Title: Real-Time Robotic Surveying for Unexplored Arctic Terrain
Primary Author: Parker, Lonnie
Organization: Georgia Institute of Technology
Co-Author(s): Lonnie T. Parker, Ayanna M. Howard
Global warming and the resultant change occurring in the mass of the Earthís ice cover has spawned a new interest in determining how robotic technology can be leveraged to measure such change. From this interest, the concept of a robotic survey system has emerged, intended to facilitate the collection of ground-based information as validation of that collected by satellite-based instruments. Currently, the only publicly available methods for in situ measurements are stationary automatic weather stations (AWS) with limited sensing range and placement and expensive human-led field campaigns. Robotic surveying has been defined numerous ways for varying applications. Throughout the past 10 years, research has led to proposed solutions such as prospecting for ice on Mars as well as detecting anomalies in crop yield for farmers. Both theory and practice have demonstrated the potential in extending the capabilities for this area of field robotics as well as applying its usefulness in Earth Science missions. Based upon recommendations of the NASA Decadal Survey, this work would be most beneficial to any missionís primary or secondary objective involving the measurement of changes in topography, specifically that found in the Arctic. This encompasses missions such as ICESat-II, DESDynl, and GRACE-II with the potential to support others whose locales of interest are both navigable and support a deploy-able system. As this unique application of robotics is incorporated with efforts to validate the measurements of the missionís remote-sensing equipment, it also expands the potential for accuracy in acquired information. Concurrently, the inherent risks and costs associated with human-led expeditions are mitigated. In this paper, we present a review of robotic surveying, its past applications, and its relevance to enhancing the capabilities of current NASA Earth Science missions.