Date of Original Version
Abstract or Description
In January 2000 the Nomad robot searched an area of blue ice in Antarctica and autonomously classified 5 in-situ meteorites. The robotic capabilities of search and target identification, coupled with the scientific capabilities of analysis and classification of rocks in an extreme environment were made possible by the integration of many different technologies for both hardware and software. This paper focuses on the development and integration of the sensor arm used to deploy a spectrometer from a multi-meter scale robot to centimeter scale rocks. The sensor arm combines off the shelf hardware for motion control, actuation, and sensing. Available techniques were applied in the areas of kinematics, visual servoing and image segmentation. The successful demonstration of the robotic search for Antarctic meteorites serves as a benchmark for the advancement of both custom designed and off the shelf robotic technologies.