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Video: NASA Working on Lunar Mining Robot
5/2/2013

The RASSOR robot climbs a hill during testing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.   (Source: NASA)
The RASSOR robot climbs a hill during testing at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
(Source: NASA)

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Cabe Atwell
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Re: Cool robot
Cabe Atwell   5/10/2013 4:00:25 PM
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Mining the Moon is for future colonization. So, let's say we have established a small city. Would people born there, in low gravity, never be able to visit Earth without their bodies being crushed? Sad future for citizens of the Moon.

C

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cool robot
Ann R. Thryft   5/9/2013 12:11:25 PM
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Deberah, the robot has been tested on several different surface types, as the article mentions. There's more detail about this in the technical paper I referred to in a previous comment, which unfortunately has been taken offline.

Elizabeth M
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Re: NASA does it again
Elizabeth M   5/9/2013 9:18:13 AM
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Yes, of course, you're right, Ann, but this type of focus likely will have a financial benefit to NASA as well, or at least allow them to disperse funds in the most useful way. Interesting stuff to cover, at any rate! I do enjoy the NASA stories. Will keep an eye out for your updates.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: NASA does it again
Ann R. Thryft   5/8/2013 12:45:51 PM
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Elizabeth, those are good points about NASA's budget woes and research aims. I think this specialization also means that the basic space rover design platform has been worked out and they can now focus attention on more specialized tasks.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cool robot
Rob Spiegel   5/7/2013 5:20:48 PM
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Yes, that makes sense that the robot would be designed to mine materials for local use. But that could change depending on what they find under all that lunar dust. If the materials they find have great value, they will make it back to Earth.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cool robot
Ann R. Thryft   5/7/2013 4:23:17 PM
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Hmmm, maybe you're right Rob. I hope not, especially if Cabe's points turn out to be accuratre and not so tongue-in-cheek.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Cool robot
Rob Spiegel   5/6/2013 5:47:32 PM
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Good question Cabe. If this were an issue, it could be solved by taking an equivalent weight of dirt along with the rocket that will bring the payload home.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Cool robot
Ann R. Thryft   5/6/2013 1:43:13 PM
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Cabe, thanks for the laugh: the robot is designed to mine materials for use by astronauts while on the Moon, not for shipping back to Earth.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Mining Robot
Ann R. Thryft   5/6/2013 1:39:30 PM
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Good question, Chuck. The answer is in that technical paper I mentioned in my reply to Al: there, it says "RASSOR shall recharge its battery at the lander using a dust tolerant connector."



Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Mining Robot
Ann R. Thryft   5/6/2013 1:33:34 PM
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Thanks, Al--I really liked the design concept, not what it is so much as how the engineers worked it out. They described it in more detail in a paper that became inaccessible after I first filed the story; the entire site---NASA's technical reports server--has been down for a month or so.



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