The University of Texas has inked a deal with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to work together in areas such as robotics, miniature satellites and high-precision mapping. The director of UT’s Center for Space Research, Byron Tapley says it will ultimately help to advance space exploration.
“The activities we’re talking about here are built more about the unmanned, or the robotic exploration programs, both of the earth and of the planets themselves," said Tapley. "I would say the excitement of that is every bit, if you look at the excitement generated with the recent landing of the Mars science laboratory.”
The project manager of the team that landed that Curiosity Rover was a graduate of UT.
The head of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Charles Elachi says the new partnership with UT is a logical extension of JPL’s existing relationship with the university.
“So what we hoping is that this agreement will expand both the collaboration with the faculty and researchers at UT, but also will be a mechanism of working more with the students here who can come and work sometime at JPL and possibly in the future become employees at JPL and play a major role in our nation’s exploration program,” said Elachi.
UT is one of twelve universities selected for the Strategic University Research Partnership with NASA. UT says there will be no additional costs to the university.