Getting Ready for Lunar Exploration on Mount Etna

Rodiano Bonacci
Июля 5, 2017

The three-foot-high machine runs across the surface of Europe's most active volcanoes on the island of Sicily, in preparation for future moon landings, The New York Times reports.

A robot wheels across a rocky, windswept landscape that looks like the surface of some distant planet from a science fiction film.

The research of Robotic Exploration of Extreme Environments (ROBEX) was also a part of this latest programme by the German agency.

The program has an global team of experts from Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy researching ROBEX (Robotic Exploration of Extreme Environments), with the goal of improving robots and robotic machines that will be used in space.

"This is aimed at simulating a future, hypothetical landing mission on the moon or Mars and they use a lot of robots which are there to transport and install different instruments", Boris Behncke, a volcanologist from Italy's National Volcanology Institute, said.

An initial robotic testing phase has almost been completed on the Piano del Lago area of the volcano, a desolate stretch of terrain buffeted by strong winds.

Scientists have been designing several space exploration vehicles for years to move those across the slopes of the moon and lunar rover is one of them.

The techniques learned on Mount Etna will be deployed in lunar missions, and in the exploration of Mars.

Scientists also hope to mount a network of equipment including rover robots and drones which will help monitoring seismic activity that are expected to use in lunar mission.

Situated between the Italian cities of Messina and Catania, Mount Etna was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2013 due to its near-constant state of activity and the scientific and educational value it yields.

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