Table of Contents
The word “robot” contemporarily refers to the remote controlled devices or the device that works automatically just like any other machine and is programmed to accomplish duties or tasks that are normally done by individuals (NASA 1). Robots have since been known to be human-like mechanical devices that had the capability to perform tasks or behave like human beings. The commonality in the function of robots is that they are used to accomplish tasks that are considered dirty, dull, dangerous, or even delicate to be handled by persons. The space robots have a wide variety of roles and come in different sizes and shapes. Examples include the planetary flyby probes, the atmospheric probes, the orbiters, the rovers, the robot arms, the landers and currently under development the International Space Station (NASA 1).
The direct human supervision over space gadgets primarily reshapes the perception of the term robot, meaning devices that only act upon guidance and directions from real being. So in effect, the definition of the word robot is not complete without the full picture of human control. Robots are used to fulfill missions that are worthwhile but endanger the actual lives (Visentin, & Didot, 61). Robots do not exist or operate in a vacuum since they are used to access locations inaccessible to man such zones full of extreme temperatures and radiation.
This study seeks to investigate what robots are, and their roles as described in the opening statements, the technology use in the development of robots, the scientific endeavors and accomplishments marked the adoption and use of robots to champion scientific investigations as well as the futurity of robotic missions in the discovery of universal occurrences.
Robots are said to be established through simple technical architecture that encompasses the power supply, radio communications system, the sensors, the controllers, and the actuators. The sensors provide the information about the robot and its environment. The controllers do the instruction radioed from the control unit along with the processing of information gathered by the sensors. The actuators send commands for execution by driving and converting signals into action/information intended to achieve results (NASA 1).
Robots may be automated following the long distance between planets and other space components/elements with the unique roving ability to go through the cliffs, rocks, craters, and other dangers while moving about the aerospace. Robots are specifically designed in relation to the features or tendencies of the study subject say, space exploration, with the aid of layered modules of controlling the systems (NASA 1). The robots exhibit chain of command system in responding to stimuli and unearthing new ideas about the study topics. Higher-level of stimuli response is the source of overall authority while gathering low-level data by triggering an immediate response to stimuli. The modules are said to be running parallel when triggered by sensing every action from time to time as the robot roams about the field of investigation.
Samples of Robotic Missions
NASA is popularly identifiable as one of the bodies dealing mainly with space exploration that primarily involves the use of robots in separate missions successfully. As such, examples of missions highlighted are references to the previous portfolio accomplished by NASA such as the Desert RATS, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Hubble Space Telescope, Mars Curiosity Rover among many other spaceship exploration missions recorded in the scientific history (NASA 1).
For instance, The Mars Curiosity Rover was sent to the Red Planet for about two years with the mission of identifying signs or indicators of life. The robot that its size is bigger than a car has the shape of equipped standard suspension with six wheels and rocker-bogie, several systems of the camera and power supply that is non-dependent on the solar energy. To roam longer and further, the Curiosity uses the radioisotope power generator, enabling it to travel to more important missions in comparison to the previous ones (NASA 1). The samples of materials collected by the robot from Mars are kept in the rover’s arm, following the expansive suite of science instruments known as the Sample Analysis at Mars.
The robots function effectively with the distinction of the roles and duties that avoid mix up and gathering of unimportant news feeds. As such, robots are mission specific, thus can be designed by robotic engineers at any moment to facilitate the scientific discoveries and inventions (NASA par. 5). The primary concerns about the Curiosity were the ground support and the spacewalks that would not in turn interfere with the equipment that may limit or hinder the full functionality of the robotic gadgets.
Other past robotic missions include the NASA Solar System Exploration that served as the gateway to information about the Solar System. The USA Genesis Mission that was launched on 2001, the eighth day of August was the first solar wind sample return mission. The mission that lasts for three years revealed solar wind samples brought back to the earth by the orbited LaGrange point L1. The SMART-1 is yet another mission launched by the ESA on September 27, 2003, to discover the lunar space. The robotic device used propulsion from energetic/electric ions to transfer the geostationary orbit to the lunar orbit (NASA 1). Several innovative gadgets were designed to acquire images of the surface of the lunar as well as acquire its map, the elements, and mineral composition that affected the lunar surface after three-year period of investigation.
The Voyager 1 and 2 are some of the on-going robotic missions intended to investigate the Jupiter and Saturn flybys after escaping the solar system and still provide useful information up to date. The missions launched in 1977 are owned and funded by the United States but observe conventional treaties regarding scientific research endeavors so as to ascertain mutual benefit for the entire earth system. “The ExoMars” and “the BepiColombo” scientific space investigations remains some of the future scientific endeavors aimed at making future discoveries with regard to human engagements on the surface of the earth. Such projects are narrow angled and intended to revealing particular lines of scientific interrogations (NASA 1).
The Technical Challenges of Robotic Missions and Scientific Advancements
Like any other scientific inventions robots also come with concerns regarding some issues such as the environmental concerns, health, and safety concerns among other ethical issues surrounding the scientific investigations (Huntsberger et al., 41). The series of technological assessment reports done by NASA describes the current technological inventions as both advantageous and harmful to the human life and the environment at large. Most robotic devices apply the conventional chemical propulsion means that are reserved as benchmarks for monitoring the environmental and health risks concerns in the involvements to further human knowledge.
The development of robots establishes the applicability of the equipment in different space environments without yielding unpleasant outcomes. For this reason, NASA recommends that all studies and investigations channeled towards the development of artificial devices to aid in studies of different phenomenon be tried and tested in distinct analogs zones. Robotic development is associated with significant impact on the environment on the air, soil, water as well as the living organisms. The threats of plastic ingestion by living organisms is constantly pervasive and on the rise.
Events such as tsunami and constant earthquakes striking Japan and other Asian countries, for instance, are the victims surrounded by the circumstances that were unprecedented following the nuclear-related inventions (Visentin, & Didot, 61). The lives of amphibians and the mammals that thrive on natural resources such as water is reported to be threatened by radiological and nuclear inventions accounting to the fifteen percent of the overall pollutants. The water level on the earth planet is reported as well to have reduced to eighty-one percent. The rise of seabird species is on the climb as plastic ingestion continues to be pervasive plastic pollution threat.
More radical health implications as well are on the rise with the discovery of cancerous diseases resulting from active radiology from the materials used to contract robots and their reactions to different exposures in different environments. The technological transition to the organic world will still lead to more radical disruptions of life following the assembly of developing on their own other than evolving into different substances (Huntsberger et al., 44). The smart future of pharmacology remains the alternative to combating the hazards of the high-tech scientific inventions. The inevitable emergence of the new technologies defines the future understanding of biology concerning the materials that the world continues to manufacture for the general scholarly welfare. Amounts of pollution on shores of water bodies are consequences of uncontrolled scientific (robotic missions) involvements.
Scientific Lessons from previous Robotic Missions and Developments
The future of space exploration with the aid of robotics is extensively dependent on the technological advancement. The history of space exploration denotes the gradual development of simple equipment to sophisticated gadgets that are all coordinated to uncover the research hypotheses (Huntsberger et al., 44). The current solar technology is designed to fly robots to the Jupiter, a space distance of approximately eight hundred and seventeen kilometers away from the sun.
The Juno spacecraft, which is comprised of the state of the art panels of solar, created to convert sunlight into power in order to launch the required energy in the best ways possible it can, marks the uncertainty of the safe and successful completion of missions. The solar panels that mark the future of space exploration are set to cover regions beyond the Saturn since through conversion of the sunlight into the solar power efficient lightening is essential for other complimentary scientific inquiries that the robots are set to unveil during the missions to space. Deducing that contemporary scientific investigations are limited to the solar system is imperative since no studies reveal the inventions beyond the solar system (NASA 1).
The use of technology in scientific space exploration that mainly involves the robotic use in establishing new findings entails the science instruments, navigation procedures, and techniques, telecommunication systems and experimentation among other intentions. The successful launch and implementation of missions have significantly impacted the type of technology involved in the process.
Missions are only made possible with the technological development. New missions are always the continuation of the previous undertakings. The scientific accomplishments are heavily dependent on the past missions as benchmarks for the proven technologies that contribute to the inventions of distinct missions in future (Huntsberger et al., 44).
The technological classification of robotics involvement scientific interrogations encompasses two following main categories Science instruments, the science equipment and the technologies for the extended benefit.
The science equipment is comprised of the remote science instrumentation and the In-situ Instrumentation. The In-situ instrumentation focuses on the technological advancements that concentrate on gathering data from the surface while the Remote Science Instrumentation aims at collecting Mars data from the orbit (Huntsberger et al., 44-45). The primary concern here is research surveillance, vividly justifying robots as meaningless weapons without human control in the end.
Technologies for Broad Benefits
The technologies reserved for the more comprehensive or undefined benefits connote those technological discoveries that facilitate other primary essential procedures along the research process. Some of these technical listings concern the Entry, Descent, and Landing to space destinations, the Autonomous mobility of the robotic planes, harsh environment technology that observe hazardous environmental inclinations that may hinder the functionality of the robots, technologies for protecting the planes. Other fundamental technological concerns involve the means of propelling the robotic equipment for long-term research investigations, as well as the power sources that provide the efficient and improved/consistent energy for the space crafts and other related subsystems (Huntsberger et al., 45). Telecommunications and the engineering of study software help in the relay of commands and the reception of large amounts of data in fast and reliable means regarding the manipulation or regulation of the robotic equipment for the scientific questioning. Mostly, technological improvements concerning the advancement of robots to attend or, start with minor departmental/unit inventions that target the flagship missions, objected at transforming the world.
The Safety Measures for the Robotic Missions
Robotics is bound to make lives easy following the foresight of virtual living. Human will strive at all costs to make life better and more comfortable no matter the cost it takes so long us the pursuit of technological advancement will continue bringing rewards. Therefore, it is essential that humans commit to sustainable development that strikes a balance between the creation of new resources and the sustainability ways for the raw materials.
The mission for the protection of the planet is to encourage the responsible exploration the natural systems to foster the implementation of developments that do not negate the efforts to secure the environments being explored. One of the fundamental objectives of exploring the world is to develop the ability to preserve life through studies that report the world whole or naturally without discrepancies. Scientists and engineers, therefore, should avoid at all costs the biological and chemical contamination of the environments explored so as not to obscure free living in different regions. Since life has not been proved to exist anywhere else other than the earth, the current biosphere requires the utmost protection from manipulation and erosion other than gainful engrossments.
Area for Further Research
The investigations regarding robots are attested to specialty for the overall focus of the entire diagram. Several programs have been initiated by the contemporary educational institutions and systems to train learners to possess basic information technology skills so as to further research and development. Future depends on consistent questioning of the days after tomorrow. Therefore, robotic development to accomplish different scientific endeavors call for the detailed investigation of the resources, their sustainability, and productivity. The natural resource that is essential for the creation of world wonders should be first examined and intensely verified before permitting the continuation of scientific investigations (NASA 1).
Robots are equipment made up of numerous different substances. The sources of such materials should be primary subject to evaluation regarding sustainability for the continuous exploration. Contextually, the current and the latest or on-going NASA robotic missions such as the Curiosity involves the use of robotic equipment known as the Juno Space Craft that uses radioactive energy to power the components that are as well composed of radioactive atomic particles or substances. The resources used to manufacture the inventions, in this case, the robots, are subject to consistent evaluation before approval for scientific development to further experimental interrogations.
The Mars Curiosity Mission and the Desert RATS investigation marks some of the crucial scientific breakthroughs ever recorded in the history of humankind. Man has already exhausted the natural resources in the planet earth and has started to question the next sources of livelihood with the outcomes of investigations such as the Desert RATS and the Curiosity robotic missions. The Mars Curiosity robotic mission that seeks to uncover external life in other planets and their elements so as to regulate the fundamental rule of law, where the strong has to take authority of the weak ones, regarding the claim of the fair share of the earth. The primary concern bothering world scientific superpowers and institutions is the sustainability question and risk acquisition in overcoming the uncertainties associated with ignorance of not just the current world, but also the future.
- Huntsberger, Terry, Guillermo Rodriguez, and Paul S. Schenker. “Robotics challenges for robotic and human mars exploration.” Robotics 2000. 2000.
- NASA Solar System Exploration. Missions: Technology Assessment Reports. (2017).
- Visentin, G., and F. Didot. “Testing space robotics on the Japanese ETS-VII satellite.” ESA bulletin 99 (1999): 61-65.