Robotics for space and marine sciences

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Science Robotics  28 Jun 2017:
Vol. 2, Issue 7, eaan5594
DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aan5594

Neil Jacobstein

James Bellingham

Guang-Zhong Yang

The human body evolved with a very specialized and narrow set of system parameters, such as atmospheric pressure at sea level of 101.3 kPa, gravity of 9.807 m/s2, internal temperature of 37°C, a blood pH of 7.4, radiation exposure of 620 mrem (milli–roentgen-equivalent-man)/year, and an atmospheric mix of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.039% carbon dioxide. We operate in environments where the electromagnetic spectrum allows imaging and communications at great ranges and high bandwidths. Our comfort and safety parameters mean that humans operating in environments with significantly different parameters, such as those commonly found in space or marine environments, require extensive and expensive redundant life support systems found on submarines and spacecraft designed specifically for humans. In contrast, robots are already able to operate cost-effectively and with high precision in extremely harsh marine environments and in space.

For example, small Arctic robots can image …

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