VolcanoBot 1, shown here in a lava tube -- a structure formed by lava -- explored the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in May 2014. The robot is enabling researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to put together a 3-D map of the fissure. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
VolcanoBot 1, shown here in a lava tube — a structure formed by lava — explored the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii in May 2014. The robot is enabling researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to put together a 3-D map of the fissure. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be returning to the Big Island in March as they develop robots to explore volcanoes. VolcanoBot 1 was previously tested at Kilauea volcano, and a lighter, smaller VolcanoBot 2 will be tested this year.

Exploring volcanoes is risky business. That’s why Parcheta and her co-advisor, JPL robotics researcher Aaron Parness, are developing robots that can get into crevices where humans wouldn’t be able to go, gaining new insights about these wondrous geological features.

“We don’t know exactly how volcanoes erupt. We have models but they are all very, very simplified. This project aims to help make those models more realistic,” Parcheta said.

Read more:
JPL | News | NASA Robot Plunges Into Volcano to Explore Fissure

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