Robotic Antarctic Meteorite Search

The goal of this initiative is to enable autonomous discovery of Antarctic meteorites using robotic search and on-site automatic classification of rock samples. In January 2000 the Nomad robot explored the remote Antarctic region of Elephant Moraine in search of new meteorite samples. Nomad autonomously found and classified in situ five indigenous meteorites and dozens of terrestrial rocks. This was an ideal demonstration of robotics in a science mission scenario and environmental challenges similar to exploration of Mars and the Moon. Robotic Search for Antarctic Meteorites accomplishments could impact future missions such as autonomous geology, life seeking and polar exploration.

This initiative is led by the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University and is funded by NASA's Surface Systems Thrust of the Cross Enterprise Technology Development and Space Telerobotics Programs. This year's robotic expedition is performed under the auspices of the United States Antarctic Program and the Office of Polar Programs of the National Science Foundation and is a collaborative effort with the Search for Antarctic Meteorites program. Additional education and outreach provided by our sister site: http://www.bigsignal.net.