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NASA`s polar robotic ranger GROVER passes Greenland test

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 19:32

Washington: Defying 30 mph gusts and temperatures down to minus 22 F, NASA`s new polar rover in Greenland has demonstrated that it could operate completely autonomously in one of Earth`s harshest environments.

The robot known as GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, was designed by teams of students attending engineering boot camps at Goddard in the summers of 2010 and 2011.

Built to carry a ground-penetrating radar to analyze layers of snow and ice, the rover was later transferred to Boise State University for fine-tuning with NASA funding.

Although researchers had tested GROVER at a beach in Maryland and in the snow in Idaho, the May 6 to June 8 testing at Summit Camp, the highest spot in Greenland, was the rover`s first polar experience.

One of the main goals was proving that the robot could execute commands sent from afar over an Iridium satellite connection - an objective GROVER accomplished.

GROVER collected and stored radar data over 18 miles during the five weeks it spent on the ice.

During the testing, the rover was also able to transmit information in real time on how its onboard systems were performing.

The robot`s solar-charged batteries allowed it to operate for up to 12 hours before having to recharge.


First Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 19:31
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