Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Robot Explorer Log 1 the Chronicles

Interplanetary Exploratory Robot
EVERYONE KNOWS the Big Brain Electronic Machine is exploring outer space for some unknown reason. This exploration includes not only manned missions into Near Space, but has now expanded to robotic probes designed for trips to far away worlds located at the remote edge of the Solar System. 

We now have a directive from the Big Brain to design and construct an exploratory intelligent life form robot that can autonomously traverse strange new worlds in the quest for ultimate knowledge! 

This is a build of a different type of robot, with some intelligence, designed to mobility explore places in the outer reaches of the Solar System where no man has ever tread!

The places of interest have an atmosphere and can support protected life, provide water to drink, and can serve as a world to explore rich natural resources worth mega trillions and trillions of dollars.

We're talking about going to "Life Moons!" Life Moons are likely to contain developed alien life or life in the making, and encompass spectacular surrealistic vistas and moonscapes. They hold wealth and riches far beyond our Earthly imaginations!

Early design work and the robot proto begins to take shape. The explorer robot probe currently has designs for three power supplies. Initial parts are from a Parallax Boe-Bot kit. The BS2 board is removed and a replacement Propeller board will be installed. The initial prototype is designed to run from a breadboard. In this view, component and module placement tryouts are in effect. Many of the sensors are yet to be installed. The combined position is critical to the operation of the robot. The Propeller chip has 32 pins. In this design, all 32 pins are used up. If more GPIO are needed, another P8X32A-D40 will need to be added to the circuit.

The Advanced Explorer Robot will have autonomy, sensors to detect life and study the environment, and will map out the new world (actually creating maps and sending data back to home base by radio). It will carry its own life environment for survival. This mainly involves protection from cosmic rays during the journey, and a heated capsule to ensure component reliability in extreme temperatures. All parts for the interplanetary probe are off-the-shelf and commonly available. As always, the objective is the advanced prototype at lowest cost and highest technology.
It's hot and raining here today. This will be the most complicated and most expensive autonomous robot ever designed in the Humanoido Labs. It's for a reason - the little guy will trek to the farthest reaches of the solar system to embrace the unknown.

Today, I designed a heater for the robot, to keep it warm in -289 F. temp. I'm using a reserved power battery pack and electrical resistors calculated to emit the required amount of wattage heat to keep the electronics at their minimum operating temperatures. The processor will automatically turn the heater on and off according to a temperature analysis program.

To recharge the batteries, a small wind turbine, or windmill, will be used. This is because there is wind on this moon's surface and pretty much no direct sunlight. The planet's list of 20 moons are up to 1,037,690 miles from the Earth, so the sun looks like a tiny dot and all the hydrocarbons in the air make a very polluted foggy viewing from the surface. The actual sunlight never exceeds Earth twilight level.

Today, I'm raising the electronics package up on spacers for a third power supply to be located underneath - this will power the heater. So far, the robot explorer has 3 power supplies, one for the motors and sensors , one for the computer, and one for the heater. The heater has run through the numbers for six designs so far. Today, it was discovered that the approach with the 9-volt battery would fail, because it can deliver only a measly 0.55 Ah. So now the newer numbers will look at designs with a varied number of small 1.5 volt batteries.