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NASA Rover to Explore… Greenland

• Douglas Main

NASA's newest rover won't be exploring another planet, but will take a look at part of our own. Named Grover (short for Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research), the rover will explore Greenland's ice sheets to better understand how they form, and how quickly they may be melting.

The device is solar-powered and semi-autonomous, and will embark on its first mission beginning tomorrow (May 3), and continuing until June 8. It was developed from 2010-2011 by teams of students in summer engineering boot camps at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, according to a release from NASA.

The 6-foot-tall, 800-pound rover is equipped with ground-penetrating radar that will send "radio wave pulses into the ice sheet, and the waves bounce off buried features, informing researchers about the characteristics of the snow and ice layers," according to the NASA statement. [Video: Grover the Rover to Explore Greenland Ice Sheet]

At first Grover will operate near the National Science Foundation's Summit Camp, located at the apex of Greenland's ice sheet. Once it appears the rover is functioning properly, it will roam more widely and be controlled via satellite. Since the Arctic sun shines 24 hours a day during the summer, the solar-powered rover will be able to operate continuously, NASA said.


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