A robot that will be gardener and butler on deep space missions
Researchers at the University of Colorado have produced a robot that could be both gardener and butler to pioneering astronauts.
The Remotely Operated Gardening Rover (ROGR) will tend plants on a space station or colony on Mars as well as doing the cleaning and delivering food to the astronauts.
ROGR is a small wheeled robot designed to wander a space station tending to remotely monitored plants that would be scattered throughout a space station, placed wherever there is room for them. This concept earned the overall project its name: "Plants Anywhere: Plants Growing in Free Habitat Spaces." But that system would require automated control as Nature World News explains:
The idea of having plants virtually everywhere - making use of forgotten nooks and crannies - is also more easily integrated into a space station, as opposed to crafting a whole new facility or section... Of course, no one astronaut would ever be asked to keep track of every plant, especially if they would be so scattered.
Roger is part of the university's contribution to NASA's eXploration HABitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge – an initiative to prepare for future deep-space missions.
Our next issue of Cosmos magazine is devoted to the wonderful world of robots that is about to revolutionise almost everything we do.