Cool Robots Thayer School CRREL Mission Science Papers and Publications Pictures Team and Acknowledgements
Papers and Publications

This research is supported by the National Science Foundation

NSF Award Number: 0806075

NSF Abstract: This project will refine the Cool Robot, an autonomous solar-powered mobile robot, and demonstrate its potential to conduct significant scientific observations in Greenland over vast distances. Two field deployments, a week-long circuit around Summit Camp in year two and a 1,500-km traverse from Summit to NEEM and back in year three, will collect data on snow-surface characteristics and elevations as ground truth for satellite data and air samples to assess spatial and temporal variations in atmospheric chemistry near the snow surface. Ground-based data collection is crucial to furthering our understanding of glaciology and environmental sciences in Greenland. This collaborative project among Dartmouth College, UNH and CRREL builds on a successful Small Grant for Exploratory Research, a student-based pilot study that designed, fabricated, and field-tested the simple four-wheel drive, solar-powered Cool Robot. This project will provide critical performance data on robot mobility, power systems, navigation and communications over a vast polar snowfield and thus forge a path to expand the use of mobile robots to support science and logistics operations in the Greenland. Potential uses of the Cool Robot are traverses to collect glaciological data, snow characterization to study climate change, biological sampling, atmospheric and snow chemistry and photochemistry surveys, micrometeorite sampling and site inspections for meteorite fields, crevasse detection in advance of manned traverses, airfield geophysical surveys, and routine snow-road surveys. Arrays of mobile robots would allow scientific instruments to be dynamically positioned based on preliminary data or to respond to specific events. Array-based campaigns could include study of the polar atmosphere, magnetosphere, troposphere, and sub-glacial geology using a diverse set of instruments: magnetometers, GPS receivers, snow property measurement, and ground penetrating radar. The project supports instrument development and deployment, increased logistics capability and reduced costs using the Cool Robot, and is an opportunity to train students in engineering and arctic research.

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