Robots could assist scientists working in Greenland

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[1] GREENLAND—Tom Lane and Suk Joon Lee, recent graduates of Dartmouth University's Thayer School of Engineering, in Hanover, N. H., are standing outside in the frigid cold testing an autonomous robot that could help with scientific research and logistics in harsh polar environments. This summer, Lane, Lee, and others are at Summit Station, a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)–sponsored scientific research station in Greenland, fine-tuning a battery-powered Yeti robot as part of a team working on the NSF-funded Cool Robot project. The station, also known as Summit Camp, is located on the highest point of the Greenland Ice Sheet (72°N, 38°W, 3200 meters above sea level) near the middle of the island. It is a proving ground this season for putting the approximately 68-kilogram, 1-cubic-meter robot through its paces, including improving Yeti's mobility capabilities and field-testing the robot. (See the electronic supplement to this Eos issue for a video of Yeti in action (http://www.agu.org/eos_elec/).) During field-testing, plans call for the robot to collect data on elevation and snow surface characteristics, including accumulation. In addition, the robot will collect black carbon and elemental carbon particulate matter air samples around Summit Camp's power generator to help study carbon dispersion over snow.

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