Seeing Like a Rover: Janet Vertesi (Princeton University)

Event date/time: 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 - 11:30am to 1:00pm

Seeing Like a Rover: How Robots, Teams, and Images Craft Knowledge of Mars 

Janet Vertesi  (Princeton University, Department of Sociology)

January 27, 2016 | 11:30-1:00 pm
Machmer W32 (lunch provided)

With Seeing Like a Rover, Janet Vertesi takes us behind the scenes to reveal the work that goes into creating our knowledge of Mars. Every photograph that the Rovers take, she shows, must be processed, manipulated, and interpreted--and all that comes after team members negotiate with each other about what they should even be taking photographs of in the first place. Vertesi's account of the inspiringly successful Rover project reveals science in action, a world where digital processing uncovers scientific truths, where images are used to craft consensus, and where team members develop an uncanny intimacy with the sensory apparatus of a robot that is millions of miles away. 

Ultimately, Vertesi shows every image taken by the Mars Rover is not merely a picture of Mars--it's a portrait of the whole Rover team, as well. 
 
This event is co-sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Department of Sociology and the Institute for Social Science Research.