Robotics Technology - Research Article from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences

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Early Space Robots

The first robot in space was a motor-driven mechanical arm equipped with a scoop on the Surveyor 3, which landed on the Moon on April 20, 1967. Acting on signals sent from engineers on Earth, the arm extended and the scoop dug four trenches in the lunar soil, up to 18 centimeters (7 inches) deep. It then placed the samples in front of a camera for scientists on Earth to see. Later Surveyor missions carried analytical instrumentation to determine the chemical composition of the soil samples.

Following the successful human Moon landings that began in 1969 with Apollo 11, NASA began to prepare for piloted missions to Mars. They launched two spacecraft called Viking 1 and Viking 2, which landed on Mars in 1976 on July 20 and September 3, respectively. The Viking landers transmitted pictures of the rock-strewn, rusty-red landscape of Mars back to Earth for the first time. Because there had long been speculation about...

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This section contains 1,241 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Robotics Technology Encyclopedia Article
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Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences
Robotics Technology from Macmillan Science Library: Space Sciences. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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