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Robot Helper Design Challenge

Atholton Elementary School: Ms. Lewis Middle School Class

Preliminary Design
Expert Response

Dear NASA,
We have made many revisions to our Pro Gardener Robot. Our robot is designed to assist the astronauts raise plants in a microgravity environment.

Changes to our Robot
We moved the seed packets to inside the storage compartment. Also located inside this storage compartment is a rechargeable battery, the probes used to measure and record plant chamber temperature, humidity and light. The robot carries its own environmental sensors used to calibrate sensors in the growing chamber; these sensors are stored in the storage compartment. We have added a computer to our robot. The computer will log important data from the plant chamber as well as allow astronauts and NASA Ground Crews to communicate with the robot. The thermister used for measuring and recording temperature is located next to the glass panel. We moved the tools from the top to the bottom of the storage compartment. Velcro fastens the tools to the robot.

We‚ve added a camera/eye to the robot as a visual sensor. This camera/eye can see 360 degrees. We replaced the watering can with an electrical plug. This plug will hook into the recharge panel on the ISS. The hose will hook into the water storage tank on the ISS and may be used to water plants when necessary.

We changed the design of the arms to allow for more flexibility; the arms now have five joints. Both arms may reach all of the instruments on the robot. When one of the arms is holding an instrument, it will replace that instrument before picking up another.

Moving via Suction Cups
We added a new feature to explain how our robot moves with the suction cups. The robot will suck air in to form a vacuum, which will cause the suction cups to hold fast. When the robot needs to move, it will release the pressure on one suction cup at a time and creep up the wall or floor of the plant chamber. When in it‚s new position it will again form a vacuum.

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