Mobile Agents: Are They Useful for Establishing a Virtual Presence in Space?

Todd Papaioannou

The launch of the Deep Space One (DS1) probe heralded the beginning of a new phase for NASA, which will be embarking on a series of missions to test and deploy low cost, demonstration technologies. In an attempt to cut mission costs from billions to under 100 million, NASA is looking towards autonomous spacecraft and robots to establish a virtual presence in space. This paper describes mobile agents and discusses their uses in tackling the problems of adjustable autonomy and long distance interaction. The concepts of autonomy and emergence are then briefly discussed, before combining them with a mobile agent based framework within which the properties of adjustable autonomy and interaction at a distance are inherent. Finally, mobile agents are examined within several plausible contexts to demonstrate their applicability.


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