Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Robot Explorer Log 2 First Considerations

Proto test robot processor stack experiment

Photo: Look closely - two Propeller chip processors are stacked in this multi-processor experiment. While the stacking arrangement is possible, a miss firing of the pin states caused by some off-planet anomaly at the remote reaches of the Solar System could lead to an unprotected condition and thus cause a premature processor anomaly. The stacked processor design was scrapped for this mission.

Two processor chips can be safely used in a side by side parallel design mode that safely offers pin protection from one chip to the other. Coupled with hard protection, an occurring glitch could be squelched with the autonomous reset function if properly interpreted.

Currently, the robot has a single Propeller chip with all 32 pins filled. If more sensors are required, a second processor chip may be added to form a collective, the pins may be rearranged, or multiplexing may be introduced.

If two chips are used, in theory, the Big Brain could loan its technology, thus creating a total of over 2,000 processors. A high number of processors are often required for operating AI neural nets. It would also offer a sum of 64 pins for added sensors and functions such as multiple ADCs for specific monitoring of each power supply.

FIRST CONSIDERATIONS: The project is taking on interested members to serve as science team advisers for the Remote Solar System Moon Autonomous Exploration Robot Project. We now have a new member for the microbiology team and life sciences division.  As a result of the influx of questions about the project, a short Q & A section is added below. 

Q - Will the chassis crack at -289 deg. F.?

A - The robot must have a coat of insulation to keep the heater's warmth inside. The coat will cover the conductive and heat distributive aluminum chassis.

Q - How will you test the materials and mechanics?

A - Testing in a conventional food freezer is a good idea. The sensors can be operated at their lower temperature ratings below the freezing point to simulate operation inside the insulated container. More elaborate tests may involve chambers of dry ice at -109 degrees or a vessel of liquid nitrogen at -320 to -346 deg. F.

Q - What is particulate matter content of the atmosphere and will this effect the wind dynamo?

A - No one knows the speed or particulate matter content of the air on the surface. Roughly speaking, the robot could function on the current conventional batteries a day with no wind or a much longer time with wind. Either way, it will work and gather science.

Q - Will the components function at -289 degrees?

A - Yes, electronic components are designed to function because the insulated probe, covered with insulation and heated with a heater, will not reach -289 deg. F. Components will undoubtedly run at their lower limits so the probe will not be heated to room temperatures. Cold environments are actually beneficial for the processor, making it more efficient with less power and less noise.

Q - Will particulate matter get stuck in the Dynamo due to lesser gravity?

A - There's enough gravity on this moon to cause rain to fall from the sky. The rain is double the size of Earth rain droplets and falls much slower, more like Earth snow flakes. There's frozen hydrocarbon sand so it does fall to the ground. The windmill should not contaminate quickly but if it did, it would shorten the life of the probe. It's more likely the particles are so tiny and hard frozen, they won't affect performance.

Q - Is there enough wind to turn the turbine?

A - If the wind is too slow, it will be a problem for the windmill to recharge several battery packs. However, the air is over twice as thick as the Earth's air, so it's likely it will have good wind for driving the rotor. Observations of changing clouds indicate the presence of wind too. For periods of no wind, the probe can rest and sleep and wake up periodically to look and see if the batteries have recharged.