Testing underwater interplanetary robots on the cheap

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This article describing a test of an underwater robot by JPL scientists in the interior of a glacier warmed the cockles of my heart when I read this paragraph:

Klesh and Leicty’s recent expedition relied on a commercial grade submersible and a “homemade” glacial probe. The latter was built using off-the-shelf and 3-D printed parts. They did all their own wiring and programming.

NASA test projects like this are often gold-plated. I like how these scientists took a more practical approach, getting their data without spending a fortune in time and money. Moreover, they gained some engineering knowledge that can be applied practically in future probes, both here on Earth and on other planets.

Hat tip Jim Mallamace.


One comment

  • Ted

    Mr. Z: Many years ago when I managed a RadioShack store there were rumors that various Nasa engineers would stop by their local RS to get various parts; resistors, capacitors etc. Waiting to go thru channels took a lot of time and the final cost was huge.

    As I understand it these parts were used for experimentation, mock-ups etc. They never flew (as far as I know) and the folks at JPL seem to carrying on that tradition.

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