Navigation Links
Navy researchers investigate small-scale autonomous planetary explorers
Date:1/3/2012

WASHINGTON Robotic exploration to remote regions, to include distant planetary bodies, is often limited by energy requirements to perform, in repetition, even the simplest tasks. With this in mind, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are looking into a novel approach that could some day aid scientific space and planetary research without the need for power-intense options often used today.

Integrating the NRL developed technologies in microrobotics, microbial fuel cells, and low power electronics, space robotics scientist Dr. Gregory P. Scott at NRL's Spacecraft Engineering Department inspires a novel autonomous microrover, weighing in at nearly one-kilogram and powered by an advanced microbial fuel cell (MFC) technology.

"The goal is to demonstrate a more efficient and reliable energy source for use in powering small robotic vehicles in environments where the option for human intervention is non-existent," said Scott. "Microbial fuel cells coupled with extremely low-power electronics and a low energy requirement for mobility addresses gaps in power technology applicable to all robotic systems, especially planetary robotics."

The MFC was selected because of its long-term durability owing to the ability of microorganisms to reproduce and the bacterium's high energy density compared with traditional lithium-ion power sources. This research explores in more detail the use of microbes as a power source and moves to eliminate the existing bulk associated with MFC infrastructure, such as large, power intensive pump systems and MFC mass and volume requirements.

A portion of the energy generated by the MFC will be used to maintain onboard electronics and control systems with the remaining energy directed toward slowly charging a battery or capacitor until a sufficient amount of electricity is collected. Once sufficient power is stored, the system can then discharge this collected energy to activate a more power intensive scientific instrument or to propel the rover forward using a novel tumbling or hopping locomotion system.

Focusing on a pure culture anaerobic bacterium, such as Geobacter sulfurreducens, as the core of the microbial fuel cell-based system, the power generation technology for this research would have an exceptionally long lifetime, beneficial for recharging onboard batteries or capacitors and providing for long-duration scouting missions.

"As we move forward in the utilization of MFCs as an energy generation method, this research begins to lay the groundwork for low powered electronics with a long-term potential for space and robotic applications," adds Scott.

Through his selection as a Fellow to the newly re-instated NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program, Scott was awarded a research grant to investigate the initial phase of this innovative concept.


'/>"/>
Contact: Daniel Parry
daniel.parry@nrl.navy.mil
202-767-2541
Naval Research Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Notre Dame researchers develop paint-on solar cells
2. Quantum computing has applications in magnetic imaging, say Pitt researchers
3. Researchers measure nanometer scale temperature
4. Notre Dame researchers demonstrate new DNA detection technique
5. Researchers realize high-power, narrowband terahertz source at room temperature
6. MU researchers identify key plant immune response in fight against bacteria
7. Researchers develop one of the worlds smallest electronic circuits
8. Two Top Biological Imaging Centers Offer Powerful Free Online Tool to Researchers, Educators, and Public
9. Penn and Brown researchers demonstrate earthquake friction effect at the nanoscale
10. UCLA researchers demonstrate fully printed carbon nanotube transistor circuits for displays
11. Innovative MetaMorph® NX Software Shatters Barriers Between Researchers and Image Analysis Goals with Exclusive Visual Workflow
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/10/2017)... Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... Inc., a development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, ... uses of targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder and CEO of VetStem Biopharma, ... The event entitled “Stem Cells and Their Regenerative Powers,” was held on ... DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: Peter B. Hanson, M.D., Chief of ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... CRUZ, Calif. , Oct. 10, 2017 ... grant from the NIH to develop RealSeq®-SC (Single Cell), ... kit for profiling small RNAs (including microRNAs) from single ... Analysis Program highlights the need to accelerate development of ... "New techniques for measuring ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon ... awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry ... Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:4/11/2017)... , Apr. 11, 2017 Research and ... Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at a ... report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based on ... covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the coming ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , leading ... component of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® ... security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 ... secured over 15 million users across the financial services ... home product suites and physical access represent a growing ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- The research team of The Hong Kong Polytechnic ... by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae recovery and matching technology, ... accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, immigration control, security of ... ... A research team led by Dr ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):