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SBIR/STTR

Robotic Tool for Asteroid Resource Prospecting and Characterization, Phase I

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Optical fibers are inherently tolerant of cosmic radiation and a wide temperature range, immune to electromagnetic noise and thus solar flares, etc. Embedded fiber sensors can be highly resistant to shock and vibration, hence their usage in the oil drilling industry. IFOS will work with Stanford's Center for Design Research to develop a robotic prospecting tool with fiber-optic based haptic sensing (dynamic force, vibration, temperature) and capability to detect water, volatiles, metals, and organic compounds. A tool with in-situ analysis capabilities will allow preliminary prospecting to decide what samples are most worthwhile to collect, enabling sampling of a much larger area than one could afford to do otherwise. The prospecting tool will provide a basis for telegeology, where a field geologist can replay haptic display information it gathers. Phase 1 will develop a feasibility prototype with fiber optic haptic and water detection capabilities. Phase 2 will develop a full prototype. More »

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