Space Robots: Wolfgang Says Collaboration Is Key

    March 20, 2012
    Shawn Hess
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If you are a fan of robots and space exploration you can thank the University of Arizona and Wolfgang Fink for the picture above. Fink is an associate professor at the university in the department of electrical and computer engineering. He has designed the above craft and named it the Tucson Explorer II or TEX II for short.

The machine was specifically engineered to explore vast lakes of liquid hydrocarbon that exist on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The craft is just part of a series of robots that would be need to canvass the surface of the moon, according to Fink, and collaboration is at the forefront of his designs.

Watch the following video and learn more about Wolfgang and his theories of space exploration and what might be needed to make space rovers more successful on their missions. I think you’ll find his work interesting and innovative in regard to what is currently being used for such expeditions:

These machines and their ability to navigate and adapt to exploration independently could add great value to unmanned missions. Currently it takes scientists a long time to send and receive transmissions from rovers and an intuitive design like Fink’s has potential to become a standard of exploration technologies.

If you enjoyed seeing these crafts and their technology tested, watch the next video to see the Tucson Explorer II put through its paces in a field test. I think you’ll find it interesting and enjoyable. As you watch the video imagine the machine on a alien planet navigating uncharted topography:

Really cool stuff. Fink comments on the design of the rover:

“TEX II is ready to deploy on missions related to defense and security, such as harbor surveillance and cleanup operations of littoral munitions dumps and mines,”

“Another potential application of this lander is oceanographic research into currents and marine pollution,”

“TEX II is currently fitted with onboard cameras and sonar that can penetrate up to 100 meters,”

Hopefully we can look forward to seeing some of his devices employed around the globe on various projects before we see them sent into orbit to explore alien worlds. Great stuff, I always enjoy hearing about innovations like what we’ve seen here. Keep up the good work!