NASA is testing a robot designed by students to explore Greenland called GROVER (For Greenland Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research).
Early results look promising:
GROVER’s radar emits a signal that bounces off the different layers of the ice sheet, allowing scientists to study how snow and ice accumulates in Greenland. The team wanted to check whether the robot could see a layer in the ice sheet that formed after an extreme melt event in the summer of 2012. Marshall said a first analysis of GROVER’s radar data revealed it was sufficient to detect the melt layer and potentially estimate its thickness.
Gotta love the look of the Arctic vehicle.
Researchers dream of many more such robots, capable of surviving Greenland's brutal conditions.
"When you work at the poles, on the ice, it's cold, it's tiring, it's expensive and there's a limit to how much ground you can cover on snowmobiles," said Lora Koenig, a glaciologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "It would be great if autonomous robotic platforms could do part of this work — especially the part where high winds and blowing snow try to freeze your skin.”
“An army of polar robots – that would be neat,” Koenig said.