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.