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Student-Built Robot Rover on Track to Explore the Moon


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The student-built rover

The 2-kg., shoebox-sized rover is battery-powered and will operate on the surface of the Moon for 72 hours.

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Iris, a tiny wheeled robot built by students at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), is expected to become the first uncrewed rover from the U.S. to explore the Moon.

The robot, slated for a mid-2022 launch, will travel aboard Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander.

Said CMU’s William "Red" Whittaker, the rover "is so highly specialized and integrated, the degree of difficulty and the challenges that had to be overcome were incredible."

Once on the moon, Iris will be driven by commands sent from operators on Earth, and will send back images of the terrain via onboard cameras to help plan driving routes.

Whittaker also helped to build the MoonRanger, which will be launched in 2023 on a Masten Systems lander. Unlike the student-built rover, MoonRanger will drive autonomously on the Moon’s surface, traveling beyond the lander's radio communications range.

From BBC News
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