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Robot Bred in Wales to Seek Life on Red Planet


Mars atmosphere

Software will help Aberystwyth University's robotic planetary rover choose locations of interest for pictures itself without having to communicate with scientists on Earth.

Credit: Space Telescope Science Institute

Aberystwyth University researcher Stephen Pugh has developed a picture-taking robot designed to look for signs of life on Mars. Pugh is fine-tuning the robot's onboard panoramic cameras and teaching it to point and shoot at features on the planet's surface. "I have been looking in particular at how the robotic rover can point its camera at specific targets, such as rocks, without human intervention," he says.

The research's long-term goal is to increase scientific data for all future planetary missions. "NASA has already found evidence of ice on Mars, but I don't think rover will find evidence of anything more than water because if it was there I think we would have found it by now," Pugh says.

The researcher is developing software that will enable the robot to discover locations of interest more quickly and to choose targets for pictures by itself, without communicating with scientists on Earth.

From Western Mail (Wales)
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