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NASA shows off a moon robot

This robot shares some features with the lunar truck, but is equipped with a drill designed to find water and oxygen-rich soil on the moon. Credit: Carnegie Mellon University
by Staff Writers
Denver (UPI) Feb 27, 2008
The U.S. space agency is exhibiting a lunar robot rover equipped with a drill, designed to find water and oxygen-rich soil on the moon.

The robot, designed to explore the moon's craters, is being demonstrated in Denver this week during the third Space Exploration Conference.

The rover must operate in continual darkness in extremely cold conditions with little power, NASA said, noting lunar soil -- known as regolith -- is abrasive and compact, so any ice the rover encounters would likely have the consistency of concrete.

Engineers demonstrated a drill capable of digging samples of regolith last year. That demonstration used a laser light camera to select a site for drilling, then commanded the four-wheeled rover to lower the drill and collect three-foot samples of soil and rock.

"These are tasks that have never been done and are really difficult to do on the moon," said John Caruso of NASA's John Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

Engineers participating in development of the rover robot concept included scientists from four NASA centers, the Canadian Space Agency; Canada's Northern Center for Advanced Technology in Sudbury, Ontario, and Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute.

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India's Moon Mission Pushed To July First Week
Bangalore, India (PTI) Feb 26, 2008
India's first planetary mission, Chandrayaan-1, has now been rescheduled to take place in the first week of July as the mission personnel work overtime to sort out payload integration and launch-related issues. "We are targeting the end of June. We will try to make it in the first week of July," a senior scientist associated with the Rs 386 crore moon mission told PTI here on Monday on condition of anonymity.

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