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It will collect radar data for the purpose of understanding changes in the ice

NASA will begin testing a new rover tomorrow, which is expected to measure changes in Greenland's ice sheet. 

The rover is called GROVER, which is short for Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research. It's a 6-foot-tall, 800 pound, autonomous vehicle complete with solar panels and two repurposed snowmobile tracks. 

The solar-powered GROVER will travel Greenland's surface layer collecting measurements in order to help scientists understand changes in the ice sheet. A ground-penetrating radar -- which is powered by two rechargeable batteries -- is placed at the back of the rover. The radar sends radio wave pulses into the ice sheet, and the waves bounce off buried features. This information about the characteristics of snow and ice layers in this area is then collected.

Why Greenland? Because Greenland's surface layer made the news in summer 2012 when higher temperatures led to surface melting across about 97 percent of the ice sheet. GROVER will identify the layer of the ice sheet that formed after the great melt. 

"Robots like GROVER will give us a new tool for glaciology studies," said Lora Koenig, a glaciologist at Goddard and science advisor on the project.

GROVER will have a partner come June named Cool Robot, which was developed at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., with funding from the National Science Foundation. Cool Robot will help conduct glaciological and atmospheric sampling studies.

From May 3 to June 8, GROVER will collect radar data in its testing phase in Greenland. It will travel at an average speed of 1.2 mph over a spot where the ice sheet is about 2 miles thick. While this seems like a snail's speed, GROVER can work at any time during the day because the sun never dips below the horizon during the Arctic summer (meaning GROVER can be continuously powered).

Source: NASA

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Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By ebakke on 5/2/2013 2:52:52 PM , Rating: 4
I'm confused. What does the Greenland ice sheet have to do with Aeronautics or Space? Doesn't seem like a project that belongs at NASA.

Or is this some kind of testing ground for future trips to _____?

RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By ipay on 5/2/2013 3:07:55 PM , Rating: 2
Who says the "Space" in NASA is outer space. The ice sheet is a three-dimensional construct and therefore.. space.

RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By half_duplex on 5/3/2013 10:01:00 AM , Rating: 1
Ugh, maybe, but there's nothing aeronautical about this.

Money waster.

RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By Etsp on 5/3/2013 1:43:02 PM , Rating: 2
Er, NASA has to test its equipment to thrive in the absolute harshest environments. What better way to get some real-world data on the performance of their robotics in cold environments? Ship it off to Mars? Yeah! That'll be cheaper. Especially when it breaks and they need to fix it.


RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By mmatis on 5/4/2013 9:12:03 AM , Rating: 3
And beside, this lets them keep sucking the Global Warming that their own David Hansen dreamed up. Of course, when they find those farmsteads below the ice sheet, they won't bother to point out that the ice WASN'T there when those people were farming Greenland...

RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By mmatis on 5/4/2013 9:13:39 AM , Rating: 2
Make that James Hansen. Too early in the morning.

RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By daboom06 on 5/2/2013 3:33:39 PM , Rating: 2
also, there's still lots of exploration to do on our own planet. something like 99% of the oceans remain unvisited.

yea, i made up the number

RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By rvertrees on 5/2/2013 3:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
A robot like this could be used to probe the ice on Europa if we could get it there. Although I doubt that solar power would be sufficient, would probably need to be nuclear powered or something like that.

RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By Ammohunt on 5/2/13, Rating: 0
RE: Aeronautics? Space? Huh?
By Argon18 on 5/6/2013 2:06:45 PM , Rating: 2
Let me help clear your confusion. Nasa thinks they are finding other planets and moons that contain ice. Some even lots of ice. If they're to send a robot to explore and study it, they need a robot that works well in icy frozen environment. The Greenland ice sheet seems like an ideal place to test and develop such a robot.

Or here's a better idea, they could fly a bunch of scientists out to the ice planets, and some workers to build a factory there, and then they could test and design their robot on-location. How cool would that be? Although I'm think Greenland is probably a lot faster and cheaper.

New model line
By LBID on 5/2/2013 2:19:56 PM , Rating: 6
This must be a replacement for the failed "Cookie Monster" vehicle, which kept veering off the ice sheet into local bakeries.

RE: New model line
By spamreader1 on 5/2/2013 2:35:38 PM , Rating: 1
well, they couldn't use irover, apple would sue. Seseme street hasn't started massive suits over silly names yet.

RE: New model line
By Souka on 5/3/2013 7:51:12 PM , Rating: 2
Can't wait for the giant penis being drawn on the ice sheet....

RE: New model line
By Obujuwami on 5/2/2013 3:03:14 PM , Rating: 3
6 this!

RE: New model line
By Integral9 on 5/3/2013 7:43:59 AM , Rating: 2
I for one am looking forward to Super Grover 2.0... "He shows up."

6 feet tall?
By ZmaxDP on 5/2/2013 9:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
If that thing is 6 feet tall, then that laptop has a 48" diagonal screen, keys the size of desert plates, and weighs 20 lbs... Then again, if they plan on having the abominable snowman and yetis do data entry, it might still be too small (big fingers).

RE: 6 feet tall?
By MadMan007 on 5/2/2013 10:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
Or it's the solar panel array.

RE: 6 feet tall?
By JackQW on 5/3/13, Rating: 0
RE: 6 feet tall?
By JackQW on 5/3/2013 12:51:30 AM , Rating: 1
Oh sorry, forgot the scale, those must be the giant TRS jacks they use when they're compensating for something... My bad.


It's a scale model, with a laptop on top.

RE: 6 feet tall?
By Jeremy87 on 5/3/2013 6:57:00 AM , Rating: 3
According to NASA, 6 feet is including the massive solar panels, which aren't in the picture.
Click the NASA link at the bottom and further down you'll see what it would look like with its panels (which will dwarf the robot itself in comparison =)).

RE: 6 feet tall?
By kattanna on 5/6/2013 2:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
and if that is what they really are going to be like.. it will topple over in the first big storm


Goin back to the well...
By half_duplex on 5/3/2013 10:05:15 AM , Rating: 3
NASA goin back to the "Catastrophic climate change" well again...

They had their belt tightened... maybe they think this is the way to gain favor before the next round of cuts.

RE: Goin back to the well...
By Odysseus145 on 5/4/2013 12:31:10 PM , Rating: 2
If gaining favor was their goal, why would they go to a "well" that is so polarizing? Heck, nothing mentioning global warming could even come to a vote in the R-controlled House, let alone pass.

last pragraph
By Dr of crap on 5/3/2013 12:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
The suns is UP all day in the WINTER - not summer.

RE: last pragraph
By Schrag4 on 5/3/2013 1:39:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you mean that the sun is up in Greenland all day during your Winter, and that you live in the southern hemisphere. Otherwise, I believe you're wrong about that.

"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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