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2008 Annual Science Report

University of California, Berkeley Reporting  |  JUL 2007 – JUN 2008

Earthbound Microbial and Geological Robotic Based Observations for Mars

Project Summary

This project explores robotic aids to astrobiology in the form of remotely controlled mobile agents with the ability to do human-like tasks in earth and mars like environments. Ethnographic studies are conducted to determine the microgeobiologist and geochemists abilities to use robotic interfaces to collect data and samples in liquid based and liquid-solid interface locations such as seeps, shallow water, surf-zone etc. Several robots are designed and constructed: Robots capable of achieving astrobiologist tasks (in situ testing, sample acquisition) Robots with high mobility to reach harsh environments (amphibious, acidic, saline) Astrobiologist-capable interfaces (long distance teleoperation, multi-modal)

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Two new versions of the robot astrobiologist “RAB” were created. One version, RAB2 (Figure 1) uses a smaller form factor computer and retains the same functionality of the previous (swappable end-effector tools, remote vision, and sampling capability). RAB2 Falso showed the ability to be controlled via the internet from across the world. This was demonstrated at UPenn and at Berkeley on June 18th 2008, and is planned to be tested with the robot in UPenn being controlled from microgeobiologists at Berkeley across the country.

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The second version created, RAB2a (Figure 2) focuses on improved amphibious mobility with a new custom fiberglass hull (pictured below) and relies on remote PC control — (there is no Onboard PC though still has 8 embedded computers). RAB2a can get up to 5 liquid samples stored in 5 onboard removable vials. RAB2a is being demonstrated with BioMARS teammember George Luther at Delaware August 29th.

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    Mark Yim
    Project Investigator
    David Benelli
    Undergraduate Student

    Jedtsada Laucheron
    Undergraduate Student

    Objective 2.1
    Mars exploration

    Objective 2.2
    Outer Solar System exploration

    Objective 5.1
    Environment-dependent, molecular evolution in microorganisms

    Objective 5.3
    Biochemical adaptation to extreme environments