Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .

Carnegie Mellon Unveils Lunar Rover "Andy"
by Staff Writers
Pittsburgh PA (SPX) Nov 27, 2014

Andy is accompanied by William "Red" Whittaker, professor of robotics and director of the Field Robotics Center.

Carnegie Mellon University has unveiled Andy, a four-wheeled robot designed to scramble up steep slopes and survive the temperature swings and high radiation encountered while exploring the moon's pits, caves and polar ice.

"Every extraterrestrial robot carries some DNA from Carnegie Mellon, but Andy would be the first true CMU robot to make the leap from Earth," said William "Red" Whittaker, professor of robotics and director of the Field Robotics Center.

"This is the culmination of lots of work by lots of people and is the next step toward Carnegie Mellon becoming a spacefaring university."

Andy, which derives its moniker from university namesakes Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, was developed over the last nine months by a largely student workforce and drew on expertise and resources from across the university, including the School of Computer Science, the College of Engineering, the College of Fine Arts and the Mellon College of Science.

The robot is Carnegie Mellon's contribution to an effort led by Pittsburgh's Astrobotic Technology to land a robot on the moon and win the $20 million-plus Google Lunar XPrize. It also represents a larger ambition.

"We don't do anything just to win a prize," Whittaker said.

"If we're on the moon anyway, we're going to do something while we're up there." One possibility is to use Andy to explore lunar pits. These are giant, newly discovered, steep-sided holes created by the collapse of underground voids.

"These pits are astounding and unexplored; it will be like coming upon the Grand Canyon," Whittaker said. "Some pits might be entrances to caves. You can't explore caves from a satellite; you've got to be there, on the ground, so robots are the next big step."

Andy's wide stance, low center-of-gravity and high belly clearance combine for unprecedented stability, slope-climbing and straddling of rocks. Whittaker noted that Andy achieves its superb mobility with very wide wheels and light weight. Andy's wheels are a foot in diameter, which is exceptional for a three-foot rover. Its weight on the moon will be less than 10 pounds.

Jon Anderson, a master's degree student in robotics, led the mobility team. The team's innovations gave Andy the softest footprint and greatest strength-to-weight ratio of any space rover to date. The rover has strong pulling power and a novel suspension for transferring that power to the ground.

Extraterrestrial robots encounter radiation levels that can burn ordinary electronics. Before flight, some of Andy's electronics will be further upgraded with space-certified parts, but the Andy team has already achieved notable reliability and space tolerance using high-reliability terrestrial parts, multiples of some critical components, and innovative software for detecting faults and switching between components as necessary.

Joe Bartels, a Ph.D. student in robotics, explained that a spare component can take over operations permanently if its twin is fatally damaged, or temporarily if its twin can be recovered by rebooting following a failure.

Curtis Boirum, a master's degree student in robotics, said Andy also incorporates a new method for combining landing imagery with 3-D path reconstruction data to plan and document its exploration route.

About 50 students, faculty and staff members contributed long hours to Andy's development, with key team members including: Nate Otten and Heather Jones, both Ph.D. students in robotics; Luke Metro, a sophomore electrical and computer engineering major; John Mann, a junior computer science major; and Jay Jasper, a master's degree student in mechanical engineering.

In addition to scientific exploration, Andy will accommodate a number of artistic payloads coordinated by Lowry Burgess, professor of art, and Mark Baskinger, associate professor of design. More information about Andy and Carnegie Mellon's Lunar Exploration Initiative is available online at

Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute has led the development of a number of planetary robotic technologies for NASA, including walking robots for exploring active volcanoes, robots designed for extraterrestrial drilling and advanced wheel development. Autonomous driving software originated at Carnegie Mellon is the basis of navigation and safeguarding for NASA's Mars rovers.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Carnegie Mellon
Mars News and Information at
Lunar Dreams and more

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

U.K. group to crowd-source funding for moon mission
London (UPI) Nov 19, 2014
A group in the United Kingdom aims to launch a lunar probe and study the moon using money raised on crowd-funding website Kickstarter. Lunar Mission One is currently working to raise $1 million on Kickstarter. The initial funds will be used to earn the project some early momentum, with planning and additional fundraising set to ramp up in the new year. To see the mission through ... read more

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

Time-lapse video shows Orion's move to Cape Canaveral launch pad

SpaceX chief Musk confirms Internet satellite plan

Orbital recommits to NASA Commercial program and Antares

Second Time Through, Mars Rover Examines Chosen Rocks

Mars was warm enough for flowing water, but only briefly

Several Drives Push Opportunity Over 41-Kilometer Mark

Lockheed Martin Begins Final Assembly Of Next Mars Lander

U.K. group to crowd-source funding for moon mission

After Mars, India space chief aims for the moon

China examines the three stages of lunar test run

China gears up for lunar mission after round-trip success

Pluto's Exotic Chemistry

Clues Revealed About Hidden Interior of Uranus

New Horizons Set to Wake Up for Pluto Encounter

Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission

Follow the Dust to Find Planets

NASA's TESS mission cleared for next development phase

ADS primes ESA's CHEOPS to detect and classify exoplanets

NASA's TESS Mission Cleared for Next Development Phase

NASA Selects Student Teams for High-Powered Rocket Challenge

3-D Printed Engine Parts Withstand Hot Fire Tests

Swiss Space Systems concludes first phase of drop-tests

Space pilot 'unbuckled' himself as craft split apart

China expects to introduce space law around 2020

China launches new remote sensing satellite

China publishes Earth, Moon photos taken by lunar orbiter

China plans to launch about 120 applied satellites

Philae probing comet with hours left on battery

Comet probe in race against time to crown stellar feat

Rosetta continues into its full science phase

Did Philae Drill The Comet?

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.