The NASA GROVER robot passed the test in Greenland

NASA scientists delivered the new robot in Greenland to show its ability to work in a full autonomy in the most severe conditions of Earth. GROVER polar robot is equipped with geo radar for the snow and ice analysis, and also the autonomous system operated by satellite communication of Iridium. All this is located between two solar panels on two caterpillars. GROVER was developed by teams of the pupils visiting engineering camp of the Center of space flights of Goddard in the summer 2010 and 2011.  Then the GROVER robot transported in University of the State of Idaho for thin control with help of NASA. Researchers already carried out rover tests on a beach in the State of Maryland and in snow of Idaho, but this last test was the most severe. From May 6 to June 8 GROVER was in the highest point of Greenland and it was its first polar experience. In five weeks GROVER robot collected radar data on more than 18 miles of the ice district. Though these data are stored now in a rover and will be withdrawn after mission, the team hopes finally to pass to work with a geostationary communication satellite. The satellite will allow transfer of large volumes of data in real time. The radar-tracking system radiates a signal which is reflected from various layers of an ice cover. Researchers hope to use these data to study snow and ice accumulation. The research group expected from the robot round the clock work, but polar conditions had on it stronger influence, than it was expected. 363 kg electronics and system of batteries of the robot couldn’t adjust understanding with the nature. Overall performance of batteries and electronics decreased because of low temperatures, therefore the robot couldn’t work round the clock and didn’t pass the planned distance. The team had to correct constantly the speed of movement and GROVER capacity. Though GROVER robot made progress in the first series of polar tests, the team plans possible replacement of components which are difficult for manipulating on cold, merge of two on-board computers for decrease in consumption of energy, and also wind generator use for creation of bigger power.


Post navigation