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NASA's Polar Robotic Ranger Passes Test In One of Earth's Harshest Places

Soulskill posted 1 year,14 days | from the call-me-when-it-survives-detroit-after-dark dept.

NASA 24

Zothecula writes "NASA scientists have unleashed a new robot on the arctic terrain of Greenland to demonstrate that its ability to operate with complete autonomy in one of Earth's harshest environments. Named GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, the polar robotic ranger carries ground-penetrating radar for analysis of snow and ice, and an autonomous system that is operated over an Iridium satellite connection. All of that is placed between two solar panels and two snowmobile tracks."

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24 comments

I guess... (1)

TWX (665546) | 1 year,14 days | (#44229451)

...as long as no one is there to tickle it, it'll be fine...

Re:I guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44229967)

I remember Tickle Me Elmo and Tickle Me Cookie Monster, but not a Tickle Me Grover.

In related news, I loved those toys. Throw it across the room, slam it on a table, beat it with a sledge hammer, "Hahaha! That tickles!" I always knew Elmo was a freak. ;)

Oh, be serious (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | 1 year,14 days | (#44229457)

They didn't send it to Greenland to test it, they just got their feet and meters mixed up again.

Re:Oh, be serious (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | 1 year,14 days | (#44229599)

Also, having a keen US geographic education, they assumed Greenland was the nice temperate country in the center of Europe, right next to England.

When it passes the green land test, then green-blue land, then blue-green land, then blue land, then purple land, then Iceland.

Re:Oh, be serious (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | 1 year,14 days | (#44230925)

Hey it's not our fault there hasn't been a War there recently!

Re:Oh, be serious (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | 1 year,13 days | (#44238911)

Considering who's started the major wars of the last 15 years or so, I would say its your fault their hasn't been a war there recently. ;)

Re:Oh, be serious (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | 1 year,13 days | (#44239569)

Well played, well played ;-)

Re:Oh, be serious (1)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | 1 year,14 days | (#44230487)

Yup, you can tell by the shadows that this is fake. NASA probably just did it on a sound stage at area 51.

Consequence of budget cuts (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44229555)

Because putting a man on Mars and beyond has become too costly and we have hordes of unemployed bums to feed.

So, which is it? (3, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | 1 year,14 days | (#44229865)

"an autonomous system that is operated over an Iridium satellite connection."

Is it autonomous, or is it remotely operated?

Re:So, which is it? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,14 days | (#44230159)

Have you ever gone across an Iridium connection? They're VERYslow and not always available.

It has to be autonomous.

Re:So, which is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44231065)

Plus at Iridium's $1.00/minute you don't want an always-on connection soince $1,440/day adds up fast.

Re:So, which is it? (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,14 days | (#44231103)

Yup.

At my previous job, our bill was >$100,000 per year because we connected to devices in Antarctica for hourly downloads.

Re:So, which is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44230877)

Autonomous in its navigation; it decides which route to take, how to get to its destination, and performs obstacle avoidance.

NASA gives it a location to navigate to. Same with the mars rovers.

Harsh for humans (2)

Hentes (2461350) | 1 year,14 days | (#44229877)

Greenland is only harsh for humans. Curiously, it's easier to build a rover for a Martian or an arctic weather than to build one that can withstand rain, mud, vegetation etc.

Re:Harsh for humans (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44230017)

Greenland is only harsh for humans. Curiously, it's easier to build a rover for a Martian or an arctic weather than to build one that can withstand rain, mud, vegetation etc.

It's not even that harsh for humans at the peak of summer. 24 hour day light, temps about 0F. That's not harsh.

Re:Harsh for humans (1)

asylumx (881307) | 1 year,14 days | (#44230507)

Sure, but we haven't found nearby planets to explore which experience rain, mud and vegetation. Yet.

Re:Harsh for humans (2)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | 1 year,14 days | (#44232581)

Titan's not a planet, but it's fairly nearby (ie within the solar system), and has rain and mud. As long as you count liquid methane and ethane falling from the sky as rain, and tholin tar as mud.

Superman's hideout (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44229951)

This is a really a cover to search for Superman's polar hideout.

Instant Top Seller (1)

Rixel (131146) | 1 year,14 days | (#44229975)

Just put a scoop on the front, some modified roomba software inside, and you have freedom from shovelling!
Would sell millions of units in Canada alone.

Going to be sad when (1)

cod3r_ (2031620) | 1 year,14 days | (#44230139)

it falls through an ice lake and the entire robot is destroyed.

Wind issues? (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | 1 year,14 days | (#44231581)

Seems like one big sail...how do they keep it from blowing over sideways?

Antarctica .... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | 1 year,14 days | (#44231621)

is where we should be testing robots and inflatable space modules.
I am amazing that Bigelow and IDL Dover have not volunteered to put one or two of their modules there. In fact, for anything destined for the Moon or Mars, they should be field tested at the south pole for a minimum of 5 years, if not 10.
The same should be done for the robots.

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