Space Robotics

K9 Shake and Bake Tests at Aromas Quarry

Posted 5 Nov 2003 at 16:25 UTC by The Swirling Brain Share This

Nasa is conducting two weeks of tests on the K9 robot at the Aromas granite quarry in California. The K9 rover is slated for a mission in 2009. In the meantime scientists will be trying to make the rover smarter and less vunerable to the 20 minutes communications roundtrip that it takes for scientists on Earth to react to problems it may encounter. The K9 robot, if it runs into a problem, attempts to be more autonomous by having list of contingency plans to help it accomplish it's goals until mission control can get back to it. K9 will of course have nukes on board to blast any hostile aliens it may find, er, um... to keep it warm at night like the previous rovers had. The robot will cost over $500k and the cool rocker-bogie design was developed at JPL at CIT. Don't take these tests for granted (?granite?), hopefully, these tests will help prevent K9 from rolling over and playing dead.

Of course, this K9 is not to be confused with Dr. Who's K9, but it was named after it.

FYI: Nasa's Spirit and Opportunity rovers and ESA's Beagle 2 rover and perhaps even Japan's Hope rover should arrive sometime in December of this year to early January next year.

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