In the Greenland 2017 season, Joshua Elliott and Austin Lines deployed to Summit Station, Greenland for four weeks, using Cool Robot to tow a ground penetrating radar (GPR) system and a custom specific surface area (SSA) instrument in grid patterns over the snow. They spent most of their time in a small camp, a few miles from the NSF base, where they could operate the robot in the undisturbed snow area, collecting data about the compaction rates of the snow over time using 900 MHz and 2.6 GHz GPR antennas as well as about the interaction of the snow surface with the surrounding environment using a shortwave IR camera.
In addition, as fellows in the Joint Science Education Project, Joshua and Austin then shared their research with high school students from the United States, Denmark, and Greenland during the program’s Science Education Week. During this week, the 20 JSEP students flew to Summit Station where they spent five days learning about the polar science being conducted on station and conducting their own mini-research projects.
Cool Robot posed in front of the Big House. Winds are expected to peak at 30 knots today, currently around 25. The high winds and drift combined with relatively warm temperatures and sun mean the solar panels are warm enough to melt the snow off them, which refreezes as icicles along their bottom edge. #SummitStation #Greenland #Thayerschool #Dartmouth
Cool Robot immobilized in drift. It was toward the end of an otherwise successful 3.5 km drive. It was 5-10 minutes between when it stopped and when I reached it by ski, you can see the drift that had already started to build up in front of it. Wind blown snow is a near constant presence here, something that is taken into account whenever parking a vehicle or deciding how to place a tent. You can see Cool Robot's sleigh bells that let us know when it's near. Also note the Big Red Button, an off button/safety feature for all robots big enough that you wouldn't want them running into you.
We were having a lot of mobility trouble with the robot in the first couple days at Summit Station. It had been here before, but only when the snow was more compacted/weathered (less fluffy). Our solution was to fabricate grousers out of bamboo halves and screw them onto the rubber tire. The results are excellent! We have much better mobility and haven't gotten stuck on any of the terrain we were having trouble with before (though we were still able to get it stuck by driving it straight into a massive snow drift at the edge of camp). #builtnotbought #SummitStation #Greenland #ThayerSchool #Dartmouth