- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Remote Wheeling in Chile
18 June 1997 8:00 pm
PITTSBURGH--A four-wheel-drive robot named Nomad, one of a new generation of robots designed to explore the moon and Mars, embarked today on a 200-kilometer test drive through a barren desert in the high Andes of Chile. Cheered on by spectators here at the Carnegie Science Center who watched Nomad deploy via satellite link, the trek is to test the robot's ability to explore a harsh environment while being commanded in real time by humans 8000 kilometers away.
Nomad, with dune buggy wheels and keen peripheral vision, is the latest in a series of robots built by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University. Its predecessors include Dante II, which explored a volcano in Alaska 2 years ago. As the robot rolled out onto the dusty, boulder-strewn floor of the Atacama Desert, a crowd of scientists and reporters helped command its movements at the Carnegie Center. "You've just witnessed the robot's first baby steps," said William `Red' Whittaker, a roboticist at Carnegie Mellon. "Nomad will wander the desert for 40 days, if not quite 40 nights."
Nomad, which hopes to log 5 kilometers a day while under remote control, already is relaying home 360-degree images of the dusty desert. It's equipped with sensors and metal detectors that will help it search for rocks and meteorites, as well as two stereovision cameras that will send high-resolution color photos to geologists. At various points during the test, "we will configure the robot to simulate wide-area exploration of the moon, the search for signs of past life on Mars, and the gathering of meteorite samples in the Antarctic," said Dave Lavery, NASA's telerobotics program manager. Nomad's successor is scheduled to explore the Antarctic, but so far has not been selected for a mission to the moon or another planet.
Nomad is designed to surpass NASA's four-wheeled Sojourner robot, which is due to land on Mars on 4 July. Sojourner is only expected to move a few meters per day and to send back one black-and-white photo a day.