Built by Carnegie-Mellon University's Robotics Institute for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the robot named Scarab will spend nearly two weeks next month conducting a simulated lunar mission.
Scientists said Scarab, designed to operate at minus 385 degrees Fahrenheit on just 100 watts of power, has a rocker-arm suspension that allows it to travel over steep, rocky inclines and to lower itself to the ground for drilling operations. The drill will cut a core of lunar material, pulverize it and heat it to 1,652 degrees Fahrenheit, university researchers said. Scarab will also be equipped with a gas chromatograph to analyze the gases released by the heat, thereby identifying individual chemicals in the lunar material.
The Nov. 1-13 field test will be held on Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano that's Hawaii's highest mountain.
MAVEN now orbiting Mars