Sunday, June 14, 2009

Robot recon underway in Black Point lava field

K10 is ripping across northern Arizona volcanic fields now through June 27, at a dazzling 2 mph, probably not fast enough to get in trouble with the state's photo radar speeding units.

The robot recon exercise is a precursor to manned missions to the moon in 2020. Robot recon uses a remote controlled robot to scout areas before sending humans on deployments, especially for geological investigations.

The K10 robot [right, deployed in Arizona. Credit, NASA] is equipped with a GigaPan camera and 3D scanning laser that will provide extremely high-resolution images and measurements.

Kip Hodges, head of ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration, is the Principal Scientist for K10 project.

Here are some specs on K10:

K10 Mass:
176 lb (80 kg)

Payload Mass:
33 lb (5 kg)

Size (L x W x H):
43” x 36” x 52” (1.1 m x 0.9 m x 1.3 m)

Maximum Speed:
2 mph (0.9 m/s)

Linux laptop (Redhat EL5 on Intel Core Duo T2400)

Instruments: 3D scanning lidar (3D topography measurements)
GigaPan (giga-pixel color panoramic images)
Microscopic imager (high-resolution terrain images)

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