NASA announced today that they have two robots surveying a rocky, isolated polar desert inside a crater in the Artic Circle. The point of the test mission is to learn how robots could be used in potential outposts on the moon or Mars.
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The two robots are known as K10 Black and K10 Red; both carry 3-D laser scanners and ground penetrating radar. The robots and the tea arrived at the crater in the Artic on July 12 and are scheduled to test until July 31. This Artic Circle crater was chosen because of its geological similarity to the Shackleton Crater on the South Pole of the moon.
"We are learning about the awesome potential of human and robot teams," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., where the group conducting the survey is based. "Studying how humans and robots can maximize scientific returns in sites such as Devon Island will prepare us to walk on the moon and Mars."
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The 3-D laser scanner can map topographic features from as far as 3280 feet away and the ground-penetrating radar can map below the surface as far as 16.4 feet. Each of the robots weighs 165 pounds and can carry a 110 pound payload. Via NASA