Robotic Antarctic Meteorite Search

2001 at the Elephant Moraine

Elephant Moraine, located at 76 deg 16' S, 157 deg 12' E is a barren region of Antarctica that is known to contain numerous meteorites. Because of this, ANSMET has conducted searches of Elephant Moraine in the past. The site is located approximately 160 miles northwest of McMurdo Station, the main logistical center of Antarctica. The field team landed in McMurdo in late December, 1999. Supplies for the field expedition to Elephant Moraine were collected and staged by support personnel. The McMurdo area also provided an environment in which to test Nomad's capabilities. Functions never previously tested in Antarctica, such as target acquisition and the manipulator, were validated. Nomad and the field team consisting of six robotics researchers and one ANSMET meteorite expert were airlifted to Elephant Moraine on January 7 and January 10, respectively. A camp consisting of living tents and an operations tent was set up. By January 14, the robot was again assembled and ready for operation. Experiments gathering data and quantifying the performance of manipulator arm deployment, image segmentation, target acquisition and classification were performed until January 19. At this point, meteorite search demonstrations began in earnest. Ten demonstrations were performed in various locations between January 20 and 29. The camp was taken down and the team departed on February 2, 2000.

 

Please note Nomad's previous excursions:

1998 Nov.- Dec. at Patriot Hills, Antarctica

1998 Jan. at Patriot Hills, Antarctica

1997 Jun.-Aug. Atacama Desert 1997