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Posted by on Jun 17, 2013 in Science |

Zoë Rover investigates life in the Atacama Desert to learn from Mars

Zoë Rover investigates life in the Atacama Desert to learn from Mars

This Monday starts Zoë mission in the Desert in northern Chile, where his mission is to make a map of the distribution of microorganisms on the surface (less than 1 meter deep) in the area. Although not travel into space, this rover experiments help to improve hypotheses about life on .

Zoë conducted an initial screening test for life on the surface in the Atacama desert, between 2003 and 2005. Thus, the second research review what’s underneath.

Zoë Rover investigates life in the Atacama Desert to learn from Mars image 2

(C) UCN

Zoë is part of a collaboration between NASA, SETI, CSC, the Carnegie Mellon University and the Catholic University of the North, where the rover was received and assembled. Your exploration will begin in the field of Guanaco Mine , about 45 kilometers west of the Pan American Highway, 260 km south of Antofagasta. Zoë explore for 15 days, where he will conduct multiple experiments to be run from the United States.

“The scientific results will help us understand where and under what conditions the organisms survive in extreme environments. Technological results that robotic explorers to perform tasks more independently. Zoë will deploy a 1-meter drill and various other instruments that could be used on future missions to Mars, “said David Wettergreen, the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon, who heads the project in Chile, FayerWayer.

Zoë will be approximately three weeks touring the desert. The project has been supported by academics and students from the departments of Engineering and Computer Science, as well as collaborations in the area of ​​microbiology and geology.

“The Department of Geology and Biotechnology Center provide logistic and scientific support,” explains José Gallardo Professor, Department of Systems and Computer Engineering. It also organized a conference for school students and were able to visit the laboratory where the robot was armed.

This experiment will be possible to “share important knowledge generated with the activities comprising the mission,” said Gallardo.

Links:
Robotic Astrobiology in the Atacama Desert (Carnegie Mellon)
Assemble at NCU robot that will explore the surface of Mars (UCN)

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