co-Founder and CEO of FYBR.

Although Mars has a thin atmosphere, with an average surface pressure of 10 millibars, equivalent to that found in the Earth’s stratosphere at an altitude of approximately 100,000 feet (30 km), flight is possible, including with rotorcraft. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is currently considering a robotic helicopter scout system for NASA’s upcoming Mars 2020 mission, and NASA’s Langley Research Center is developing a Mars Electric Reusable Flyer.

Rotorcraft are a great way to explore Mars,” says Lee, who co-authored early NASA research studies on Mars rotorcraft and is a FAA-certified helicopter flight instructor and drone pilot. “On the HMP, we’re putting drones through practical field tests of the many applications we envision for them on Mars.”

UAVs on Mars may be used as robotic explorers, just like robotic rovers are today, but over much greater ranges and with fewer terrain obstacles to tackle. In relation to human and other robotic exploration, drones may serve as scouts, context imagers, aerial mappers, remote-sensors, search & rescue and go-fetch assistants, cave and lava tube explorers, crater and canyon wall surveyors, habitat and vehicle inspectors, aseptic samplers, sample cachers and retrievers, and more.


Figure 1: UAV geospatial map of the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station site on Devon Island, High Arctic. To access the interactive map, visit: www.mars.fybrsolutions.com (HMP).

The new partnership with FYBR on the HMP will focus on the development of operational strategies and flight system requirements for route planning, mapping, and the exploration of hard-to-access locations on Mars, building on already three initial field seasons of productive joint work on Devon Island.

“There is little doubt that UAVs will play a critical role in future Mars exploration, enabling significantly extended reach and terrain coverage than is achievable by rovers alone.” said Bill Diamond, CEO of the SETI Institute. “We are excited by this partnership and its potential to deliver critical new technologies and enable significantly more impactful research for Mars exploration.”

In connection with this partnership, the HMP is releasing a one-minute video titled Mars On Earth, produced by the Mars Institute in cooperation with the SETI Institute, FYBR, and NASA. Filmed entirely on location at and around the HMP Research Station on Devon Island, Nunavut, Canada, the video offers a glimpse of how Mars-like the HMP site is and the unique perspective offered by UAVs of the terrain and exploration activities at the site.


Figure 2: 3D model of the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station, Devon Island, High Arctic, based on UAV geospatial data. To access the interactive 3D model, visit: www.mars.fybrsolutions.com (HMP).

Additionally, the HMP is releasing interactive maps and models produced by FYBR to support science, exploration, and logistics activities at and around the HMP Research Station site. The geospatial products encompass five square kilometers at an average resolution of 5 centimeters per pixel. Features identified include the HMP Research Station’s airstrip, helipad, base structures, greenhouse, fleet of vehicles, and “the Fortress” – a local geological landmark.

Future HMP research using FYBR drones and software technologies are currently planned for the HMP-2018 field season and beyond.

About Mars Institute

The Mars Institute is a non-profit research organization dedicated to the advancement of Mars science, exploration, and the public understanding of Mars. Research at the Mars Institute focuses Mars and other planetary destinations that may serve as stepping stones to Mars, in particular Mars’ moons, our Moon, and near-Earth objects. The Mars Institute investigates the technologies and strategies that will enable and optimize the future human exploration of Mars. The Mars Institute operates the Haughton-Mars Project Research Station on Devon Island, High Arctic, currently the largest privately operated polar research station in the world and the leading field research facility dedicated to planetary science and exploration.

About FYBR Solutions Inc.

FYBR Solutions Inc., formerly Spire Aerobotics Inc., is a world leading end-to-end provider of high resolution geospatial data and advanced data analytics. The Vancouver-based company’s primary focus is on supporting and optimizing the forestry industry. FYBR builds intuitive and dynamic solutions powered by drones and ground-based sensors to enable forestry stakeholders to optimize forests and the forest products supply chain.  Beyond forestry, FYBR is an industry leader in drone technology, drone operations and safety, supply chain optimization, and advanced geospatial analytics.

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