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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- 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.