NASA is Sending a Tiny Robot Down a Volcano to Explore Fissures

By: | January 11th, 2015

Narrow, deep crevices that plummet into the Earth, generally characterized by dumping hot magma out of erupting volcanoes, are called fissures.

Unfortunately, fissures are extremely difficult for humans to explore, so NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory developed VolcanoBot to do the dirty work for them.

VolcanoBot 1 (pictured above) explored a fissure of the inactive Kilauea volcano in Hawaii last year and successfully descended 82 feet to map the magma pathway during its trial run.

Now, NASA has introduced VolcanoBot2, smaller and more compact than the first, a full two inches shorter at 10 inches long.

Featuring a camera capable of panning up and down and more robust parts, VolcanoBot2 is capable of transmitting data and its camera feed in real time to researchers.

VolcanoBot2’s first test run is set for entering Kilauea in early March.

If these small volcano robots prove to be successful, NASA hopes to explore all of Earth’s volcanoes, as well as those on other planets.

Marshall Smith

Technology, engineering, and design enthusiast.

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