Indian students design a robot capable of conducting lunar missions on the moon's surface, and made it to the final phase of a global competition.
COIMBATORE, TAMIL NADU, INDIA (NOVEMBER 17, 2012) (ANI) - Indian students from Coimbatore city in India's southern Tamil Nadu state, designed a robot capable of conducting lunar missions on the moon's surface, and made it to the final phase of a global competition launched jointly by Google Lunar X Prize and Lego Mindstorms-MoonBots.
The robot roves over the lunar landscape and the missions that it carries out included transporting ice from a crater, transporting helium 3, replacing solar panels, moving on a challenging terrain, and carrying debris.
The girls based their project on the findings of the NASA's L Cross mission of presence water and ice in the Cabeus crater on the moon's South Pole surface in 2009, raising the possibilities of human settlements on the lunar surface.
While talking to reporters on Saturday (November 17), lunar robot designer, S. Sadhanaexplained the concept, designing and the mission that would be conducted by the robot.
"They (the organisers of the competition) asked us to design seven missions for our robot and in the first mission we have made use of the findings of NASA's L Cross, which recently found ice in the Cabeus crater. And so we have made in our model lunar landscape a small crater which represents the Cabeus crater. And we have kept two blocks which represent ice which is actually there on the Cabeus crater according to NASA's findings. So we made use of this information about the moon, and we designed missions around that to show how robots can be useful in the event of a permanent lunar settlement in the future," she said.
Apart from the task of carrying ice cubes to the lunar base, the robot also carried out other missions which included movement on the difficult lunar terrain and then went back to its base.
The competition saw a participation of 147 teams from 22 countries of the world. The participants were assessed on the basis of their ability and passion for robotics and science.
The findings of the NASA mission have raised hopes among scientists of human settlement on the moon's surface by the next thirty years around the projected year of 2040.
India, launched it first lunar mission in the form of the Chandrayaan-1 in 2008, but is yet to do a lot of work to catch up in the race with the other countries of the world in this regard.