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Developing Nomad for Robotic Exploration of the Atacama Desert. Robotics and Autonomous Systems

By David Wettergreen, Deepak Bapna, Mark Maimone and Geb Thomas


Recent years have seen renewed attention on planetary exploration. Robotics is recognized as essential to upcoming missions of exploration. In this article we describe the ongoing efforts of the Nomad Project to develop robots for planetary and terrestrial exploration. The Nomad project is developing, demonstrating, and evaluating systems capable of long-distance, long-duration missions. In 1997 this work has resulted in the Atacama Desert Trek, in which Nomad, a mobile robot, explored the Atacama Desert of in northern Chile. Nomad’s 45-day objective was to travel 200 kilometers across the rugged, barren landscape. We will describe the technologies for Nomad's transforming chassis, highdata rate communication, safeguarded teleoperation and autonomy, panoramic imaging and visualization, and remote science. We focus on issues of long-distance, long-duration exploration and describe the events and results of the Atacama Desert Trek

Topics: long-distance robotic exploration, navigational autonomy, panoramic imagery
Year: 1999
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