Solar robot copes with polar conditions

greenlandA research group that recently tested a robot in a deserted part of Greenland declared the operation a resounding success. The team tested GROVER in the harsh environment around Summit Camp with temperatures hovering around the -10°C mark and winds blowing at 50kph.

NASA says the solar powered automaton covered 30kms during its five-week odyssey through the polar region. Analysts attached to NASA say GROVER collected and archived data successfully and also managed to transmit real time self-diagnostics.

Scientists say they hope to eventually tweak GROVER so that he can transmit live data via satellite. NASA says that the only downside to GROVER’s travels was that he needed to recharge his batteries every 12 hours due to the extreme weather conditions.

NASA scientists say they will eventually employ GROVER to give information about layers of snow and to conduct underground surveys with radar equipment. According to Clean Technica, NASA glaciologist Lora Koenig stated that even though the robot had only been able to perform for 12 hours at a time, this was far better than humans can manage.

Ms Koenig said working in sub-zero temperatures sapped people’s energy and was also expensive. She said the robot could probably be improved so that it could operate for longer periods.

Although NASA ran the field tests, GROVER was actually designed and built by students on location at NASA’s Goddard facility in Maryland. The machine’s acronym means Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research.