It is an amazing rapid prototyping environment that is like a Hackathon on the ocean floor.
In April, we had the chance to meet Eric Stackpole and David Lang at the International Space Apps Challenge. They had submitted a challenged called “OpenROV Framework Development” with the goal to “further the development of hardware, software, and communications interfaces to visually and bathymetrically map the ocean floor, in an opensource fashion.” OpenROV captured our interest, not only because it was one of the top globally recognized solutions submitted during the event, but because it’s exactly the open source, observation-class ROV (remotely operated vehicle) we have been looking for! Let me explain.
During last year’s NEEMO-15 mission, the NASA Open Government Initiative built a software platform to engage citizen scientists in helping us crowdsource the analysis of the coral reef around the Aquarius habitat. The effort was an overwhelming success. In just over a week, over 300 citizen scientists discovered over 12,000 features, and confirmed (or disputed) each others observations over 22,000 times. Crowdsourcing techniques such as these are being considered in the overall exploration approach, as NASA plans missions to distant worlds, including asteroids.
The plans for OpenROV couldn’t have fit more ...