Knowledge management for space exploration is part of a multi‐generational effort. Each mission builds on knowledge from prior missions, and learning is the first step in knowledge production. This paper aims to use the Mars Exploration Rover mission as a site to explore this process.
This paper presents an observational study and analysis of the work of the MER science and engineering team during rover operations, to investigate how learning occurs, how it is recorded, and how these representations might be made available for subsequent missions.
The paper finds that learning occurred in many areas: planning science strategy, using instruments within the constraints of the Martian environment, the Deep Space Network, and the mission requirements; using software tools effectively; and running two teams on Mars time for three months. This learning is preserved in many ways. Primarily it resides in individuals' memories. It is also encoded in stories, procedures, programming sequences, published reports, and lessons learned databases.
This paper shows the earliest stages of knowledge creation in a scientific mission, and demonstrates that knowledge management must begin with an understanding of knowledge creation.
The paper shows that studying learning and knowledge creation suggests proactive ways to capture and use knowledge across multiple missions and generations.
This paper provides a unique analysis of the learning process of a scientific space mission, relevant for knowledge management researchers and designers, as well as demonstrating in detail how new learning occurs in a learning organization.
Linde, C. (2006), "Learning from the Mars Rover Mission: scientific discovery, learning and memory", Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 90-102. https://doi.org/10.1108/13673270610656656Download as .RIS
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