Calculating Extra-vehicular Activity --- for Astronauts on the Moon and for Students in Killian Court

By Daniel Sheehan, GIS Specialist Office of Educational Innovation and Technology

Under the guidance of Professors Dava Newman and Jeff Hoffman, Daniel Sheehan of OEIT worked with graduate students Lasse Linqvist (Aero Astro), Joe Essenburg (Mechanical Engineering) and postdoctoral fellow James Waldie to produce a GIS interface to the Java based Path Planner software that was previously developed at MIT. This software calculates metabolic costs and travel time for astronauts' Extra-vehicular Activity (EVA) on the moon and on Mars.

The new interface gives students and researchers the capability of evaluating numerous images along with elevation and slope when planning EVAs. This software will be used in 16.00AJ Fundamentals of Engineering Design: Explore! Earth, Sea, Space (one of the project-based learning classes) during the Spring 2008 semester. Students will plan their EVAs (across Killian Court) using the software, and then conduct their field exploration based on the routes they develop with the new software.