Schoolgirls design robot capable of conducting lunar missions on moon
Students from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu have designed a robot capable of conducting lunar missions on the moon's surface, and made it to the final phase of a global competition launched jointly by Google Lunar X Prize and Lego Mindstorms-MoonBots.
The robot roves over the lunar landscape and the missions that it carries out included transporting ice from a crater, transporting helium 3, replacing solar panels, moving on a challenging terrain, and carrying debris.
The students who designed the robot were three schoolgirls named R. Vishrutha, S. Athmika and S. Sadhana, and their robotics coach C. Santhakumar from Coimbatore.
The girls based their project on the findings of the NASA's L Cross mission of presence of water and ice in the Cabeus crater on the moon's South Pole surface in 2009, raising the possibilities of human settlements on the lunar surface.
While talking to reporters, lunar robot designer, S. Sadhana explained the concept, designing and the mission that would be conducted by the robot.
"They (the organisers of the competition) asked us to design seven missions for our robot and in the first mission we have made use of the findings of NASA's L Cross, which recently found ice in the Cabeus crater. And so we have made in our model lunar landscape a small crater, which represents the Cabeus crater," said Sadhnan.
Apart from the task of carrying ice cubes to the lunar base, the robot also carried out other missions, which included movement on the difficult lunar terrain and then went back to its base.
The competition saw a participation of 147 teams from 22 countries of the world. The participants were assessed on the basis of their ability and passion for robotics and science.
Out of them, 30 teams were selected with special tasks on the lunar surface for their projects, out of which three teams were from Hyderabad, New Delhi and Coimbatore.