July 24, 2016

"Since Nasa's Mars rover, Curiosity, landed on the red planet in 2012, it has been zapping rocks using an on-board laser to analyse their composition."

Daily Mail: But until now, the laser was only able to operate when controlled by humans. Now, the rover is able to select rock targets to blast on its own, using the first autonomous target selection instrument of its kind. by Shivali Best

'The new software, called Autonomous Exploration for Gathering Increased Science (AEGIS), was previously used on Nasa's Mars Exploration Rover, though for a different type of instrument.

'Tara Estlin, a robotics engineer from AEGIS, who worked on the software, said: "This autonomy is particularly useful at times when getting the science team in the loop is difficult or impossible - in the middle of a long drive, perhaps, or when the schedules of Earth, Mars and spacecraft activities lead to delays in sharing information between the planets."'

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