Eurograd message

Message posted on 19/11/2018

Janet Vertesi, Public Lecture, Warwick in London, 10 December 2018 5pm

The Social Life of Spacecraft: Organized Science on NASA’s Robotic
Spacecraft Teams

Lecture by Janet Vertesi (Princeton University)

Monday 10 December 2018, 5pm - 6pm
Warwick in London

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Photo by J. Krohn

How does social organization affect the conduct and practice of science? To
explore this question, Vertesi presents empirical data from a comparative
ethnographic study of work on two NASA robotic spacecraft mission teams. While
the robots appear to be singular entities operating autonomously in the
frontiers of space, decisions about what the robots should do and how they
accomplish their science are made on an iterative basis by a large,
distributed team of scientists and engineers on Earth. As spacecraft team
members negotiate among themselves for robotic time and resources, their
sociotechnical organization is paramount to understanding how decisions are
made, which scientific data are acquired, and how the team relates to their
robot, with implications for team solidarity, data sharing, and scientific

Janet Vertesi is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Princeton University with
a focus on the sociology of science, technology, and organizations. Dubbed
“Margaret Mead among the Starfleet” in the Times Literary Supplement, her
past decade of research, funded by the National Science Foundation, examines
how distributed robotic spacecraft teams work together effectively to produce
scientific and technical results. Her book Seeing Like a Rover (University of
Chicago Press, 2015) describes the collaborative work of the Mars Exploration
Rover mission including the people, the images, and the robots who do science
on Mars. Vertesi is also a long-time contributor to the Association of
Computing Machinery conferences on human-computer interaction and computer
supported cooperative work. She is an advisory board member of the Data and
Society institute in New York City and is a member of Princeton University’s
Center for Information Technology Policy.

Attendance is free but registration is required. Available places will be
allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

Please click here
to register to attend

This Lecture is supported by the ERC project BLINDSPOT, the Centre for
Interdisciplinary Methodologies (University of Warwick), the Sociological
Review, and the Center on Organizational Innovation (Columbia University).

Dr Noortje Marres

Associate Professor |
Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (CIM
) |
University of Warwick

Visiting Professor |
Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS ) |
University of Leiden.
EASST's Eurograd mailing list
Eurograd (at)
Unsubscribe or edit subscription options:

Meet us via

Report abuses of this list to

view as plain text
Follow by Email