Rockstar Robots make up the cream of the crop in the world of robotics. These are the bots that will turn heads with just their name being uttered. Even those who don’t stay on top of who’s making what should recognize a famous robot or two when they see it.
For the month of May, to celebrate the latest Make: issue on robotics, we’re going to be sharing many robot celebrities so you can know who is who the next time you’re at a robot gathering.
If there is one robot that stands above the rest with celebrity status, it’s NASA’s Curiosity rover. Why? Not many others have traveled to other worlds, much less ‘off planet.’
The great thing about Curiosity is that it’s action-packed with sensors that collect an incredible amount of info, which include REMS (environmental pressure, humidity, temps, etc.), APXS (Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer) and SAM (analyzes organic material and gases) as well as a host of others.
Launched back in November of 2011, the rover landed in Gale Crater on Mars after a short hop of only 350,000,000 miles. The goals set out by NASA for Curiosity were to investigate whether Mars harbors water or microbial life, as well as collecting studies indicative of future manned exploration.
What’s astounding, however, is that scientists recently announced that soil samples collected by Curiosity contain liquid brine or incredibly salty water.
In a recent paper published by Nature, the scientists analyzed Martian soil samples and found it to contain calcium perchlorate, which absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. This in turn creates a salty brine that remains a liquid even when the temperature dips below the freezing point of water.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean there are vast oceans of water underneath the surface of Mars, it’s still pretty remarkable, making Curiosity one of the more notable celebrities.