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: Partial solar eclipse sweeps across North America

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MasterCard, Zwipe announce fingerprint-sensor card

24 minutes ago

On Friday, MasterCard and Oslo, Norway-based Zwipe announced the launch of a contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. Say goodbye to PINs. This card, they said, is the world's ...

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms

1 hour ago

Organisms can be negatively affected by plastic nanoparticles, not just in the seas and oceans but in freshwater bodies too. These particles slow the growth of algae, cause deformities in water fleas and impede communication ...

Atomic trigger shatters mystery of how glass deforms

1 hour ago

Throw a rock through a window made of silica glass, and the brittle, insulating oxide pane shatters. But whack a golf ball with a club made of metallic glass—a resilient conductor that looks like metal—and the glass not ...

US company sells out of Ebola toys

10 hours ago

They might look tasteless, but satisfied customers dub them cute and adorable. Ebola-themed toys have proved such a hit that one US-based company has sold out.

UN biodiversity meet commits to double funding

10 hours ago

A UN conference on preserving the earth's dwindling resources wrapped up Friday with governments making a firm commitment to double biodiversity aid to developing countries by 2015.

Recommended for you

China launches first mission to moon and back

1 hour ago

China launched its first space mission to the moon and back early Friday, authorities said, the latest step forward for Beijing's ambitious programme to one day land a Chinese citizen on the Earth's only ...

Close encounters: Comet siding spring seen next to mars

11 hours ago

(Phys.org) —This composite NASA Hubble Space Telescope Image captures the positions of comet Siding Spring and Mars in a never-before-seen close passage of a comet by the Red Planet, which happened at 2:28 ...

User comments : 0