NASA‘s Curiosity Mars rover may be the agency’s latest space-faring rover, but their newest wheeled robot was recently deployed in the cold depths of Greenland. Called the Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research rover (GROVER for short), NASA took it out into the cold weather to complete a round of tests to see how it would fare in negative 22-degree Fahrenheit weather.
GROVER is a new rover from NASA that was made to explore some of the coldest regions in the world. It recently successfully completed it’s first tests at the highest point in Greenland, where GROVER experienced 30 mph wind gusts and temperatures as low negative 22-degrees Fahrenheit — colder than cold.
Compared to Curiosity, GROVER looks like a rather simple machine. It rides on two snowmobile tracks and has two solar panels that lean against each other to make a triangle pattern. The rover weighs a whopping 800 pounds and it spent five weeks traveling over 18 miles wandering the frozen terrain, sending back diagnostic information to scientists.
GROVER’s job, once it’s ready to officially be sworn in, will be to use radar technology to gather information about what exactly is buried beneath all of those layers of ice and snow. NASA says that “GROVER has grown to be a fully autonomous, GPS-guided, and satellite-linked platform for scientific research.”
As for even further future plans, researchers are thinking about linking GROVER up to other polar robot projects, and having smaller and faster rovers move outward from GROVER in order to cover more ground in less amount of time. Researcher Hans-Peter Marshall calls this “an army of polar robots,” which looks to be as amazing as it sounds.