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Eric Baumgartner


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 278
Pasadena, CA 91109


(818) 354-4831


(818) 393-6400

Eric T. Baumgartner, Ph.D.

Member of Technical Staff


Dr. Eric T. Baumgartner is a Senior Engineer in the Instrument Mechanical Engineering Section at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. Dr. Baumgartner contributed to the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project as the lead Systems, Test and Operations Engineer for the MER Instrument Deployment Device which consists of a rover-mounted 5 degree-of-freedom robotic arm that carries 4 in-situ science instruments. During MER prime surface mission operations, he served as a Rover Planner for the Opportunity rover. Dr. Baumgartner is currently the Project Element Manager for the robotic sample acquisition and sample handling subsystem on the Mars Science Laboratory project scheduled for launch in 2009.


Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, November 1992. Dissertation: An Autonomous Vision-Based Mobile Robot.

M.S. in Aerospace Engineering, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, June 1990. Thesis: Alternative On-Line Smoothers for Rocket Engine Health Monitoring.

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Notre Dame, IN, May 1988.

Professional Experience

Senior Engineer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1996-present.

Supervisor, Mechanical and Robotic Technologies Group, Mobility and Robotic Systems Section, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 2002 - 2005.

Visiting Lecturer, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Spring Quarters, 1997 - 2002, 2005.

Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering - Engineering Mechanics, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI, 1993 - 1996.

Research Interests

Dr. Baumgartner's research interests include sensor fusion and state estimation algorithms for autonomous robotic systems and vision-based techniques for precision manipulation.


  1. P. Chris Leger, Ashitey Trebi-Ollennu, John R. Wright, Scott A. Maxwell, Robert G. Bonitz, Jeffrey J. Biesiadecki, Frank R. Hartman, Brian K. Cooper, Eric T. Baumgartner, and Mark W. Maimone, "Mars Exploration Rover Surface Operations: Driving Spirit at Gusev Crater," October 2005 IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics conference proceedings, Hawaii, USA., 10 October 2005.
  2. A. Trebi-Ollennu, E. Baumgartner, C. Leger, and R. Bonitz., "Robotic Arm In-Situ Operations for the Mars Exploration Rovers Surface Mission," In Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics., 01 October 2005.
  3. E. Baumgartner, R. Bonitz, J. Melko, L. Shiraishi and P. Leger, "The Mars Exploration Rover Instrument Positioning System," Proceedings of the IEEE Aerospace Conference (CDROM), 01 March 2005.
  1. H. Kucuk, G. Parker, and E. T. Baumgartner, "Robot Positioning of Flexible-Link Manipulator using Vision," <i>Robotica</i>, Vol 22, pp. 301-307, 01 January 2004.
  1. S. S. Squyres, R. E. Arvidson, E. T. Baumgartner, J. F. Bell, P. R. Christensen, S. Gorevan, K. E. Herkenhoff, G. Klingelhofer, M. B. Madsen, R. V. Morris, R. Rieder, and R. A. Romero, "Athena Mars Rover Science Investigation," <i>Journal of Geophysical Research</i>, Volume 108, Issue E12, pp. ROV 3-1, 01 January 2003.