NASA ice monitoring robot proves itself in Greenland

By on July 12, 2013
GROVER on the move during a sustained test of the power consumption on June 2, 2013. (Credit: NASA, via Flickr)

A NASA robot for measuring ice and snow built mainly by students proved itself in Greenland this spring, according to a NASA news release.

The robot was built in engineering boot camps by students and finalized by graduate students at Boise State.  It goes by two names, Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, which add up to the acronym: GROVER.

The robot can cruise over snowy landscapes and measure snow and ice layers autonomously.

During testing, temperatures reached minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.  Boise State graduate students Gabriel Trisca and Mark Robertson found the electronics did not work as quickly or efficiently in Greenland as they did in warmer conditions.  Wiring also became brittle in the extreme cold.

Still, the radar instrument used to ping off layers of snow and ice was able to take representative readings at different depths.

Image: GROVER on the move during a sustained test of the power consumption on June 2, 2013. (Credit: NASA, via Flickr)

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