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Science & Technology

NASA set to drop a robot in to a volcano

By T.K. Randall
January 9, 2015 · Comment icon 6 comments

NASA's Volcanobot exploring a lava tube. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Scientists are experimenting with new ways to explore volcanic fissures and vents on other planets.
Developed by researchers Carolyn Parcheta and Aaron Parness, the aptly named VolcanoBot 2 will attempt to explore deep inside the inhospitable tunnels and vents of an active volcano in Hawaii when it is deployed there some time in March.

Designed to withstand high temperatures and to be capable of maneuvering through tight spaces, the robot will go where no human explorer has ever been able to tread as it attempts to learn as much as possible about what goes on inside a volcano.
NASA is hoping that one day it will be possible to conduct similar missions on Mars and on the moon where unexplored volcanic fissures could provide a wealth of new discoveries.

"In the last few years, NASA spacecraft have sent back incredible pictures of caves, fissures and what look like volcanic vents on Mars and the moon," said Parness.

"We don't have the technology yet to explore them, but they are so tantalizing!"

Source: Independent | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Valdemar the Great 9 years ago
Awww, poor robot. I hope it's not you, UM-Bot? I hope you haven't incurred the displeasure of Management? :
Comment icon #2 Posted by Still Waters 9 years ago
Good for them! Should see some interesting pics too that otherwise would be unobtainable.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Merc14 9 years ago
If they are storing the data on-board then what happens if the little robot gets stuck in the fissure?
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
If they are storing the data on-board then what happens if the little robot gets stuck in the fissure? I wondered the same thing. NASA must expect to get the robot back out of the volcano. Otherwise it makes no sense to store the data on board. Maybe the data will be transmitted until it goes too deep.
Comment icon #5 Posted by bubblykiss 9 years ago
The League of Robotic Persons Semiconductor Rights has been all over me for this same issue for years. I maintain my right as an American to sacrifice or otherwise, cause a robotic person to become engaged in any part of a volcano up to and including, rim; lip; vent and/or magma chamber.
Comment icon #6 Posted by ancient astronaut 9 years ago
They couldn't get Mr. Spock to do this?? He has experience in this type of thing you know.

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