if you are one of the students who came on the field trip to visit the CMU Robotics Institute two springs ago, you may recognize Dr. Wettergreen in this photo from a story about CMU’s new lunar rover. Can I say first how much it entertains me that the Post-Gazette has to translate “lunar rover” into “moon robot” for a lay audience? The technology is pretty cool though. Scarab is intended to drill into the moon’s surface to collect samples looking for water ice on the moon. This means it has to be designed sufficiently low to the ground and with a wide enough wheel-span to have the leverage to drill, but at the same time has to be suitable for navigating over a rocky lunar terrain, including being able to climb hills and descend into craters. It also has to be able to operate in the darkly shadowed conditions of a lunar crater. There are some cool movies of trial runs with Scarab on their site – I particularly like the first one listed.