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
Please note Nomad's previous excursions:
Nov.- Dec. at Patriot Hills, Antarctica
Jan. at Patriot Hills, Antarctica
Jun.-Aug. Atacama Desert 1997