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Second Experiments in the Robotic Investigation of Life in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

David S. Wettergreen, Nathalie A. Cabrol, Vijayakumar Baskaran, Francisco Calderón, Stuart Heys, Dominic Jonak, R. Allan Lüders, David Pane, Trey Smith, James P. Teza, Paul D. Tompkins, Daniel Villa, Christopher Williams, and Michael D. Wagner. In Proc. Int. Symp. on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation in Space (iSAIRAS), 2005.

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Abstract

The Atacama Desert of northern Chile may be the most lifeless place on Earth, yet microorganisms do survive in some areas. The distribution and diversity of life in the Atacama remains unexplored and is the focus of the Life in the Atacama project. To conduct this investigation, survey traverses across the desert with biologic and geologic instruments will allow us to create biogeographic maps. We accomplish these surveys with an autonomous astrobiology rover. In this paper we motivate the Life in the Atacama project and report on the second of three field seasons of scientific investigation and technical experiments in Chile. We describe the rover, instruments, algorithms and assess intermediate results. These results provide insight into the design of an effective robotic astrobiologist for future planetary investigations and into the best methods to conduct astrobiologic surveys. future planetary missions. Through these experiments we also hope to develop and practice the methods by which a rover might best be employed to survey desert terrain and seek evidence of life.

BibTeX Entry

@InProceedings{wettergreen05:atacama,
  author = 	 {David S. Wettergreen and Nathalie A. Cabrol and Vijayakumar Baskaran and Francisco Calder{\'o}n and Stuart Heys and Dominic Jonak and R. Allan L{\"u}ders and David Pane and Trey Smith and James P. Teza and Paul D. Tompkins and Daniel Villa and Christopher Williams and Michael D. Wagner},
  title = 	 {Second Experiments in the Robotic Investigation of Life in the {Atacama Desert of Chile}},
  booktitle =	 {Proc. Int. Symp. on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Automation in Space (iSAIRAS)},
  year =	 2005,
}

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