Hidden Nook

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Friday, December 02, 2005



Robots To Build On Other Worlds


[Media Source*]

(New Scientist Space) NASA is offering two new $250,000 prizes to stimulate advances in the use of robots in planetary exploration and automated construction.

One, called the Telerobotic Construction Challenge, aims to promote the development of semi-autonomous robots that can build complicated structures with minimal remote guidance from human controllers.

If successful, these robots would be saving humanity from the stress of having to assemble a home upon a foreign worlds soil. By allowing robots to do the "dirty work" for us, colonists could instead focus their energies on other areas of concern, such as harvesting potential crops, processing minerals discovered by robots and improving their new shelters as opposed to starting from scratch.

(New Scientist Space) The other competition will award funding to teams that build an uncrewed, auto-piloted plane that can follow a complex flight path using only visual cues for navigation. The vehicle must also be able to "extend and retract" a probe that can hit several targets on the ground.

Called the Planetary Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Challenge, the competition may lead to the development of planes that can explore and collect samples from steep canyon walls on Mars or zoom close to intriguing features on other bodies with an atmosphere, such as Saturn's moon Titan.

Although NASA has not laid down the rules already, the competition begins in 2007, with $250,000 (plus bragging rights) towards the winner. If NASA really wanted to heat up the competition, they could throw in lunar landing rights as well (after all, wouldn't you want to go to the moon?).



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By Darnell Clayton • 9:17 PM • Email Post • •

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