jkua writes: Researchers in the Field Robotics Center at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute unveiled to the press today a prototype lunar rover called Scarab, which is being developed with NASA funding to seek out hydrogen and other volatiles in the permanently dark craters at the poles of the moon, where they are suspected to have been deposited by cometary impacts. Scarab will carry a drill currently being developed by the Northern Centre For Advanced Technology which will be capable of taking 1 meter length cores of lunar regolith, using an adjustable suspension that will allow the rover to bring the drill to the ground for coring operations, yet still be able to carry the drill over obstacles while traversing the rough lunar terrain. For power, since there is no sunlight in the polar craters, the rover will carry a radioisotope source being developed at NASA's Glenn Research Center which will provide approximately 175W of electrical power. Due to these power constraints, the rover operates very slowly, traveling at a top speed of 10cm/s and will use low-powered light striping sensors that are also being developed at Carnegie Mellon. This project is being developed separately from CMU's Google Lunar X-Prize effort.
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