Space Robotics

Zoë Discovers Life in Chile

Posted 18 Mar 2005 at 22:05 UTC by steve Share This

We reported last August that Zoë, the CMU prototype planetary rover, was being sent to the barren Atacama Desert in Chile for testing. According to articles in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Nature, testing has resulted in Zoë accurately "discovering" life using onboard sensors. During simulated missions, the robot was able to discovered and identify two forms of life: some visible lichens and some bacteria. The robot senses fluorescence from cells that contain chlorophyll and is also able to spray special dyes that bind to and identify DNA, protein, lipids or carbohydrates. The technologies being tested will likely find their way into future NASA planetary exploration robots.

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