Episode 80: Butler Hine talks about paving the way for robotic space exploration

01.01.2019 - By STEM-Talk

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Our guest today is Dr. Butler Hine, the Flight Project Manager and Chief Technologist for Engineering at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Butler is also a senior research scientist and a colleague of Ken and Dawn at IHMC.

Butler is currently the project manager for NASA’s Arcus mission, which is an X-ray observatory that has a possible launch date of 2023. The mission will include a high-resolution X-ray grating spectrometer that will study the hot gas that is the dominant component of the normal matter in the Universe, much of which has not yet been directly seen.

In today’s interview, we discuss:

[00:03:57] How Butler became interested in astronomy and started building telescopes as a youth.
[00:08:37] How Butler wound up managing the robotics lab at NASA.
[00:11:55] The challenges of trying to change the thinking of the science community about ways to adapt technology to science.
[00:17:34] Artificial intelligence and data mining.
[00:26:59] The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer mission, also known as LADEE.
[00:30:07] The concept of modularity in spacecraft design.
[00:41:58] The scientific goals of NASA’s Arcus mission, which Butler is currently managing.
[00:45:58 The complexity of developing a robotic platform for space or lunar exploration
[00:51:24] The future of robotic space exploration.

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