One of the main reasons how we have managed to travel into space and why we know what we know about the universe is by creating the technology to send robot explorers into space before we go.
The other cool thing about robot explorers is that the machines can last many years in space and can gather vital information that is sent back to scientists on Earth without any humans being put in harm’s way.
Once the robot’s work is done, the robot is on a one way mission through space until the battery life has run out or once the robot has made its final landing wherever the destination in space has been or will be.
There have been over 100 unmanned missions to our solar system by robot explorers. The explorers can come in all different shapes and sizes, but are usually around about the same size. These robots carry all different types of devices and instruments to collect data or information.
There are a number of different types of robot explorers that travel through space, that land on different planets and different moons. Other explorers are on missions to comets and others are just whizzing through space.
Messenger & New Horizons are unmanned spacecraft’s that are currently traveling to different planets.
Voyager 1 is a famous robot explorer. This unmanned spacecraft / probe is over 15 billion miles away, and still going. The robot explorer is most distant spacecraft from Earth.
There are other robot explorers that are sent into space, they are sent to rocky surfaces like rocky planets, moons and asteroids to collect samples. These robot explorers are called Landers & Rovers.
Landers: Landers are dropped onto a surface where they can only investigate the area where they have landed.
Rovers: Rovers are a little more advanced. Rovers when dropped onto a surface roam a certain area of the surface, taking pictures of the surface and also taking samples of the rocks and soil.
Kids Fun Facts Corner
# 1. The first mission to a comet by an unmanned spacecraft happened in 2014. The mission is called ‘The Rosetta Mission’
# 2. Unmanned spacecraft Voyager 1 has been in space for nearly 40 years (39 years to be exact) and is expected to last in space for at least another 10 years. The voyage was only meant to last for 5 years.
# 3. The rover spacecraft has only been on two surfaces in the solar system. The moon and mars.
Q. What are Robot Explorers?
Q. What are Landers?
Q. What are Rovers?
Q. What was the unmanned comet landing mission called?
Q. How many unmanned missions have there been to our solar system?
Download questions about Robot Explorers here: Robot Explorers (answers are on this page)
For further reading and more information on Robot Explorers visit http://www.esa.int/esaKIDSen/SEMODPWDE2E_LifeinSpace_0.html
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