NASA has recently unveiled plans from its team from The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Subterranean Challenge yesterday, August 14 aimed to “rapidly map, navigate, and search dynamic underground environments.”
Sub-surface exploration in other planets remains a challenge even for NASA because of the harsh environmental conditions that often results to system malfunction in the robots deployed. This ongoing technology hopes to lay the foundation for future exploration missions of subsurface landscapes such as lava tubes on distant planets.
This project is rooted with NASA’s big question: “Is there life beyond Earth?” as Ali Agha, principal investigator of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory CoSTAR team.
Agha explained the importance of exploring deep environments inside exo planets, “One of the main places to find answers to that question is subsurface environments because they are some of the most pristine locations, shielded from ultraviolet radiation and cosmic rays.”
The teams have already built tank-like robots, drones, and even climbing robots that feature flipper treads to overcome obstacles including larger rocks and narrow openings.
This is an exciting step forward into finding out whether or not we are alone in the universe.