The combined analytical resources at JPL, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Smithsonian Institute and ARC will be used to characterize a subset of samples from three Svalbard field sites. Accessing a cliff-wall from below requires a system that can safely climb steep slopes while maintaining tip over and traction stability. Accessing the cliff from above offers the opportunity for using tethers as safety lines and a means of stabilization. Science targeting is done exactly the same way as the traditional systems such as MER, with a target selected from imagery as an x,y,z position that is fed to the cliff-bot rover. Planned tests serve two purposes; as verification instrumentation to life detection within the field environment and to test this technology for use in future space flight missions for life detection.
JPL has a support role in this work which is led by Andrew Steele, of the Geophysical Laboratory at Carnegie Institute of Washington
Terry Huntsberger - Jet Propulsion Laboratory