Robots may take over polar exploration

Apr 06, 2006

The day may soon come when robots assume much of the responsibility for Antarctic exploration, U.S. scientists reported at a conference in Vienna.

The robots, with ranges of hundreds of miles, could be designed to perform scientific experiments on their own. U.S. engineers have already built a solar-powered prototype and tested it in Greenland, where it has "exceeded expectations," the BBC reported.

Plans call for building and deploying five robots by the end of 2007. James Lever, an engineer with the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., told the BBC at the European Geosciences Union annual meeting the robots could perform scientific experiments where access for humans is difficult or expensive.

"There are two basic types of mission scenarios," said Lever. "One would be to stop the robot en route and take the data you need -- things like sampling for bacteria in the snow, measuring the atmosphere, or doing a glaciological survey with ground-penetrating radar.

"Then the other side is array-based sensor networks where you would deploy the instruments and then pick them up some time later."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Ceres bright spots sharpen but questions remain

Related Stories

Q&A: Why are antibiotics used in livestock?

10 hours ago

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, is the latest company to ask its suppliers to curb the use of antibiotics in farm animals. Here's a rundown of what's driving the decision: ...

Recommended for you

Ceres bright spots sharpen but questions remain

6 hours ago

The latest views of Ceres' enigmatic white spots are sharper and clearer, but it's obvious that Dawn will have to descend much lower before we'll see crucial details hidden in this overexposed splatter of ...

What are extrasolar planets?

6 hours ago

For countless generations, human beings have looked out at the night sky and wondered if they were alone in the universe. With the discovery of other planets in our solar system, the true extent of the Milky ...

Rosetta's view of a comet's "great divide"

7 hours ago

The latest image to be revealed of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comes from October 27, 2014, before the Philae lander even departed for its surface. Above we get a view of a dramatically-shadowed cliff ...

How long will our spacecraft survive?

7 hours ago

There are many hazards out there, eager to disrupt and dismantle the mighty machines we send out into space. How long can they survive to perform their important missions?

Why roundworms are ideal for space studies

7 hours ago

Humans have long been fascinated by the cosmos. Ancient cave paintings show that we've been thinking about space for much of the history of our species. The popularity of recent sci-fi movies suggest that ...

A curious family of giant exoplanets

7 hours ago

There are 565 exoplanets currently known that are as massive as Jupiter or bigger, about one third of the total known, confirmed exoplanet population. About one quarter of the massive population orbits very ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.